Need great travel snack ideas for your next car trip? This list of healthy road trip snacks will leave you full and full of energy when you reach your destination.
Desperate for some refreshing, healthy travel snack ideas?
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For the health-conscious, road trips can quickly become a diet disaster.
Whether it’s fast food, soda, or just to-go snacks, the foods you consume by default while out on the road can leave your body, mind, and budget much worse for wear.
Luckily, with just a bit of forethought and preparation, even the most notorious snackers can stay healthy while on the road.
To help you get the wheels rolling, check out this list of the best healthy road trip snacks around.
1. Fresh Juices
When traveling by car on long-distance road trips, it’s vital to pack all you need with you.
Especially if you travel alone and love to like road tripping across remote regions, health shops and groceries may not be on your route for a long time. Moreover, fatigue and long-driving distance suck up your energy all the time.
One thing that should never miss on your packing list is plenty of fresh water and energy juices.
They are golden when you travel because they provide you with a good source of fluid and help you keep hydrated throughout your journey. They also contain many essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and even fiber.
So, in other words, freshly prepared juice can be of high value in nutrition and also replace a regular meal.
By mixing fresh veggies, like carrots, celery, cucumber, fresh fruits like orange, avocado, pineapple, a handful of nuts and seeds, and your preferred spices: ginger, cinnamon, or anything else, you can get an astoundingly delicious juice to keep you running for hours while driving on the road.
There are many ways of preparing, and the variations are endless.
One simple rule is to use only seasonal fresh veggies and fruits and keep them refrigerated to maintain excellent properties.
Drinking fresh juices on road trips is a great idea to help you stay healthy when traveling.
Recommended by Michela from Rocky Travel
Vegetables are hands done, one of the healthiest road trip snack options that can be taken on the road, especially when road trips are long.
Packed with vitamins and minerals and a host of flavors, vegetables provide a wide range of variety and tastes and are a classic road trip snack to pack.
It was our go-to snack on our recent family trip to Croatia.
Here are some great vegetables to consider before your next road trip:
A great source of beta carotene, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants, carrots are one of the easiest and heartiest snacks.
Baby carrots are available at almost any supermarket, and regular carrots just need to be washed before consumption.
They are a tasty treat, and baby carrots are small enough to stuff into the smallest compartments when traveling.
High in Vitamin C, bell peppers are a great vegetable to snack on. Bell peppers come in green, yellow, orange, and red, depending on ripeness.
Green peppers are a bit less ripe and have a more bitter taste than ripe red peppers, which are the ripest.
A cruciferous vegetable, broccoli can be eaten raw is considered one of the best vegetables to snack.
High in folate and Vitamin K, it has been shown to decrease the risk of various types of cancer possibly.
Eating just a cup of broccoli provides more than enough of various vitamins and mineral consumption for the whole day.
Recommended by Diana from The Elusive Family
3. Dark Chocolate
As a smart traveler, you know that you should try to carry healthy snacks on the road and follow simple ways to boost your health when traveling.
Today, there are so many different types of snacks to carry with you on a road trip.
However, if traveling in hot countries, it is wise to carry something that will stay intact, remain healthy, and endure a long road trip.
Traveling with fresh fruit is the optimum health snack, but not always the best for a road trip simply because it is perishable.
Imagine, when road tripping through places like South America, depending on where you are, the temperature can get scouring hot or quite cool within just a few minutes.
This is one reason why carrying a quantity of dark chocolate with you could be your answer.
Dark chocolate with a high percentage of Cocoa content and no milk is a great road trip snack as it doesn’t melt so easily.
Meaning, you can enjoy the snack at any point in the day and feel good about it. Also, dark chocolate is super rich in minerals such as potassium, zinc, and selenium.
In fact, a 100-gram bar of high-quality dark chocolate, like Green and Blacks, contains up to 67 percent of your recommended daily allowance of iron.
So, what are you waiting for? Now you have the perfect excuse to eat more chocolate whilst on the road.
Recommended by Daniel from Layer Culture
4. Hard Boiled Eggs
As a healthy, filling, portable snack, you absolutely cannot beat a hard-boiled egg (or two).
