by | May 23, 2014 | 37 comments

Now that you’re all set up with your 7 tips to fit movement into long road trips, you’ve gotta eat, right?  Long car trips can be an “excuse” to overload on fast food, unhealthy snack food, and sugar-laden coffee drinks or sodas.  We munch so we can stay awake, out of boredom, or just because we “can.”

The very best way to stay healthy while traveling is just to be prepared!  You should have seen the two huge bags of food that I packed for my trip – it was far more than I truly needed, but I always like having options.  If I pack celery sticks to munch on but just don’t feel like celery sticks at the time, then I wind up with whatever the nearest convenience store carries.  And if your convenience store looks like this one (one of the stops on my trip), it probably won’t carry the healthiest options!  jolly travel center

So instead, I am sure to pack a variety of snacks.  Here are 7 Healthy Snacks for Long Road Trips … and if you need more, check out my previous post with 7 Healthy Travel Snacks!

7 healthy snacks for long road trips from the lyons share

7 Healthy Snacks for Long Road Trips

  1. Fresh veggie sticks and fruit.  The ultimate road trip snack, in my opinion, because you can crunch on and on without worrying.  I packed sliced cucumbers, red peppers, and tons of jicama, plus a bag full of carrot sticks, and pre-washed apples and plums.  Bonus – I had extras, which made for great snacks while I was on my own in Keystone! veggies
  2. Protein smoothies.  Smoothies are great ways to pack in protein, flavor, hydration, and maybe even some veggies.  I almost always start my road trips with a super-frozen smoothie, so I can sip on it as it defrosts and feel like I have a long-lasting snack.  My smoothie had clean protein powder (I like Vega One, NuMedica Vegan, and Tera’s Whey!), greens from my garden, cucumber, strawberries, 1/2 a banana, some nut milk, and ice.  If you need more smoothie recipes, try this one or this one!smoothieI also packed this Svelte shake for the second day (it’s really hard to find pre-made smoothies with no whey, casein, almond, coconut, rice, or other things I’m avoiding due to food intolerances, so I was thrilled to find this one!).  It tasted delicious and is flavored by stevia, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, has 5g fiber, 11g protein, and only 6g sugar.  I always prefer to make my own to cram in real foods, but for a packaged option, I was pretty impressed by this one!  (I also like CocoLibre shakes and Orgain shakes, if you’re looking for more!)svelte shake
  3. Nuts. I am all about healthy fats (almost everyone could use more!), but nuts are one thing that can add up, so you want to be somewhat careful here.  I’m pretty sure I could eat 10 servings of cashews without thinking, and even healthy things should be consumed in moderation, so be sure you’re moderating your intake.  That said, nuts are a great option for a satiating snack!  I packed pumpkin seeds, cashews, and trail mix (note that even though this says “healthy,” it could be a lot better, since the cranberries are sweetened! But again, it’s tough to find trail mixes without almonds!) snacks 2
  4. Dry roasted edamame This has been one of my favorite snacks recently – I love the crunch and healthy protein from dry roasted edamame!  I had the wasabi version (in a 200-calorie pack), and also brought along the lightly salted kind.edamame
  5. Jerky.  While I don’t actually love the flavor of jerky, it’s a great way to get in some lean protein in a shelf-stable, easy-to-carry package.  The Turkey Jerky that I have here was pretty good and has great nutritional stats, although I would personally prefer organic meats.  One of my favorite podcast hosts, Ben Greenfield, always recommends the jerky from US Wellness Meats, and I also like Tanka bars, which are hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and 100% natural.  snacks 1You can also see my “Boom Chicka Pop” in this picture, which isn’t one of my top 7, but was good for a munchy snack.  Its only ingredients are popcorn, sunflower oil, and sea salt, so it’s a cleaner option than many out there.
  6. Kombucha. Kombucha is packed with healthy probiotics that help heal your gut and have multiple other health benefits, plus it has a uniquely addictive taste (most people, including me, don’t like it on their first try, so keep at it!).  Yes, it has some sugar, but I’m OK with some sugar when it comes with these health benefits.  Check out Lindsay‘s guest post on the benefits of kombucha here – I want to try brewing my own one of these days! kombucha
  7. Water.  Of course, we weren’t going to get through an entire health tips post without talking about water!  You know how important it is, so drink up!  Plus, it’s a great way to ensure you get more movement in your travel day!  I recommend reusable bottles, of course, but once I went through my first two, I had to switch over to plastic. water

