44 Healthy Road Trip Snack Ideas

44 Healthy Road Trip Snack Ideas

Man, I love a good road trip! Flying is great and all, but there is something really special about packing up the car, cranking up the tunes (or the podcasts), and heading out on the open road. We’ve always been the type that drive instead of fly. Not only is often more affordable for us, but it’s also so much more fun!

This month, we’re road tripping up to visit my husband’s family in Canada, and I’m starting to finalize the plans for our trip. We’re building in a lot of travel time and stops to keep the little one happy, and of course, we’re packing tons of healthy road trip snacks.

Road Trip Snacks

In an ideal world, I would spend the days before our trip in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and creating lots of healthy, tasty, and homemade treats to eat on the road.

Yeah, not so much.

I always plan to do that, but the last week before a trip is full of hair cuts and oil changes and clothes shopping and packing and house cleaning and booking hotels and planning routes and exactly zero time to spend in the kitchen making muffins to eat on the interstate. So, I do the best I can, and search for lots of healthy, all-natural pre-made alternatives. Since we rarely eat this kind of pre-packaged food, it’s always a fun treat, and it saves me some serious pre-trip stress!

I thought I’d pull together a list of all of my favorite healthy road trip snack ideas (plus show you our favorite road trip lunch!)—most of what you’ll see here is prepackaged stuff from the store, but I’m also giving you some homemade ideas just in case you have the extra time to whip them up before you go. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find some goodies for your next journey!

Veggies and Fruit

I tend to be a boredom snacker on road trips, so fruit and veggies are where it’s at for me! I’ve been known to fill up a bag with cauliflower florets and go to town for miles and miles. Any fruit or veggie will do, but I recommend sticking with veggies that aren’t messy (I wouldn’t pack that juicy peach you just got at the farmer’s market) and avoid anything that bruises easily (I swear, the second a banana enters our car, the peel turns black). I’d also skip any produce that could stain if you drop it (berries, cherry tomatoes, etc.), because, hello, I totally will. Here are some of our favorites:

Road Trip Snacks Fruit and Veggies

  • Cauliflower florets
  • Broccoli florets
  • Baby carrots
  • Snap peas
  • Celery sticks
  • Radishes
  • Cherries :: the yellow, Rainer kind—to avoid stains
  • Clementines :: bonus: makes the car smell amazing!
  • Apples

If you aren’t a fan of veggies straight up like I am, you can also pack some dippers:

  • Ranch :: you can buy little cups in the store, or divvy some ranch into small containers at home
  • Guacamole :: same as the ranch—we lurve these little guac cups for road trips!
  • Hummus :: store-bought or make your own

And if you prefer to get your fruits and veggies in a different way than eating raw, there are other options as well:

  • Smoothies :: look for ones with no added sugar, you can also make your own at home and put in recycled bottles
  • Dried fruit :: look for fruit without anything added—no sugar, no flavor, no color, no preservatives
  • Squeezable applesauce :: no spoon necessary
  • Salads in a jar

Protein

Road trip snacking is so often carb city—and not often very good quality carbs—that’s why you feel so hungry before you even get to the next exit! The key to road trip satiation? Protein!

Road Trip Proteins

  • Yogurt :: look for higher fat versions with less sugar or make your own!
  • Jerky :: there are lots of healthier version out here without much additives
  • Almonds :: you can’t beat Blue Diamond’s snacking almonds for the road! Lots of great flavors to choose from.
  • Cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Cheese crackers :: tasty, and surprisingly high in protein!
  • Nut butter packets :: it’s like a shot of liquid energy
  • Energy bars :: pick up your favorites, or make some granola bars or date bites at home before you leave
  • Hummus and dippers

Sweet Treats

I can’t make it through a road trip without a little something sweet! Instead of grabbing a candy bar from the gas station, I like to pack my own (healthier) treats to grab in a chocolate emergency.

Road Trip Sweet Treats

  • Graham crackers
  • Animal crackers
  • Whole grain cookies
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chocolate covered fruit or nuts
  • Fruit snacks :: grab the organic ones—the regular ones are filled with yucky stuff
  • Whole grain dry cereal

If you have some extra time before your trip, you can also whip up your own homemade goodies (some of which would also be great for breakfast-on-the-go):

  • Muffins :: pick whole grains and keep the sugar content lower
  • Scones :: same as above
  • Homemade cookies
  • Black bean brownies
  • Chia pudding

Drinks

I drink water 90% of the time at home (the other 10% being made up of coffee and beer), so I use road trips as an excuse to drink fun drinks! I’m all about the road trip beverages. Sure, it means we have to make pit stops more often, but that’s okay because it’s a good idea to stretch your legs frequently, and traveling is notoriously dehydrating. Drink up!

