For Healthy Road Trip Snacks, Think Outside the Box

kopali chocolate covered dried bananaI have a friend who used to chant "TREATS! TREATS ALL THE WAY!" every time we took a road trip together. Road trips were a golden ticket to the land of packaged junk food: steering-wheel-greasing potato chips, crumb-making cookies, and a never-ending rainbow of candy. 

And then we got older and started having babies and our metabolisms kindly informed us that the road trip smorgasbord must end. I still feel snacky when it comes to road trips, though, and sometimes it's miles and miles before you find a non-fast-food sandwich shop. So I've been compiling a list of my favorite fun but semi-healthy, travel-friendly nosh.


1. Fruit. Duh, you knew I was going to list that. Right now, peaches are in season so we're very carefully packing their juicy deliciousness with plenty of napkins. Also tasty is chopped-up watermelon. In the fall we'll switch to apples.

2. Mini mozzarella balls. They're bite-sized, hit my salt craving, and are loaded with calcium. I especially like the ones that come marinated in herbs.

3. Cherry or grape tomatoes. Know what would taste perfect with those mini mozzarella balls? Itty bitty tomatoes. Pack them with some basil leaves and you've got yourself a car-ready caprese salad.

4. Nuts. Depending on my mood, I'll pack roasted peanuts or candied pecans or my latest obsession, snappy Marcona almonds. Nuts can be expensive, but the cost goes way down when you buy them from the bulk foods aisle.

5. Sugar snap peas. Speaking of snappy, if it's spring, you can load up on fresh sugar snap peas. They're a refreshing change from baby carrots, which also make a good car snack.

6. Edamame. Boil and salt a bunch ahead of time -- and be sure to pack an extra bag for the skins.

7. Kopali Chocolate Covered Bananas. Okay, these are still kind of high in sugar and, yeah, fresh or just plain dried bananas would be healthier. But we're crazy about these, plus they're organic and fair trade, so we feel good about eating them -- in moderation, of course. Their dried mango is also good.

8. Beef jerky. Oh yeah, it's not just for truckers anymore. There's a new crop of jerky-makers using grass-fed beef and quality seasonings, like SlantShack Jerky.

9. Clif Mojo Bars. Salty, crunchy, a little bit sweet, and low glycemic -- but is it real food? Um, sort of, maybe? They're stealthy hunger slayers, though, that's for sure.

10. Drinkable yogurt. Like cheese, yogurt is another belly-filling source of protein. Lots of yogurt makers bottle their own in travel-friendly sizes. My current favorite is from Maple Hill Creamery. Also travel-friendly are squeezers -- freeze them the night before.

What are your go-to road trip snacks?

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