On the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again.
We guarantee you Willie has top-shelf … healthy road trip snacks. But when you don’t have a tour bus, you’re packing your own. And convenience store goodies beckon at every pitstop.
Yes, the candy bars look luscious, and the cheese puffs fill the car with factory-fresh aroma (and neon-orange dust). It’s difficult to turn away. For road trip snacks, healthy finds aren’t always at hand.
But we’re eating healthily in the Jerky Universe! You’ll feel better and save money with a bit of planning and prep.
Playlist primed? Seatbelts fastened? Cooler iced? We’ve got scads of road trip snack ideas.
Let’s rev up and review 45 healthy road trip snacks that’d satisfy even Willie’s munchies.
Pre-Trip Snack Stuff To Pack
First, we’ll pump the brakes. On-the-go snacks come with a few inconveniences. Whether driving solo or doing the twist with a car full of kids, prep before you travel.
Have a few items at the ready before you tank up the car or your stomach:
- Hand sanitizer
- Trash bags
- Baby wipes or wet wipes
- Zip-close plastic bags
- Paper towels (spills will happen — it’s inevitable)
- Plastic containers with sealable lids
It seems like a lot, but you can fit cleanup and storage stuff in one fabric grocery bag with a little Tetrising. Stash it within reach — sticky hands aren’t ideal for sharp turns.
Now, let’s get into those tasty, healthy snacks for road trips. We’ll take it food group by food group.
Arguably the most important healthy snacks for road trips, protein-packed goodies keep your energy and hunger levels stable. So the best snacks for road trips contain protein in spades.
2. Mozzarella String Cheese
Easy road trip snacks don’t get much easier than mozzarella string cheese. Because it’s already snack-sized and sealed, kids and grown-ups alike can dig in without fuss. And one stick packs about 7 grams of protein!
Well, you can eat any kind of nuts as high-protein road trip snacks. From cashews to sunflower seeds to soy nuts, you’ve got your pick of the litter. (Try keeping a can or jar in a cup holder to store shells!)
If you’re looking for an affordable option, peanuts are the way to go. Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are the most nutrient-dense options, but their price points are a bit higher.
Tip: A spoonful of peanut butter packs a good deal of protein, too — but be careful giving it to kids under age 4. They’re more prone to choking and trouble swallowing.
4. Greek Yogurt
5. Tuna Salad
OK, it may make the car a bit fragrant, but tuna salad’s a protein-packed, light-on-the-stomach snack.
Whip some up before you leave home (try using mayo high in omega-3 fatty acids). Then, store it in a container, stick the container in the cooler and dig it out when cravings hit. With some whole-grain crackers at your side, you’re full without being too full.
6. Protein Bars
Simple to grab and easy to eat, protein bars generally practice what they preach: They’re full of protein. As healthy road trip snacks, look for protein bars that don’t brim with fats and sugars. If you’re following the keto diet or bodybuilding, your nutrition needs may differ!
7. Roasted Edamame
A pop, a savory crunch and a hit of protein — roasted edamame is simply delightful. You can eat raw edamame as a vegetable too, and it’s high in protein either raw or roasted. Snag a bag from your local health food store or bodega, and you’re good to go!
We love it when snacks multitask.
8. Turkey Roll-Ups
This one requires a bit of prep. For healthy road trip snacks, get low-sodium deli-sliced turkey, whole-grain tortillas and swiss or cream cheese. Layer lightly, and roll tightly together.
You can leave them like little burritos or slice them into pinwheels. Pop ‘em in a plastic container, put the container in the cooler and go!
9. Low-Sodium Ham Sandwiches
Find high-quality, low-sodium deli-sliced ham. Make a regular ham sandwich, but use mayo high in omega-3 fatty acids and healthy cheese (extra-sharp cheddar’s a great choice). Cut the sandwich into bite-sized pieces, place in plastic zip-close bags and chill in the cooler.
10. Cottage Cheese
Granted, you may have a difficult time getting the kids to try it at first. Still, cottage cheese is a protein- and calcium-rich snack that pairs beautifully with fruits and vegetables. Eaten alone, it has a mild, tangy flavor that leaves you feeling satisfied but not stuffed.
Besides sweets (and we’ll get to them), carbs are your second most-tempting travel snacks. But it’s all good — with these healthy snacks for road trips, you can avoid going overboard.
You don’t have to break out your tie-dye shirts (but you can). Granola’s a cornerstone of snacks to take on a road trip. A combo of whole oats, honey and coconut oil at its most basic, you can get far fancier when you make your own.
