4 road-trip snacks that are healthier than gas station eats

Published on May 10 2010 - 4:50 PM
4 road-trip snacks that are healthier than gas station eats

Summer is just around the corner and that means that our weekends for the next few months are filling up with lots of road trips. My mother-in-law lives on Cape Cod, so we always plan a trip or two there to get in some beach time, and we’re finally going up to Acadia National Park in Maine for a weekend camping trip with friends. But the night before my husband, Dan, and I jump in the car, there’s one thing we always do: make some quick snacks.

While it’s super-convenient to grab a bite to eat at the gas station when we stop for a fill-up, we hate filling up (and wasting money!) on the mostly unhealthy options that stock the convenience-store shelves. As a food editor at EatingWell, I’ve learned that making a healthy snack doesn’t have to take a lot of time. And even though it’s easier to grab something premade, these homemade snacks taste better and are more satisfying. Here are a few of our go-to road-trip snacks.

Instead of buying a candy bar, pack Chocolate-Dipped Gingersnaps. Dan always wants chocolate when we’re on the road, so I make these chocolate-covered cookies for him. For just 157 calories, he can have 2 cookies, which is usually enough to satisfy his craving. Click here for 11 more instant chocolate treats to savor.

Instead of buying a bag of chips, pack Chile-Lime Tortilla Chips. Unlike Dan, I crave salty treats, so I like to have some baked tortilla chips on hand. These are first brushed with lime juice and sprinkled with chile powder, so they’re super-flavorful. (No time to make them? Grab a bag of one of our favorite baked tortilla chips from our taste test.)

Instead of buying a slushie, pack a smoothie. When it’s hot out, we both crave cold drinks. And those slushie machines that so many convenience stores have scream refreshment. But they’re loaded with sugar and empty calories. Instead we whip up a fruit smoothie (with vitamin C!), pour it into a thermos and stash it in our cooler. Find 15+ fast, easy smoothie recipes, like Citrus Berry Smoothie, Hawaiian Smoothie and more.

Instead of buying a granola bar, pack Peanut Energy Bars. Granola bars have that “health-food halo”—they sound healthy, but some of them aren’t much more than a glorified candy bar. These tasty bars are full of nuts, seeds, fruit and oats, making them a satisfying snack. (Here are 5 more healthy-sounding foods—which you might encounter on the road—that aren’t really healthy.)

Healthy gas station eats: Don’t have time to pack anything? Many convenience stores are stocking healthier options. Look for dried or fresh fruit and nuts, or head to the refrigerated case for string cheese or single servings of yogurt.



Carolyn Malcoun combines her love of food and writing as a recipe contributor for EatingWell. Carolyn has a culinary arts degree from New England Culinary Institute and a degree in journalism from University of Wisconsin—Madison. Carolyn lives in Burlington, Vermont, and enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking and running in her free time.