Here’s a bonus tip!  For meals, always look for a way to fit in veggies!  Sometimes, I just snack through meals, using the healthy snacks I have planned, but when you stop for a meal, just do the best you can!  I stopped at a grocery store for this salad, which was a whole lot better than fast food, and I packed some leftover roasted veggies with a packet of tuna for my dinner when I arrived at the hotel late on Sunday night.  (I hate wasting food, so I always roast up any veggies I have and pack them up when I’m leaving!) salad on the road dinner on the road

Once I got to my hotel in Keystone, I made a quick trip to the grocery store to load up on veggies and other healthy items, so I’d be prepared for all of my meals while I was there.  It saved me a ton of money, ensured I would have food I was excited about, and was lots of fun!  If your room doesn’t already have a mini-fridge, just ask, like I did!

refrigerator at hotel

I also loaded up on the water … the hotel staff refilled this nice glass bottle with delicious, fresh spring water every day, plus I crushed a one gallon, and over half of a 2.5-gallon jug in 2.5 days!

water at hotel

So tell me in the comments … What is your favorite road trip snack?  Which of the ones I mentioned are your favorite?


  1. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    Love these! I do all of the above, plus meat. Anything that doesn’t need to be heated. Have cooler, will travel. 🙂

    I also like to freeze Greek yogurt for a snack – freezing it keeps it cold and it acts as an ice pack for other food. If you’re flying, freezing it also means it’s a solid and will make it through secruity.

    • Megan Lyons

      Haha … have cooler, will travel. Love it! The guys at the check-in for my hotel in Keystone thought I was ludicrous with all of my food bags, but hey – I had delicious food the entire time! Yes – you taught me the Greek yogurt trick and I was shocked when it went through security. Mmmm … I miss yogurt!!! Dairy + coconut + almonds = not good to eliminate for food intolerances all at once!!!

      • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

        All 3 at once?! Are you crazy? LOL!

        I’m back on the wagon after my trip. I did NOT do well with staying on track… but it was so delicious!

        • Megan Lyons

          Yeah … I was my first client so I hadn’t realized the common things that should be grouped together when I developed my own plan :). No worries on falling off the wagon. If you need some motivation to restart and want to set up a quick chat, let me know!!! Happy to kick your butt back into gear!

  2. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    Nuts are my favorite road trip snack! But like you said they can add up quickly so I put an appropriate amount in a ziplock back rather than eating out of a container. I also usually bring some larabars or triscuits. I always find it difficult to find something I like to eat at rest stops, so sometimes I even pack a sandwich to eat on the road!

    • Megan Lyons

      A sandwich is a great idea, too, Lisa! I definitely do that sometimes! The ziploc bag is a great idea – I should do that next time!

  3. Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit

    These are all great ideas! What is that VitaMix cup? I have the huge blender and it’s such a beast – do they make a smaller, removable cup one!?

    • Megan Lyons

      I wish this was a removable cup on the Vitamix, Lauren! Two of these little water bottle things came in the package with my Vitamix. They don’t actually fit onto the blender but I pour my smoothies in there :).

  4. Meg

    I love these ideas! I’d love to put in a vote for cheese, though. I usually bring a small chunk of it because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and I love it on crackers. NOM

    • Megan Lyons

      That’s an awesome idea, Meg! I’m currently avoiding dairy due to my food intolerances, so cheese is a no-go for me, but it’s a great idea for a road trip snack!

