The car is packed, the kids are happily occupied in the backseat, and you’re ready to hit the road. But, when stomachs start rumbling, what’s the plan? To stop you from making a pit stop at a greasy spoon or swinging through a drive-thru, we’ve pulled together a list of 15 road trip foods that will keep those hunger pangs at bay—and your car not full of detritus. And, most of them can be taken on a plane as well!
Fruit’s fiber and high water content will help keep you full and hydrated as you travel. But, unless you want a messy car, it’s best that you either choose fruit that doesn’t have a stem, a pit, or an outside covering—namely, blueberries, figs, and grapes—or prepare fruit ahead of time and place it into Tupperware containers. Strawberries, banana slices, peaches, and nectarines are great for this.
Calories per serving: 85–105
2. Kale Krunch
I discovered this when I was doing P90X earlier this year. They’re low in calories, high in vitamin A, and totally addictive. Plus, they’re flavored with ingredients like organic olive oil and organic chia seeds. They are a little on the expensive side though, so if you want to make your own, make these Kale Chips, chop them into bite-sized morsels, and pop them in a Tupperware or Ziploc bag.
Calories per serving: 110
3. A Better Nut Butter and Jelly
The trouble with most sandwiches is that they require a cooler…unless you like eating warm chicken salad. Peanut (or any nut, frankly) butter and jelly is one that doesn’t. Make it with whole-grain bread (my personal favorite is Ezekiel 4:9), an all-natural nut butter, and all-natural fruit spread like St. Dalfour to up the health factor.
Calories per ½ sandwich: 150 (varies depending on ingredients)
4. Shakeology Packets
Want to take your Shakeology on the road? Just mix a single-serving Shakeology packet (available in Chocolate, Vanilla, Greenberry, Chocolate Vegan, and Tropical Strawberry) with water and shake!
Calories per serving: 160–170
You might find the idea of taking eggs with you on the road a little odd, but hard-boiled eggs are great for a quick power-up. Plus, they’re loaded with B vitamins, which may help keep tempers cool on long trips.
Calories per serving: 78
6. Homemade Energy Bars
The bulk of prepackaged bars sold at gas stations or convenience stores are loaded with sugar, preservatives, and empty calories. These homemade bars can be made in minutes and contain only good-for-you ingredients like fruit and nuts.
Calories per serving: 124
Nuts are highly caloric, but they’re also high in healthy omega-3 fats and travel well. Choose raw, unsalted nuts like almonds or walnuts that don’t require you to dispose of a shell.
Calories per serving: 130–180
8. Spiced Nuts
Deepen the flavor of nuts by roasting them with spices. This recipe that combines cinnamon, cayenne, and cumin with a touch of honey will keep you away from the store-bought trail mix.
Calories per serving: 120
9. Baby Carrots
Maybe we’re weird, but we think baby carrots are fun to eat, and they don’t make a mess! They’re sweet on their own, or you can combine them with hummus for a yummy, crunchy treat.
Calories per serving: 30
10. Split Pea Crisps
Peas are really good for you thanks to their fiber and vitamins A and C. But, good luck getting your kids to eat them on a road trip. Unless…you disguise them as a crunchy snack. These split pea crisps from Whole Living combine peas with just a touch of olive oil and salt.
Calories per serving: 55
11. Other Vegetables
It’s a classic for a reason. Slice up your favorite veggies—snap peas, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and celery all travel well—and pop them into a sealable container. Persian cucumbers are also a yummy single-serving snack.
Calories per serving: Less than 20
12. Dried Fruit
On day 2 of the road trip, when you’ve run out of regular fruit, try dried fruit. It’s higher in calories by volume than fresh fruit, so just be mindful of how much you eat and look for options without sulfites, but it’s better for you than a candy bar. Or a Fruit Roll-Up.
Calories per serving: About 150
This is probably the least healthy option on this list since they’re made with potato flour and not whole potatoes, but you could do a lot worse. Plus, they’re a Tony Horton–approved road trip snack. Original PopChips contain just potatoes, salt, a touch of rice flour, and oil, so you can feel like you’re snacking on chips without loading your body up with who knows what.
Calories per serving: 120
Though high in calories, seeds are high in heart-healthy magnesium and protein. Plus, cracking pumpkin or sunflower seeds open will keep your hands (if you’re not driving!) and your mind busy while you’re on the road. They can be high in sodium, so just take a look at the sodium levels or consider roasting your own.
Calories per ¼ cup: About 160
15. Spicy Baked Chickpeas
Chickpeas, garbanzo beans, little weird things that come in a can…whatever you call them, these little nuggets of goodness are high in fiber and will help keep you full. Try this road-friendly recipe for them.
(7 servings, ¼ cup each)
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans(chickpeas)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 pinch cayenne pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 400° F
2. Rinse canned garbanzo beans and let them drain well in a colander for several minutes.
3. Toss the beans in a small bowl with olive oil, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, and sea salt.
4. Bake on a foil-lined sheet for 40–45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.