Have you ever found yourself stuck on the road, hungry, and in search for the healthiest gas station foods? If you're anything like me, taking a road trip can be a little bit scary if you haven't packed enough healthy snacks to make it through the ride. While the quote, "You should never buy your food from the same place that you buy your gas," is true; sometimes you find yourself with no other choice. I've been driving from one destination to the next, with hours to go, as well as hours to the next big town, when a delayed lunch could be delayed no longer. I have been thirsty, hungry and feeling my blood sugar drop, when just a small bite of something would tide me over. With no other food in sight, a small gas station snack would have to hold me over. Healthy eaters, fear no more, here are seven of the healthiest gas station foods that you can grab when you're in a pinch.
1. Fresh Fruit
Although it might not look the most fresh, fruit is definitely at the top of the list for the healthiest gas station foods. Most gas stations tend to sell bananas, oranges and apples located close to the register or at the front of the store. Sometimes when you travel, your consumption of fresh fruit might decrease, therefore, this is the perfect snack to tide you over until your next healthy meal. Full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, fresh fruit is a great option when searching for a healthy snack. Choose the fruits with a thick peel, like bananas or oranges, since you don't know just how clean that fruit is! It's still a gas station after all.
2. Dried Fruit
Even if a gas station doesn't keep any fresh fruit on hand, they all seem to have a small variety of dried fruit, like raisins, craisins, or banana chips. Dried fruit also provides a great bit of vitamins and minerals and is also packed with fiber, helping to keep you feel full through the drive or ride. Just be sure to look for a dried fruit that doesn't have too much added sugar. Many companies will add sugar to the fruit to make it taste sweeter. At that point, however, it becomes a little bit more like a candy and less of a health food!
3. Raw Almonds
You can never go wrong with raw almonds. Surprisingly, most gas stations seem to carry this healthy raw nut, sans added sodium and oils too! Almonds are the perfect healthy fat, also packed with heart healthy fiber. Want something sweet and savory? Try making your own trail mix right in the car by combining raw almonds with any of the dried fruits mentioned above. This is my favorite gas station go-to snack!
For just 100 calories for 30 pistachios, this low-cal nut is the perfect snack - if you are not the driver that is! If the gas station you are in happens to have the unsalted pistachios even better, however, when discussing healthiest gas station foods, even the salted variety is a better choice. Since snacking on pistachios involves a little bit of hands-on work, this snack tends to make the car ride go a little bit faster too!
5. Unsalted Sunflower Seeds/Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds are nutritious, full of fiber and have enough healthy fat to tide you over for a few hours until you finally reach a large enough town to find a healthy meal. Again, probably a better snack for the passenger rather than the driver, however, if you're a kind enough passenger you might even crack a few for the driver to munch on too! I've yet to find a gas station that lacks in the seed department, so regardless of where you find yourself, seeds are an excellent choice!
6. Coconut Water
Forget the juice, soda or milk. Coconut water is a new trend popping up in gas stations all over the country. Coconut water is low in calories, thirst quenching, and full of electrolytes. Don't get caught up in the marketing of other "healthy" beverages, since most are full of sugar, causing your blood sugar to spike and then crash shortly into your ride or drive. Many of these other drinks also contain many calories without any nutrition, leaving you feeling hungry just a short while later. If you're lucky enough to find yourself in a gas station that offers coconut water, give it a try!
You know I couldn't have a list of healthiest gas station foods without adding water. Low in calories and price, water is the beverage everyone should be reaching in a gas station. Water hydrates you, fills you up, and energizes you for your ride or drive. You will never regret choosing water over any of the other high calorie and high sugar beverages. Drinking adequate water will allow you to arrive at your destination feeling energized, alert and hydrated!
Don't let your eyes make the decision when looking for a healthy gas station snack. Seek out the healthiest foods and you will find them. Even better, plan ahead and pack a few healthy snacks for the road like these homemade protein bars, DIY trail mix, or no bake energy bites. Do you tend to bring your own road trip snacks or do you find yourself lost in the sea of junk food in a gas station? What is your favorite healthy gas station food?