10 Best Snacks for a Road Trip

You're on the road and it hits you -- not driver fatigue or the need for a bathroom break. We're talking about the powerful hunger of a snack attack. Do you run inside a convenience store for a bag of M&M's and energy drink while you get gas? Or are you a bottle of water and handful of peanuts type of snacker?

 All it takes is a little planning ahead and you can easily avoid foods that contain no more than simple sugars and carbohydrates, such as soda, candy and other convenience store staples. Just as you'd pack an overnight bag with your must-have items from home, plan your road snack pack before you hit the highway. A small insulated cooler is a road trip must-have, as are small food storage containers or resealable baggies (the snack-sized kind are perfect for portion control) to keep finger foods ready to go.

When it comes to snack selection, instead of those that add extra sodium and empty calories to your diet, choose ones that are a well-balanced mix of protein and good-for-you fats -- think back to that bottle of water and handful of nuts. The best snacks for a road trip are the kind that will keep you feeling full longer so you'll be less likely to reach for a bag of potato chips an hour down the road. You'll not only keep your energy up but your belt-size intact. Let's begin our suggestions with a great potato chip alternative: nuts.

Skip the chips. If you're craving something salty and crunchy, put away the Ruffles and pop open a container of nuts. Peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, whatever your favorite nuts -- or seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower -- are good combinations of healthy fats and protein. Although nuts are packed full of protein, fiber and healthy fats, keep portions small: Just 14 almonds or 20 pistachios equals 100 calories, the caloric sweet-spot for snacking [source: WebMD]. And keep sodium levels in check by choosing unsalted varieties.

Alternatively, popcorn or rice cakes are good options to satisfy a crunchy craving. Three cups of air-popped popcorn (hold the salt and butter) equals 100 calories, so munch away [source: Drayer].

Fruit is one of the best on-the-go snack options out there. Berries are already naturally snack-sized and finger-friendly, as are grapes. Prepare fruit by washing and slicing it as needed before you start your trip. Store it in lidded food containers inside an insulated cooler to help keep it cool and fresh. While fresh fruits can be cubed, sliced or eaten whole, also consider single-serving containers of applesauce or dried fruits. Dried apricots, cranberries, raisins or whatever your favorite dried fruit may be can be a healthy part of your daily diet, as are fruit leathers. Keep in mind while snacking: One cup of fresh fruit equals half a cup of dried [source:Ray].

For less mess, avoid fruits that will leave you with waste to worry about, such as cherries or other fruits with pits.

The Snickers bar is many people's favorite go-to candy bar. One 2-ounce (58 grams) Snickers bar packs in 280 calories, 14 grams of total fat and 30 grams of sugar. That's a sugar-bomb of empty calories. Consider replacing your favorite candy bar with an energy or granola bar to boost your protein and fiber intake while avoiding the sugar trap. To be sure you're not trading one sugar-laden bar with another, look for bars that contain 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and less than 35 percent of calories from sugar, at the minimum [source:Magee].


               Par : Maria Trimarchi



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