  5. Becky@TheSavedRunner

    I always bring fruits, veggies, and nuts on road trips, and I also like to bring a few Lara bars or KIND bars

    • Megan Lyons

      Those are awesome choices, Becky! unfortunately, avoiding almonds and coconut (temporarily, for my food intolerances) makes KIND and Lara bars really hard! I haven’t found any KIND bars that work, and only the Cashew Cookie Larabar works. It’s delicious though!

  6. Michael Anderson

    Great list and so important to plan ahead, as you say it is easy to be hungry and only have lousy options! I got spoiled by the Mass Pike rest areas and now that we are in NY have fewer (and worse) choices!

    I also love trail mix, but the key is always to make your own, or be very careful with what you buy – like jerky, it is one of those potential ‘danger foods’ that can be trouble!

    Love edamame as well – a recent discovery for me.

    My biggest one is fruit, well, and water. I like whole fruits like pears and apples, because they are substantive and take a while to eat, so you avoid ‘mindless munching’ like you can do with nuts or other small snacks.

    Hope you’re having a great time!

    • Megan Lyons

      Yep, you’re right, Michael! So true on the trail mix – the sweetened fruit is killer! This is literally the only trail mix I have ever seen without coconut or almonds, besides the Enjoy Life brand which I have ordered online (also a bit higher in sugar). I don’t know why I don’t make my own trail mix – that would be smart! And yes, I ate my fair share of apples on the road – yum!

      • Michael Anderson

        True confession – ‘tropical trail mix’ I get at Sam’s Club is a guilty pleasure of mine! I know how bad it is so it lasts for a few weeks or so (just finished a bag from mid-April). But hey – we all have to allow ourselves a little vice, right? 🙂

  7. Emily

    Great options! My favorites are KIND bars, carrots and grapes.

  8. Arman @ thebigmansworld

    No joke- when I drove up to Sydney I had the same edamame and of course, the jerky too! The worst was getting through the edamame and finding a really wasabi infused one…not the best.

    The pitstops along the way tend to only be fast food options or gas stations where it’s soft drinks and maybe a newspaper. Canned tuna or salmon have been lifesavers for me, even pairing it with a sandwich bought along the way!

    • Megan Lyons

      I considered it a caffeine substitute to make sure I was awake … those super-powered-wasabi ones are brutal!!!! And yes on the canned tuna/ salmon. I brought 8 packets with me :).

  9. Aubrey

    Wow, these are great ideas for people who are committed to eating healthy foods and/or have food intolerances. Pinning it now. (Stopping in from the SITS Girls link-up.)

  10. Rachel G

    It would be really good for me if I could learn to like nuts! So far, I just don’t like any I’ve tried–but if I’m starving, they’ll work! Fresh fruit and veggies I can do, but I have to remember to eat that protein!

    • Megan Lyons

      Have you tried the dry roasted edamame, Rachel? They have some whole foods protein and are “snackable” like nuts but don’t taste nutty!

  11. Carmy

    I usually just carry around nuts/water with me because I don’t the fruits/veggies going bad + I like having my shakes + veggies cold. Everything gets warm in long car rides ):

    • Megan Lyons

      I hear you, Carmy! I usually bring an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack in it. It didn’t stay frozen for all 15 hours, but it kept for a while!

  12. lindsay

    totally agree with all these! we use turkey jerky a lot and pop chips! i always crave them on car rides. haha

    • Megan Lyons

      Mmmm yes, pop chips! They’re a no-no for me at the moment with rice flour and dairy. But 3 more weeks and I’ll be back to poppin’ Popchips :).

  13. Alli

    Raodside restaurants are generally overrated. Nothing like finding a great view and eating your tuna sandwiches. If you have some fruit and nuts to snack as well you are in heaven. Thanks for the tips.

  14. Cassie

    Well… Boom Chica Pop is my fave even if it isnt a top 7… and its always all over my car haha.

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Hi! I'm Megan Lyons,

the voice behind The Lyons’ Share. I love all things health, wellness, and fitness-related, and I hope to share some of my passion with you. Thanks for stopping by!
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