Try adding ingredients like chia seeds, raisins and almonds to up the nutrition. Bag it beforehand and snack away — no cooler required.
Tip: Buyer beware — some granola brands are more like candy bars than healthy road trip snacks, so choose carefully!
Light on the stomach, easy to eat and simple to pack, popcorn’s a standby and easily one of the best snacks for road trips. It’s also high in fiber and low in calories when you make or buy the right kind!
Opt for air-popped popcorn without a whopping amount of fat and sodium. Unfortunately, microwave popcorn usually has heaps of both.
13. Whole-Grain Crackers
Nutritious on-the-go snacking doesn’t get much simpler than this. Plus, whole-grain crackers go exceptionally well with many other road trip snacks, like hummus and peanut butter! Make sure to check the nutrition label — many popular brands’ whole-grain crackers aren’t truly whole-grain foods.
14. Veggie Straws, Chips or Sticks
These are good healthy road trip snacks for kids! They’re nearly indistinguishable from run-of-the-mill potato chips in terms of taste, but again, check the nutrition label. Most veggie straws, chips and sticks are still starchy, often-fried foods (it makes us sad, too).
15. Sweet Potato Crisps
We would recommend just packing baked sweet potatoes because they’re so healthy! But when you need snacks to take on a road trip, lugging along foil-wrapped taters isn't ideal.
Luckily, sweet potato crisps are a good workaround. If you can’t bake your own, look for brands with baked, low-sodium varieties.
16. Rice Cakes
We could hear that heavy sigh from across the galaxy.
Rice cakes are notorious for being bland, but that was the ’90s, folks! Now you can find stackable, snackable rice cakes in dozens of flavors — just package them tightly. Once they’re stale, they’re tough to chew (and not in that toothsome jerky way).
Tip: You can even trick the kids into loving them with a little dip, like peanut butter or low-sugar jam.
17. English Muffins
Super-airy and perfectly springy English muffins are good snacks for a road trip. Compared to similar carbs, they’re lower-calorie and higher-fiber alternatives. Plus, they make on-the-go sandwiches simple.
Look for whole-grain brands, and toss a bag atop the snack stack. Ta-da! We like whole-grain cinnamon-raisin English muffins while traveling — just toast the night before, bag and nosh.
18. Pita Bread or Pita Chips
Pita has a rep for being healthy, and that’s usually the case. But like most carbs, it’s healthiest when it’s whole-grain! (Cue the record-skipping sound.)
For healthy snacks for road trips, try whole-grain pita chips with a side of roasted red pepper hummus: classic.
19. Dried Fruit, Fruit Crisps and Fruit Leather
So many foods have at least some carbs, so this entry blends into our next group. Fruits in almost any form make healthy road trip snacks for kids and adults.
If you have a picky eater in the back seat, an artfully wrapped raw-fruit roll-up is a dead ringer for the syrupy alternative. Fruit crisps can be a sneaky substitute for sugar-dusted cookies. Meanwhile, dried fruits like raisins and prunes give you a hefty helping of fiber and healthy carbs.
Healthy road trip snacks aren’t complete without fruits! We could list all raw fruits, but these are the easiest to tote and eat on the go.
Tip: Have wet wipes and paper towels at the ready to stop sticky juices from spreading. Having a biodegradable bag for peels, pits and seeds is always nifty, too.
If nature itself packaged the fruit, you’re in a solid spot. Bring one bunch of ripe bananas (with just a few brown spots) and pass ‘em around. There you go: potassium, fiber and vitamins C and B6.
Again, they’re in their own wrapper! Oranges are obviously some of the best snacks for road trips. Toss a couple in the cooler for an extra-refreshing vitamin C-rich treat that also hits your sweet tooth.
A bag of small, easy-to-peel clementines makes snacking simple for tiny hands. Oh — and the car will smell amazing.
With their gratifying crunch, glorious color and serious health perks, apples are super-easy road trip snacks. Eat them whole, sliced or diced — you can’t go wrong! Keep water or fruit wipes handy for cleaning if you’re grabbing apples straight out of the bag.
This is another can’t-miss option, particularly for road trip snacks for kids. Black grapes are healthiest, full of antioxidants, copper and vitamins B and K. Still, you won’t go awry with red or green varieties.
For the sophisticated snacker, rinse and freeze a bag the night before. Stick in the car cooler and experience little icy spheres of sheer joy.
Note: Grapes can be a choking hazard for very young children. Cut them in halves or quarters or opt for another fruit if needed.