Road Trip Drinks

  • Water :: I always take my filtered water bottle with me on trips—no worrying how the water from the rest stop fountain tastes
  • Coconut water :: if I feel a headache coming on, a can of coconut water can almost always stop it
  • Juice boxes :: a fun treat, but make sure you look for ones with less sugar, and no artificial colors or flavors.
  • Natural sodas :: same with the juice boxes—keep ’em clean
  • Coffee drinks :: not the healthiest of choices, but I like to have a few of these in case the driver gets sleepy
  • Almond milk :: Almond Breeze has awesome shelf-stable, single-serving milks

Tips and Tricks

With family spread out all over the continent, we’re become quite the one-the-road eating experts. Here’s what works for us:

Ditch the Boxes and Bags

On most items, you can do some serious condensing if you leave at home the packaging it came it. Pull everything out and repackage what needs to be repackaged in smaller, stackable containers.

Road Trip Containers

We try not to store food in plastic at home much, but on the road is one place where we love plastic storage containers. They are light, they stack and nest well, and if you lose or break one? It isn’t the end of the world.

Make a snacking tote

Instead of throwing everything all willy-nilly into a bag in the backseat, head to the dollar store and pick up an open tote to hold your non-refrigerated snacks. That way everything is easily accessible and easy to see. No digging through to the bottom of the bag to get the crackers you want.

Road Trip Snacks

The tote does tend to get a little crazy at the end of the day, so each evening of the trip, I take everything out and reorganize and restock, if necessary.

Don’t forget accoutrements!

It’s never a bad idea to have a roll of paper towels, some baby wipes, some hand sanitizer, and utensils with you. Also, I recommend packing a few large, gallon-size zip top bags and plastic grocery sacks to work as trash bags. The gallon bags are particularly good to hold any food that would stink up the car!

Road Trip Snacking Extras

Our Favorite Road Trip Lunch

We went for years packing a cooler with sandwich fixings for the road, and it always worked out well, but it seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth. Recently, I had an inspired road trip lunch idea—tuna! Shelf stable, tasty, healthy, packed with protein, and substanial enough to feel like a real meal. We mix our tuna with guacamole to make a salad, and serve it on crackers—you could also pack little packets of mayo and relish or a cup of ranch for mixing.

We pack little road trip bento boxes for on the go. And just empty it, mix up the tuna salad in the box, and eat!

Road Trip Lunch

Just make sure you get a pull-tab style of tuna so you don’t have to pack a can opener, and I recommend eating it out of the car—unless you want your car to smell like tuna for the whole trip. It’s a good excuse to stop at a park and stretch your legs anyway!

So there are my favorite road trip eats! I’d love to have you chime in with your favorites in the comments—I’m sure there are a few ideas I missed. Happy road tripping!

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14 Comments

Packing snacks from home for road trips are essential for me too. Not only is it cheaper than buying food on the way, but it’s healthier for me too.

I think the best thing I took with me last time was homemade trail mix. It had my favorite nuts, dried cranberries, and some chocolate chips.

We are big road trippers, too. In addition to the things you mention, we also bring tea bags and reusable mugs. Every gas station has hot water (for their tea), but this way you can bring along your favourite kind.

Happy driving!

I always forget to pack napkins! When I fly, since I can’t bring water, I take my water bottle empty then fill it up in the airport – many of them have the filtered bottle filler now!

In the past I’ve brought hardboiled eggs and protein pancakes!

Great ideas! I always travel with hand sanitiser., or just carry it around me wherever I go and pull it out at mostly awkward and rude timing

Thanks for the ideas! We love homemade lunchables – cheese sticks, ritz style crackers and deli meat. That makes a great lunch! We also like to bring veggie straws or chips as something fun and snacky but not quite as terrible health wise as potato chips. Salsa is a great dipper that we love to bring.

You can find sugar free tea based energy drinks in most natural/organics and water/juice sections.. Bia5 and Steaz are better alternatives than sugar laden Starbucks. 🙂

Hi Ashton,
I saw on one website that water bottles can be frozen in advance to use for keeping stuff cold as an alternative to ice. That might help.

So glad I stumbled across your site. Have now added it to my favorites and look forward to reading more! Thanks for the great tips. I love the idea of putting snacks in a basket so they are visible and more easily accessible!