Hard-boiled eggs have it all.
They’re super-healthy: packed with protein to fill you up and vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy teeth and bones; vitamin B6, which helps maintain brain function; and vitamin D, which protects bones.
They also contain minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper. A recent Chinese study of almost half a million people found that eating one egg a day may reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
As well as being super good for you, hard-boiled eggs come wrapped in their own protective, environmentally-friendly packaging, so you won’t have to worry about your plastic consumption – and best of all, they’re delicious!
Peel them and eat them just as they come, sprinkle with a little salt, or squish them into a roll and – hey presto! – egg sandwich.
They’re lightweight, robust, and portable – perfect for whatever activities you may be planning, whether that’s an afternoon on the beach or a hike up an active volcano to see the world’s largest lava lake.
They’re easy to prepare too. Wherever you travel, you’ll find eggs cheap and readily available.
You can boil them up in minutes in the kitchen of your hostel or Air BnB – or if you don’t have access to a stove and a saucepan, in the kettle in your hotel room (not technically allowed, but you can pretend you didn’t hear that!).
You may not need to do this, though, because most hotels offer boiled eggs as part of the breakfast buffet, so you can just pocket a couple for the road (again, not technically allowed, but as long as you don’t go nuts, you should be fine – you have paid for it after all!).
Recommended by Bella from Passport & Pixels
Eating healthy on the road can be a somewhat difficult task in certain places of the world, and eating healthy can also be expensive depending on Geo-location.
For example, eating fruit, vegetables, and meat on a New Zealand road trip can leave a backpacker pocketless.
So what is one of the best ways to keep healthy on the road?
Travelers can keep healthy vitamins and minerals flowing into the body by eating the world’s favorite food – fruit.
The fruit has so many health benefits, and anyone traveling on the road should be aiming to reap the benefits of eating fruit. The following benefits are included in fruits:
Fruit can lower blood pressure.
Fruits are rich in fiber, which is essential for a healthy gut. Also, a big benefit is protecting against cancers.
Fruits contain a lot of potassium, which is essential for a healthy diet.
If someone is looking for lower-in-calorie foods, fruit is an option.
To summarise, fruit is a healthy snack and anyone traveling should try to eat at least 5 pieces per day. In a lot of places, fruit can also be a very cheap alternative.
For example, fruit in Asia is very cheap, and in places like Thailand, someone can get a large cup of fruit for less than $1 or an amazing fruit smoothie for the same price.
Recommended by Louis from TheNorthernBoy
6. Nuts make a healthy snack
One of the best snacks for road trips is a fistful of nuts.
They’re portable, filling, and provide energy while not adding huge amounts of sugar or trans fats like so many packaged snacks – and diet is important if you want to stay healthy while traveling.
It’s not a good idea to overdo it, however, as nuts are high in fat.
The good news is that while nuts do contain a certain amount of saturated fats, most are unsaturated, which is much more beneficial.
The polyunsaturated fats in walnuts, and monounsaturated fats in almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios, for example, help lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease – as long as they’re consumed in moderation.
Nuts are also high in fiber, which slows the rate of absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
What type of nuts to eat on your travels: It depends on taste.
There is the almost creamy flavor of Brazil nuts, the buttery crunch of hazelnuts, and the sweetness of cashews.
Nuts that are still in the shells, while messier, are good choices for snacking because people tend to eat less of them.
Pistachios are lower in calories than many types of nuts, while almonds contain L-arginine, an amino acid reportedly helpful for lowering blood pressure and strengthening artery walls.
Nut-based snacks to stay away from are anything coated in sugar or chocolate, or if they’re too salty.
And you probably won’t be tackling the Coco de Mer – endemic to Seychelles. It’s the largest nut in the world and can clock in at an amazing 25 kilograms.
Peanuts, which are technically a legume, are the most budget-conscious option – they’re also widely available at most convenience stores and gas stations along the road – so perfect for road tripping.
Recommended by Carol from WanderingCarol
Most travelers in Southeast Asia find themselves on plenty of long, uncomfortable bus rides.