OK, pineapple’s prewrapped, but it’s a difficult wrapper to wrangle — so precutting is crucial.
Raw pineapple is your healthiest option when eating it as road trip snacks, but pineapple canned in water or juice is a close second. Full of B vitamins, fiber and folate, it’s a superfood that happens to taste amazing.
This is another fruit category where you pretty much can’t go wrong: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and more.
Strawberries and blueberries are your most portable berry-family road trip snacks, while raspberries and blackberries are addictively tart. It’s easiest to toss them in a zip-close plastic bag, chill and get your fix. Fair warning: Berries stain fabrics and fingers.
Admittedly, veggies and road trip snacks don’t seem like natural bedfellows. They’re healthy road trip snacks, sure, but the kids (and you) may not be exactly enthusiastic. To up the odds and add flavor, pack dips like low-fat salad dressing, hummus, cheese and sour cream.
Raw or steamed, broccoli florets are easy and incredibly healthy snacks for a road trip. If you steam or air-fry them pre-trip, make sure to store in a bag and place it in the cooler. And if you go for raw broccoli, chilled or room temperature is fine.
Tip: From a few broccoli enthusiasts to any newbies, take it slow. Broccoli’s a superfood in part because of its powerful fiber content — you catch our drift.
27. Cucumber Slices
Skinned, sliced and chilled, cucumber slices hit the spot as healthy road trip snacks for adults and kids alike. They’re hydrating, cooling, full of antioxidants and great for digestion.
We’re gonna cheat a tad and say dill pickles aren’t a bad choice either, thanks to their potassium content. Just watch out for ultra-high sodium levels!
28. Baby Carrots
We think baby carrots don’t get the credit they deserve as deliciously sweet, low-calorie, vitamin-rich goodies. On a road trip, healthy snacks don’t get much healthier. Eat them alone or with a staple dip like healthy ranch dressing (ideally, both chilled).
Fun fact: The lutein in carrots is good for your eyes, so keep those peepers sharp on the road!
29. Avocado Slices
Yes, we’re cheating again: Avocados are technically fruits. But they taste like veggies for all intents and purposes, so here we go.
They’re full of healthy fats, nutrients and fiber. Slice and bag one, place the bag in the cooler and devour any way you want.
If you don’t like avocado solo, try pairing it with pita chips, cheese and/or whole-grain crackers. You can also mash it and use it as a spread on whole-grain bread and other healthy carbs.
Yes … we’re skirting the rules again. (Good luck convincing your toddler that cherry tomatoes and cherries are in the same food group.) Cubed or sliced tomatoes as veggie road trip snacks are a wonderful way to get vitamin C and folate.
If you want to get snazzy, grab a zip-close plastic bag and fill with sliced tomatoes. Drizzle in olive oil, crumbled feta and basil, and let the concoction chill overnight. Voila — eat with pita chips for pizza without the greasy hangover.
Tip: To level up your road-trip “pizza,” add jerky bits.
31. Celery Stalks
Crisp, handy and easy to eat, celery is a breezy snack on the road. It’s mostly water, yet celery still has vitamins and fiber. Dip in classics like peanut butter or ranch for easy road trip snacks.
Note: “Ants on a log” is a fun fave for kids. Simply take a stalk, fill the groove with peanut butter and top off with raisins.
32. Asparagus Spears
Contrary to rumor, raw asparagus is fine to eat, and canned or cooked asparagus spears are equally scrumptious. Find some — raw or cooked — at your local grocery store, pack and snack away.
Hey, you might even enjoy pickled asparagus spears — like anything pickled, just watch for high sodium levels.
Note: Asparagus is fantastic for your digestive system, so that’s a major plus if your road trip is a long one.
If you’ve never eaten an artichoke heart, you’ve never experienced the full glory of the veggie.
Although artichokes are healthiest raw, canned artichoke hearts are compact, delectable snacks for road trips. You just need a compostable fork and a mouth. Plus, you get a hefty potassium punch that’ll keep you sharp behind the wheel.
If the protein, carb and fruit road trip snacks don’t quite hit the mark, don’t worry. Sweets don’t have to be the bad guys. There’s nothing wrong with moderate indulgence!
When you need healthy road trip snacks that tickle your sweet tooth, check out these options.
34. Dark Chocolate
Very dark chocolates are good snacks for road trips when you crave candy. You’ve undoubtedly heard that dark chocolate’s full of antioxidants! Look for brands that use less sugar and more cacao to get the most health benefits possible.
