Healthy Travels: Food for Car Rides

by in Healthy Tips, December 22, 2009

car snacks
We already filled you in on smarter snacks for flying and now we’ve got you covered for the car. Pack along some healthier fare and speed by those rest stops.

Pack a Picnic
Make the long car trip part of the fun; a cooler and a few ice packs are all you need. Driving while eating is not always the best option. If your driving route allows it, plan a pit stop at a park or other favorite spot on the way. If that’s not an option, be sure to pack foods that are easy to eat (especially if you’re driving) — sandwiches, fresh fruit (apples and bananas work well) and soup in a thermos for easy sipping. Cut down on spills by drinking from bottles of water (re-useable preferred) and juice boxes or sippy cups for the kiddies. For a sweet treat, stick to a few cookies or pieces of dark chocolate. Most likely, where you’re going will have loads of goodies waiting.

And don’t forget the extra bag for garbage and some paper towels for emergency spills.

Fast Lane Snacks
If your car ride doesn’t call for a full meal, some quick snacks should keep you covered. Even if you don’t think you’ll need them, bring them — you never know when you’ll get stuck in a traffic jam. Snack bars, trail mix, dry cereal, pretzels, half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich are good options that don’t require refrigeration.

Emergency Rest-Stop Picks
Sometimes a rest stop or gas station is your only hope; here are some smarter choices:

  • Pretzels
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Nuts or trail mix
  • Small order of nonfat frozen yogurt
  • Cup of (non-creamy) soup
  • Coffee (sans chocolate and whipped cream)
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Deli sandwich (hold the mayo)

Happy and safe travels this holiday season!

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Comments (20)

  1. Having lived at least 8hrs + away from family for years, I couldn't agree more with these suggestions! We gave up "grabbing" a bite on the road years ago… packing a car-picnic is 1) a time saver and 2) definitely provides more nutritious options. I also like the UHT boxes of reduced-fat milk for my toddler & snack size cheese for mom/dad. We've opted for a plug in cooler that works well and is mess free.

  2. Sadie says:

    Having trouble eating. Things don't taste good and I get full really fast. Just not interested in food. I'm a diabetic. Need some ideas for nutritious snacks that won't add to my waistline. Something I can carry with me. Need soft foods.


  3. Karen Brown says:

    I learned that from my best friend and college roommate years ago. Whenever she travelled anywhere, she always took the same 2 staples with her: a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. It was more about being thrifty than being healthy, but its still a good practice.

    As Linda suggested, hard boiled eggs are another good high protein snack for car rides. They can safely remain unrefrigerated for up to two hours (the USDA recommends that you do not eat them after that.)

  4. Cheerios are another great snack. They come in lots of flavors and won't fill you up to quickly.

  5. Marie` says:

    jello, sugar free hard candy, celery and peanut butter, and protein pancakes are awesome for road tripping!!! I do some long haul road trips and one stop on a 8-9hr trip is all it takes and great music…protein pancake mixture in case you're curious is 1/2 cup quaker oats, 3 egg whites ( I use egg beaters), splenda and any fruit like dried cranberries and/or whatever you like. mix together and cook on nonstick skillet and make pancake shape and flip. holds you over, my boyfriend and I love them smeared with peanut butter or try maple syrup! ENJOY!

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  10. You rock sister girl. I love those Valentine cookies. That holiday is probably my 2nd best holiday after Christmas. I came off my trip early, but it was nice to meet your blog back home. That’s great you have your mother’s copy of the Fannie Farmer cookbook. It’s a keepsake, I may get me a copy next time I go out. I’m pretty sure I’ll find one at Books-A-Million. Happy Birthday to Dave’s grandfather. Wow, 90 years old!! What a blessing. Safe trip going and coming to you.

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