These rides, sometimes not even a considerable distance, can take several hours.
Picking a healthy road trip snack will help make a long day crammed inside a bus a little more bearable.
It is easy to pick the cheap, familiar options of fried pastries or a bag of chips at roadside stands and in markets.
For a healthier option, try snacking on rambutans. First-time visitors quickly notice mounds of rambutans as they wander the streets of Southeast Asia.
The fruit is truly a bizarre-looking food. The little round, red balls with long, prickly hairs protruding are intriguing in appearance. But the treat is inside!
Rambutans are sweet and juicy. After peeling back the intimidating exterior, the inside has a large seed covered by another white layer, the aril.
The aril is the edible flesh of the fruit and the sweet part. Best of all, a small sack of these tropical fruits is very cheap.
As a bonus, rambutans are the perfect snack to help curb hunger, a trying task on long road trips in much of Southeast Asia.
Munching on these sweet treats will leave a traveler feeling far better than one snacking on unhealthier options.
Southeast Asia is a treasure trove of fresh fruit, and rambutans are a delicious, endemic treat that makes for a perfect healthy road trip snack.
Recommended by John from The Hangry Backpacker
8. Biltong Dried Meat
South Africa is both an unrivaled road trip destination and a foodies’ paradise.
One of the most impressive and unforgettable destinations to take a drive in South Africa is along its stunningly beautiful coastal Garden Route.
While the towns and villages along the route specialize in delicious fresh seafood, the South African specialty of a jerky-like snack called biltong is a standard treat to enjoy while on the road.
Unlike the over-processed jerky that you can find in other parts of the world, biltong dried meat uses only natural ingredients. It is spiced with, among others, black pepper, salt, vinegar, and coriander.
Traditionally it is made with beef, but you can also try biltong made from wild game, chicken, fish, and even ostrich!
Best of all, it can be easily picked up in any grocery store or gas station.
If eating meat is not your thing, vegan biltong made out of mushrooms can be found, although not as easily.
Since there are no preservatives in biltong, it needs to be refrigerated after opening and is best consumed within a couple of days.
It’s a lean and tasty snack that is best enjoyed with some moderation given the high salt content, but no road trip in South Africa would be complete without it!
Recommended by Thea from Zen Travellers
9. Raw Energy Bars
Raw energy bars, such as the ones made by Raw Bite and several other companies, are an ideal healthy snack for road trips, long hikes, or anytime you’re on the go.
They are typically made from dates and nuts, making them a good source of carbohydrates and protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Look for bars that contain no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. There’s no need for extra sweeteners, as dates are already naturally very sweet.
If you want a vegetarian or vegan travel snack, or if you have allergies, you’ll be happy to know that raw date bars are often vegan and free of gluten, dairy, and soy.
This is not the right option for you if you have a nut allergy, as most bars do contain nuts.
Bars come in a whole variety of different flavors, so if you’re going on a long road trip, you can bring along a few different varieties to keep you from getting bored.
Raw Bite, for example, comes in coconut, cacao, apple cinnamon, peanut, spicy lime, vanilla berries, apricot, and cashew flavors.
Most people get more than enough protein without supplements, but if you’re worried about your protein intake, you can choose a bar with added protein powder.
Raw date bars are tasty and satisfying, easy to pack, and last forever without refrigerating. They just might be the perfect on-the-go snack!
Recommended by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
10. Sweet Sujukh
One of the most popular snacks in Armenia is sweet sujukh, often referred to as just ‘sujukh.’
This snack is ever-present in the Caucasus region and has gained popularity amongst travelers for tasting like a healthy Snickers bar.
Sujukh technically means ‘sausage,’ and that is just what the healthy snack looks like.
On the inside, you can find several different ingredients, from walnuts to raisins to hazelnuts.
The ingredients are dipped into a thickened grape syrup and hung to drip dry, creating the long product you will eventually buy and consume.
While it is associated with autumn as that is when the grapes are harvested, sweet sujukh is often found on tables during the wintertime and throughout the Christmas and New Year holidays.
