Isn’t it funny how long road trips make us crave snack food? No, just me? Okay. Since traveling with my husband more, I’ve come to realize that those sugary fruit snacks and salty chips just don’t cut it. Not to mention that food from a rest stop is expensive.
Much like myself, my mom was always uber prepared for road trips when we were younger. She would pack a small tub with card games, CD’s, and snacks for my brother and I to entertain ourselves with while we were on the road. Fruit Gusher, Fruit by the Foot, Cheeze-Itz, granola bars, Teddy Grahams, and sandwich crackers were all in there. Those foods are what kids’ dreams are made of! As an adult though, I would sugar-crash pretty hard.
After doing a bit of research and driving thousands of miles last summer from Oklahoma to Yellowstone National Park and back, I’ve narrowed down my top five road trip snacks to share with you.
They are calorie conscious, vegan, and satisfying. Not to mention that it is less expensive to bring your food with you instead of buying along the way!
Popcorn can fill that sweet or salty craving depending on what kind you pop. I opt for store bought bags so that I can pop some before we leave and pop more at the hotel that we stay in to have extra for the next leg of the trip. The amount of calories obviously is dependent upon what brand you get but it can be a smart choice for a long trek! When eaten slowly, it can keep you feeling full for hours.
Nuts (especially peanuts) can keep you feeling full and hold you over until you’re able to eat your next meal. We always bring roasted, lightly salted peanuts with us wherever we go. We buy peanuts and other nuts in our grocer’s bulk foods section to get more bang for our buck. As an added bonus, buying in this method uses less packaging. Score for Mother Earth!
Adding fruit to your snack bag will help you steer clear of sugary candy bars whenever you stop for gas. Our favorites include clementines, grapes, and apples. Since these create a bit of a mess sometimes (sticky fruit juices and left over stems and cores), we always make sure to bring an extra trash sack and baby wipes. If you aren’t a fan of eating apples whole and prefer slices, you can slice the apple before you leave, lightly spritz lemon juice on the interior, and put back together and hold in place with a rubber band. You’ll want to keep it in a lunch box or cooler after it is cut.
Pretzels and Hummus
While this does require a lunch box or cooler with a cold pack, it is well worth it. On our way to Yellowstone we ate a whole container of hummus. You have to help the driver out if they want some too, but you’re rewarded with a delicious and protein packed snack. We often ate hummus and pretzels with our PB&J sandwiches we would make at rest areas for lunch. The hummus kept cold for multiple days (after we bought more…) in our Yeti-like cooler with a little bit of ice. It was nice to have a hearty snack after a long day of hiking.
Granola and Protein Bars
While some bars can be on the pricey side, it is a nice “grab and go” option if you need to leave in a hurry. I always keep a back up granola bar or two in our snack bag in the event it takes us longer to get to our destination than expected. Our favorites include The Complete Cookie (found on the cookie/cracker aisle of Sprouts) and Kind Bars. Both have vegan varieties and are super tasty.
And there you have it. Snack away and save some money my friends! Keep your hangry, road-trippin’ family at bay.