By Jessica Remitz for Discover and Play
As you pack up the car and hit the open road with your family, it can be all too easy to let healthy road trip snacks fall to the bottom of your packing list. Fortunately, there are a number of better-for-you options that can be found in gas, grocery and convenience stores in even the most remote of locations. Here are our picks for the best road trip snacks, and why they’re good for you.
- Fruit: Find fruit, which is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, that has a peel and won’t need to be scrubbed free of any potential pesticides when you’re on the road, like an orange or banana, or wash and pack some apples or grapes for easy snacking. If you can’t find any whole fruit, look for fresh fruit cups packed in water instead of syrup, which can be loaded with added sugar.
- Nuts: One of the easiest things to grab from a gas station or convenience store, nuts contain protein, fiber, vitamin E and healthy fats, making them both tasty and filling. Try peanuts, almonds, cashews or sunflower seeds or even pick up a mixed nut bag or package of trail mix. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes, as a little bit goes along way in terms of calories.
- Veggies: Snack-sized portions of baby carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes are cropping up more and more in gas stations and make excellent choices for a bite on the go. Vegetables are low in calories but many have fiber, which will help keep you full. Pair them with a low-carb dip, small amount of peanut butter or small container of hummus if you can find it.
- Energy bars: There are a variety of choices when it comes to finding an energy bar that’ll help keep hunger at bay, but you’ll want to proceed with caution, as some can be high in calories and loaded with sugar. Look for bars with more than five grabs of fiber and protein, both of which will help keep you fuller for longer, and that are fewer than 200 calories.
- Vegetable juice: If you can’t find any actual veggies to nosh on, consider drinking a bottle of vegetable juice in lieu of a soda or sports drink, which can be full of sugar. A 12-ounce bottle of vegetable juice can pack up to three servings of vegetables along with vitamins A, C, potassium and fiber.
- Light cheese: String cheese or pre-sliced cheese of the “light” variety is easy to eat, contains calcium and is low in carbohydrates.
- A smart “splurge”: If you’re craving something on the less-than-healthy side, opt for low-sodium pretzels, baked chips or lightly buttered, but not flavored, popcorn. Single serving bags of pita chips or crackers are also suitable options, and some stores now carry chip-and-hummus or chip-and-dip snack packs. A bean-based dip like hummus can be an excellent way to boost your snack because it has fiber, which will help keep you full.
Jessica Remitz is
a freelance writer and web producer living in Brooklyn. Her work has
been featured in a variety of health and lifestyle websites including
Spafinder, FitPregnancy and Everyday Health. To see additional writing
samples and learn more about Jessica’s work, visit her website.