7 Fresh Ideas for Healthy Road Trip Snacks
If you’re going on a family road trip, you really can’t escape the need to pack some food. Even if you’re planning on eating out or preparing food in the kitchen at your destination, packing a few healthy road trip snacks is still a necessity. Traffic delays, vehicle troubles, and other travel snafus are common enough that at some point you will indeed be dining in your car. Here’s how to stay prepared. (See also: Meals on Wheels: Four Simple Tips for Dining in Your Car)
Typically I’d use these more for family movie night than for road trip snacks. That being said, there’s no reason you can’t take a batch of roasted chickpeas in the car with you. Season them with a flavor blend the whole family likes and store them in kid-friendly airtight containers for the road trip. They’re crunchy, packed with protein, and perfect for families dealing with peanut allergies.
Canning Jar Anti-Trail Mix
Before all of the world’s backpackers descend and accuse me of sacrilege, let me just say that I am indeed a trail mix fan. That being said, when it comes to healthy road trip snacks, I’ve found we get more meal mileage by keeping certain items separate. By filling quart-sized canning jars with various items such as sunflower seed kernels, walnuts, and dried fruit, we have the items we need to mix up trail mix if we desire. However, we also have individual items that can be used for hotel oatmeal toppings, salads, and other simple travel meals.
The jars are easy to keep organized in sectioned, fabric wine bags. Remember those ones I pick up for free while bargain shopping at Whole Foods? I can easily slip canning jars into the sections designed for individual wine bottles and stand the whole thing upright in a milk crate or clear tub. If we run out of something a few days into the trip, the jars are easy enough to fill up again from the bulk bins at the grocery store.
Hey, it’s not just for your back porch anymore. Using large canning jars filled with water, slip an organic green or white tea bag in and hang the string and paper tag outside of the jar before putting the cover on. If you do this in the morning and store it in a clear tub or milk crate near the back window, you’ll have fresh sun tea to pour into your travel mugs by your mid-day stop. Just be sure to pack something soft behind the jar so it doesn’t accidentally get cracked. If you use a half-gallon sized canning jar, you’ll have enough for several people. Plus, you can start another batch after you distribute the tea from the morning. How cool is that?
It doesn’t get more low prep than this. Simple, whole fruits like bananas, apples, and even seedless grapes make perfect healthy road trip snacks. Keep a container to hold the peels and cores and compost them when you arrive at your destination. It’s an easy, zero-waste solution that keeps road food fun and nutritious.
They are selling large bags of pre-cut crudités mix now at warehouse stores for a song. Pack a jar of homemade peanut sauce, or purchase large bulk jars of salad dressings that can also be used as dips. Ranch, honey-mustard, or Vidalia onion flavors all work well, as does the sweet Thai chili sauce in the quart-sized bottle. If you decide to go with the dipping option, then these are more of a snack to enjoy at the rest area. Otherwise, you’re going to have sauce all over the car. (Tip: A nice middle-of-the-road option here is to use plain peanut butter on the crudités. The kids will dig it, and you’ll have less mess than with a thinner sauce.)
Grab and Takes
While you can certainly find a power bar on the market to suit any dietary requirement (halal, vegan, kosher, gluten free), finding an affordable and easy option to make yourself is a great way to control nutrition, cost, and calories. For me, that option is breakfast cookies. Easily customized to suit your family’s tastes and budget, breakfast cookies can be prepared with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, and even dates.
With all the health benefits associated with almonds, finding ways to incorporate them into your diet more often just seems to make good sense. Normally, I make spiced almonds for holiday treats and hostess gifts. But if we have a long road trip ahead of us, I’m not above whipping up a batch for those extra-long days in the vehicle. They taste great, travel well, and provide a serious protein hit precisely when we need it.
Whatever road trip snacks you choose, keeping food in your car does more than save you money. It saves your sanity when travel difficulties arise. So how about it, readers? Do you have any additional ideas for healthy road trip snacks?