I love a good road trip! My podcast co-host Tim’s family travels well over 50,000 miles per year on the road. One of the most important questions to answer before you embark on a road trip: What are the best Dad snacks for your next road trip? We also put a lot of consideration into what snacks we bring along versus snacks that can be grabbed along the way. Is it healthy? — yes, we do try to think about that with road trip snacks. Will it satisfy our cravings? Is it easy to bring on the road — packable, non-perishable, etc.?
After much consideration and contemplation on past road trips, we feel like we’ve found the best snacks for your next road trip.
We thought this topic was so important that it deserved a podcast too. If you’d like to check that out, give it a listen below.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks
Fruit is a staple on our road trips. Available at many gas stations, it’s a go-to healthy snack that my family relies on. My personal favorite is Sumo mandarin oranges, but those are seasonal. I like grapes as well. When you’re driving, having something “pop-able” like grapes is really nice, especially if you’re the one driving. So, fruit is good. I also like freeze-dried fruit, especially bananas. Not dried bananas or banana chips, which often have added sugar but market themselves as a healthy snack. Instead, I like the freeze-dried type. I’ll pop a few slices in and let them melt in my mouth. Very satisfying and healthy! Though I’ll stress that health isn’t always the goal of travel snacks. Sometimes, it’s whatever gets you through the trip. I do try to avoid fast food whenever possible, as it ends up feeling heavy in my stomach and makes me sleepy.
Boiled Peanuts: Crack ‘em like a Sunflower Seed
Some of you may not have heard of, or tried, boiled peanuts. They’re a mainstay of the Southern US. Generally, you can get them plain or Cajun. Tim prefers Cajun — a little extra spice makes them just so delectable! They’re especially good after a day of fishing or a visit to the beach. Must be something about the salt water followed up by a salty snack. Most convenience stores in the South have boiled peanuts simmering away in crock pots. Tim’s family almost always grab a large cup of them any time they stop at a gas station on a road trip. Be careful, though, they can be messy. Tim likes to toss one in his mouth and crack it open like a sunflower seed to keep all the tasty juices in his mouth and not on his shirt.
Protein Bars: An Essential Road Trip Snack
Protein Bars, or energy bars, are great for satisfying that road trip hunger. Clif Bars make some of my favorites, especially the peanut butter flavored ones. With all energy bars, you want to be cautious of the sugar content. To make the ingredients not taste like sand, manufacturers will often add a lot of sugar to them. I’ve found plenty though that are reasonable in that department, as well as being tasty and satisfying. There are a LOT of flavors of different snack bars, granola bars, etc… out there for everyone’s tastes, many featuring whole grains, and dark chocolate that can really fill up your stomach for hours, and are healthier than a bag of trail mix, frequently filled with sugary M&Ms. Although they used to be hard to find, most grocery stores carry a great selection these days. The best thing about them is their ability to withstand extreme temperatures, for the most part.
The old classic — beef jerky. This has been a road trip snack since beef was a main part of our diet, I think. Tim actually prefers the beef “sausages” like Slim Jim and Duke’s. Duke’s, especially, is still pretty healthy for you and they don’t use a lot of preservatives and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Jerky is good for quick snack to tide you over until your next meal, but I haven’t found it to be particularly filling as a meal replacement. Still, there’s nothing quite like a good beef jerky. Also, be sure to give other meats a try. You can usually find elk jerky, turkey jerky, and bison jerky at many convenience stores.
But, but…what if I have a sweet tooth?!
Remember what I was saying about healthy? Well, this isn’t one of those road trip snacks. Unfortunately, my favorite – ice cream – isn’t really an option unless you pick it up from someplace along the trip. I do have an alternative and it does satisfy many a sweet-tooth craving, however. COOKIES!!! Cookies are a perfect road trip snack. They are an easy pack into the car because they don’t require refrigeration. They’re often bite size, which facilitates eating while driving. Best of all, the whole family can share a package! My current favorite is the Thin Oreos. It makes me feel like I get to eat more cookies because they are thinner. I also love a good chocolate chip cookie. Tim loves Chewy Chips Ahoy and those usually do the trick for him.
It’s Milk…for your Muscles
Recently, I’ve found that Muscle Milk is a great road trip snack. It’s high in protein, so it satisfies your cravings, but is also pretty low in sugar while being great tasting, too. I personally like the banana flavor, but you may be a vanilla or chocolate fan. There are a couple other brands out there, but most of the other ones use dairy as a base, so if you’re not a fan of dairy based drinks, Muscle Milk may be the only one for you, since it’s technically non-dairy (does have some dairy protein, I believe). It also doesn’t have to be refrigerated or kept in a cooler until you open it.
These are our thoughts on the best road trip snacks. A couple “honorable mentions” would include Gardetto’s Snack Mix, pretzels, and potato chips. What would you add to or change about our list?