These 7 Healthy Roadtrip Snacks Are Essential for Every Traveler
Though it can often feel like you're surrounded by "golden arches" on the road, greasy fries aren't your only option during long car rides. There are plenty of foods you can buy at convenience stores that will quell your grumbling stomach without packing on superfluous calories.
Here's your no-fail guide to healthy snacking when you're on the road.
Why: Nuts contain lots of good-for-you fiber and fat that will keep you satiated. Plus, nuts like almonds and walnuts are heart-healthy, Mayo Clinic noted. They're a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent heart attacks.
Eat this: Buy trail mix at a convenience store (just be careful with portion control and sugary additions like chocolate) or make your own with one of these 12 healthy trail mix recipes from Greatist.
Why: Rich in protein and low in carbs and sugar, beef or turkey jerky is a great choice for road snacking. It's convenient and portable — car ride essentials. Just keep an eye on the sodium in each serving. Jerky is notoriously high in salt.
Eat this: Brands like Perky Jerky, Krave and EPIC Meats are higher quality than Slim Jims, but they're not as easy to come by at rest stops and convenience stores. It's best to try and stock up before hitting the road.
3. Dried fruit
Why: Consider this fiber-packed snack if you don't want to mess with apple cores or peels during your car ride. Dried fruit is exactly like real fruit, with the water removed, Real Simple noted. Nutritionist Chrissy Wellington told Real Simple that consumers should look for added sweeteners and always choose dried fruit with "no sulfites," a preservative.
Eat this: Snack on dried fruit in moderation because it's high in sugar. A serving size of dried fruit is half the serving size of regular fruit, the Nutrition Diva stated.
4. Fresh fruit
Why: Nature's candy has all the benefits of dried fruit listed above, but its water content and naturally produced portion size (1 apple = 1 serving, for example) will keep your calories in check.
Eat this: Your best bets are apples, clementines and basically anything that has a harder exterior and requires minimal washing.
5. String cheese
Why: String cheese delivers roughly six grams of protein and can be found at most convenience stores.
Eat this: According to Galbani Cheeses, cheese sticks will stay fresh for a few hours once out of the fridge. For longer trips, stick the cheeses in a cooler or store them with an ice pack to make them last longer.
6. Baby carrots
Why: Often conveniently packaged and terrifically crunchy, these little guys are rich in vitamins K, C and A and pack a natural punch of fiber, which will help you stay energized on the road.
Eat this: Pair the veggie sticks with a protein — like peanut butter or cheese — to take advantage of how carbs and protein work together: extra satisfaction for you.
7. Granola bars
Why: This one's tricky. Some granola bars will provide plenty of goodness, like two servings' worth of fruit in one serving. Others' nutrition stats equate to those of a candy bar, but masquerade under a healthy-seeming name. Before you accidentally buy a few servings of candy, read labels. Check for a minimal amount of added sugar and an ingredient list you can pronounce, Greatist noted.
Eat this: Greatist rounded up a smart list of bars that won't put you in a sugar coma. Check it out here.