Plus, dark chocolate doesn’t melt as quickly as milk chocolate (as if you needed an excuse to buy some).
35. Fruit Bars
Whole-fruit bars are filling and healthy road trip snacks! We’re thinking particularly of fig fruit bars (figs are high in fiber and vitamins). But you can find and make all manner of fruit varieties, like strawberry and blueberry.
If you want to boost nutrition, look for brands with whole-grain options (like oats) around the fruit filling.
Fun fact: Figs aren’t strictly fruits — they’re inflorescences, or inverted flowers. That blew our minds, too.
36. Graham Crackers
They’re a go-to portable sweet for kids! Graham crackers taste a lot like cookies while being low-fat and fairly low-calorie. Grab a couple of squares, add peanut butter for protein and enjoy good snacks for road trips.
37. Whole-Grain Cookies
Packing healthy road trip snacks can be simple, even in the sweets department. Find a cookie you like, and then check whether the brand offers a whole-grain version. The nutritional difference isn’t huge, but it’s an upgrade!
38. Peanut Butter Bars
This one takes some pre-trip kitchen wizardry, but the results are so worth it. With five ingredients and little prep time, a recipe like this one from The Real Food Dietitians delivers chocolatey, peanut-buttery goodness with a nutritious punch.
You don’t have to tell the kids (or yourself) that those sweets aren’t store-bought.
39. Coconut Bites
Coconut already carries health benefits, so using it as good snacks for road trips makes sense! If you’re not down with eating unsweetened coconut squares or flakes straight from the bag, use them to make energy-boosting coconut bites.
And if that’s too much hassle, your local grocery or health food store should have nutritious prepackaged coconut bites.
We’re in the home stretch (and seriously — get out of the car and stretch your legs when you can). On that note, you have to wash down healthy road trip snacks with something. Just make sure that something isn’t sugary soda after sugary soda.
Yep — that’s it. It’s your best and healthiest option, and it’s everywhere. You can prefill a gallon or two at home to save money or stock up on bottles at the grocery store.
Literally every part of your body will thank you.
One of the beautiful things about smoothies is that you can get creative! For smoothies to accompany the best healthy road trip snacks, make sealed cups before loading the car. Of course, keep them chilled to prevent spoilage!
Tip: Another awesome thing about smoothies is how many road trip snacks you can use as ingredients (think milk alternatives, fruits and veggies). Just check out this list from Good Housekeeping.
42. Sugar-Free or Low-Sugar Tea
Green, yellow, black, white, oolong, herbal, floral — teas are practically magical. There are so many types with unique health benefits, so drinking it while traveling is just logical (and refreshing). Of course, you might skip chamomile unless you’re a passenger and want to doze.
If you have to hit the gas station shelves, avoid the high-sugar types and select unsweetened or low-sugar teas. You can always count on black teas like Earl Grey to perk up on the road.
43. Almond, Cashew, Soy or Oat Milk
When you need to dip your whole-grain cookie in something, we’ll err on the safe side and recommend a milk alternative. If you bring your own, keep it in the cooler. Luckily, non-dairy milks are common enough that you can usually find them on the go.
And for the skeptics, they actually taste really good. Fortified varieties even offer the same (or higher) amount of calcium as cow’s milk.
Note: If you have a child, speak with their doctor before giving them milk alternatives. Some children may have allergies or need the nutrients specifically in cow’s milk.
44. Flavored Sugar-Free Soda
Sometimes you just want a soda — period. When you do, try sparkling water in a rainbow of amazing flavors.
If that doesn’t hit the spot, avoid sodas with aspartame as an artificial sweetener. Look for brands with raw honey or monkfruit as their sugar alternative.
We’re still big fans of old-fashioned water, but we get it … we really do.
45. Low-Sugar Juice
The kids definitely love juice. Pack low-sugar or no-sugar-added juice boxes for a quick fix.
To get the healthiest non-water beverage to pair with road trip snacks, bring fresh-squeezed juice! You’ll love it, too — just tote refillable cups, and watch for potholes while pouring.
Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not giving juice to children younger than 12 months.
Explore the Jerky Universe
In the Jerky Universe, we want you to travel safely and live joyfully. Now buckle up, hit the road and avoid feeling wiped out with these healthy road trip snacks!
Remember: The best snacks for a road trip are those that fit your lifestyle, budget and tastes. You’ve got lots of wiggle room in this cosmos. Do you have something to say about jerky and road trip snacks? Drop us a line!