When on a road trip, do you drive on past the golden arches or a 50’s roadside diner because you know you’re stocked up with some healthy road trip snacks? If you haven’t had the foresight to pack your own before you hit the road, it’s good to know that there are healthy road trip snacks available in all sorts of roadside eateries and establishments – if you know what to look for. Nutritionist Rania Batayneh put together a list of the best roadside snacks and some of them might surprise you. Some of them might not have fabulous overall nutritional value but they contain the sustenance you need without piling on calories and being laden with fat.
1. Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are one of the best healthy road trip snacks to enjoy. They keep you energized and awake which is especially important if you are on long trips. If you are driving alone you might want to choose a fruit which doesn’t need to be peeled, as the peel might be hard to get off while your eyes are meant to be on the road and your hands at ten and two. Grapes, carrot sticks, or cherry tomatoes are a good choice for the lone ranger, however if you are traveling with someone who will be your designated fruit peeler, then you’ll have more options – a banana is an excellent choice. You can often pick up fruit and vegetables at a gas station on the road, or pack some before you set off.
2. Beef Jerky
This isn’t a recommended everyday diet choice, however on the road it is great as it is relatively low calorie and high in protein. You might want to make sure you have a drink with you as this snack can be quite salty.
3. Fig Newtons
These cookies are one of my favorite sweet and healthy road trip snacks (we call them fig rolls in the UK) as they are low calorie and contain more fiber, and less fat, than most cookies. They are great for the times when you just need to satisfy the sweet tooth but don’t want to crash from a sugar overdose.
4. KIND Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants Bar
Don’t go for sugary treats or granola bars at the gas station, chose this snack instead. It comes in at just 190 calories and is packed full of vitamins including A, C, and E, all of which help you to keep your skin and body healthy. You’ll want to keep your immune system up while you are on the road so when you get to your destination you don’t fall ill.
5. Chili from Wendy’s
Sometimes a cold sandwich or a piece of fruit just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you need something hot and warming. Chili from Wendy’s is cheap, filling, and one of the healthiest options on the menu. When you need to feel a little fuller from one of your healthy road trip snacks go for Wendy’s chili, it’s sure to do the job. Nutritional value of the small serving is 210 calories, 17g protein, and 6g fiber. If you’ve got enough in your calorie budget, you could treat yourself to a Junior Vanilla Frosty for afters too. For a processed ice cream it’s not too bad at 190 calories, 5g fat and 5g protein.
6. Burger King Fruit-Topped Maple Quaker Oats
If you are up early enough to make Burger King’s breakfast menu make sure you chose the healthy oatmeal option and avoid the grease of the fried foods. Porridge will keep you fuller for longer and the BK one contains just 270 calories. This is a great healthy road trip snack to start your day and make sure you feel fuller for longer.
7. Junior Whopper Burger King
Craving a meaty snack but don’t like jerky? Pull into a Burger King and order a Junior Whopper without mayo. It comes in at just 290 calories and is full of protein – 16g in fact.
8. Apple Slices with Low Fat Dip from McDonalds
Burger joints have such extensive menus these days that you can find things that pass as one-off healthy snacks for a road trip. Don’t be tempted by the array of fried food as it will only make you feel groggy and tired afterwards. Chose the apple slices and get 50% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and this snack is just 100 calories too. And with such a low calorie count you can afford to treat yourself to a kiddie cone too, which only adds another 45 to your calorie bill.
9. Wheat Bagel with Light Vegetable Cream Cheese from Dunkin’ Dounuts
If you find yourself at Dunkin Dounuts don’t make the obvious choice of a high calorie treat. Opt for the wheat bagel which is just 280 calories and made with whole wheat flour. However this snack isn’t the healthiest road trip snack with 56g of carbs which might make you feel quite bloated. As that’s the equivalent of 3-4 slices of bread you can easily eat the bagel in two halves at intervals during the trip and still feel satisfied.
It is so easy for us to write off fast food places and gas stations as not being places to find healthy road trip snacks but as long as you understand the choices, there’s no reason to be overly concerned. Do you pack your own healthy snacks for a road trip or take pot luck?