In Yerevan, you will often find sujukh at the markets.
It is mostly homemade, and sometimes you can even witness it being made right in front of your eyes (where you will see it hang dry on a string).
If you’re outside of Yerevan, you can see it ubiquitously along the roads, where families will make their own versions of it and sell it at roadside stands along with other pleasures such as homemade wine or dried fruits.
There are different flavors, and it is recommended to taste each of them as they individually will have a distinct taste.
Sujukh is the perfect road trip snack that won’t leave you with a guilty feeling after consuming it.
Not only is it the perfect complement to a road trip, but it also pairs beautifully with the local wine and beer in Yerevan.
Recommended by Megan from absolute Armenia
11. Rye Bread Crisps
When I was road tripping around Iceland, I quickly learned that I had to learn how to snack on the road, or I would bust a hole in my travel budget.
One of the best snacks I discovered on my road trip in Iceland was rye bread crisps, which are basically thin, sour rye crackers that you can put any variety of toppings on.
I varied my toppings a lot so that I wouldn’t feel like I was eating the same thing repeatedly.
I generally ate them with savory toppings – a can of tuna mixed with a little mayonnaise, some mayo with a sliced boiled egg I nabbed from the breakfast buffet at the hotel, some cheeses, and meats – and ate them like small open-faced sandwiches.
For a sweet twist, I recommend peanut butter and jam (or fruit if you prefer).
They are super practical and easy to find in any grocery store in the Nordics or even at well-stocked grocery stores in the US or Europe – I even managed to find them recently in Bulgaria!
Recommended by Allison from Eternal Arrival
12. Healthy Bananas
Road trips are notoriously bad for munching on unhealthy junk foods like chips, crackers, chocolate bars, and candies as you are stuck in a vehicle with nothing else to eat.
While they make delicious snacks, they aren’t good for your health and longevity. Instead of packing processed junk, pack a bunch of highly nutritious foods like fresh fruit.
Of all the fruits that make excellent snack choices, bananas are at the very top of the list. Bananas are very easy to pack in a bag or thrown in the back seat.
They are one of the most sugary tasting fruits, which can help curb sugar cravings. As produce, they last a good amount of time for long road trips.
But above all, bananas are incredibly nutritious and excellent for your health.
Some people stay away from fruits because of their “sugar” content but realize that naturally occurring sugars (glucose and fructose) are completely different than processed sugars (like white sugar you’ll find in typically candy bars and chocolate).
Natural healthy sugars feed your body clean energy while processed sugars make you sick.
You’ve probably heard that “not all carbs are the same.” This couldn’t be more accurate!
So next time you go on a road trip, pack a few bananas for you and your buddies. In fact, pack a bunch of different fruits like apples and oranges while you’re at it!
Recommended by Jason from Mint Habits
13. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
If you grew up in the United States, few pairings go together quite as well as peanut butter and jelly.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich is simple- just two pieces of white bread, with peanut butter, spread on one and jelly on the other.
This combination rose to popularity after World War II, when U.S. soldiers snacked on these for sustenance. And why did the U.S. Armed Forces pick these as rations?
Based on its entirely plant-based nature, PB&J is incredibly cheap to make, and the ingredients can keep for a very long time, unlike meat or cheese sandwiches.
Further, the protein-dense (and let’s not forget delicious!) peanut butter, with the sweet jelly, guaranteed to give you a sugar rush, is the perfect snack for an afternoon pick-me-up.
And despite its substantive nature, it clocks in at around 400 calories a sandwich- so it won’t break your daily caloric budget.
Best of all, it’s incredibly portable- from mass-manufactured crustless sandwiches, like Uncrustables, to the old-fashioned homemade kind thrown into a baggie and stuffed in a backpack. The sandwich is a perfect handheld companion for your travels, whether it’s a road trip, a long trek through the Andes Mountains, or even a day out exploring the city.
Recommended by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler
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Sunday 5th of April 2020
A wonderful post for families who enjoy travelling. I'll try my best to remember these refreshing snacks on my next trip. I'm sure they'll come in handy. Thanks for sharing!