When heading out on a road trip, stopping for snacks and meals can be a convenient way to keep the hunger at bay. But it can also get expensive. Taking the time to pack your own snacks will:
- Cut costs
- Reduce the number of stops
- Give you more control over what you’re eating
To help you get started, here are 9 amazing options including the classics, healthy alternatives and creative road trip snack kits.
Classic Road Trip Snacks
While it’s fun to come up with new and creative road trip snacks, we don’t just want to toss the classics out the door. These oldies but goodies are great options when on the go and there are easy ways to make them even better than you remember.
1. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a classic snack for almost any outing. It’s packed full of delicious flavours and meets all of your snacking needs … salty, sweet, tangy, even spicy.
But instead of heading to the local grocery store and grabbing a premade trail mix, make your own from scratch. This is a great way to level up a classic road snack and it only takes a few minutes to throw everything into a bag and shake it up. Mixing your own is also an excellent way to address any allergies or intolerance.
Here’s some inspirations for your trail mix shopping list:
- Nuts – go for classics like cashews and peanuts but also throw in some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and even hazelnuts.
- Dried fruit – grab a variety of textures and flavours like crunchy banana chips, tangy kiwi and chewy apple slices.
- Chocolate – mix up the chocolates and grab some white, milk, dark and butterscotch chips. You can also grab a pack of your favourite bite sized chocolate snack and toss that in. For an energy boost on long drives, you can even add chocolate covered coffee beans.
- Sweet – for those with a big sweet tooth, you can add marshmallows.
- Crunchy – add different cereals, puffed grains or popcorn to add some crunch to your mix. You can even include some hardy chips or dried veggies that won’t crumble too quickly. Think sweet potato and beet chips or dried peas and green beans.
- Spicy – if you’re a fan of spice, you can add spicy nuts, wasabi peas or even grab a premade spice mix and add it to your custom creation.
2. Granola Bars
Granola bars are great snacks for keeping you full and energized between road trip stops. For an easy option, you can head to the store and grab a few different types of boxed granola bars. Try to keep it interesting by bradding a combination of soft, crunchy and granola based options.
If you are looking for something more customized, that may even save you some cash, try making your own.
For a classic soft and chewy, mix:
- 1 cup creamy nut butter
- ⅔ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp salt
Once mixed, add in the following ingredients and mix until everything combines.
- 2 ½ cups of old fashioned rolled oats
- ⅓ cup of additions such as dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc.
- 3 tbsps of crushed nuts
Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. Press your granola mix into the pan and chill in the fridge for 1+ hours. Slice into bars and pack them up.
Chips are another classic road trip snack, especially if you love savoury flavours. If this is your go to, plan ahead to save money. It’s a lot cheaper to grab a mixed pack of chips for your road trip than to stop and buy individual bags along the way.
If you’re the type who’s never sure what kind of chip you want, buy a variety of flavours and put a little bit of each into reusable ziplocs or containers. That way you can enjoy a combo of flavours every time to feel snacky.
Regular salted potato chips are also a helpful hack for preventing motion sickness. That’s because they’re bland, generally easy to digest and require little effort from your gastrointestinal system. They also help replenish sodium that is lost from vomiting and the starch in them can help settle your stomach.
If you’re feeling creative or have a rider with dietary restrictions, you can make your own veggie chips at home. All you have to do is slice vegetables thinly with a mandoline and toss them with salt. Place the veggies on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400°F, flipping once. Remove once crispy and slightly brown.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks
Trying to eat healthy on a road trip can be difficult. Especially if you’re planning to stop and eat meals at restaurants along the way. The good news is there are lots of healthy options you can bring with you.
So far we’ve talked about trail mix, granola bars and chips. All these have great healthy alternatives, especially when you make them yourself.
But there are lots of other creative and healthy snacks you may want to consider. Here are three:
Beef jerky is an excellent road trip food because it is full of protein, which is perfect for satisfying hunger. It’s also a low mess snack which means there will be less cleanup post road trip.
If you plan on enjoying some jerky on your road trip, avoid the gas station kind. These jerkies are full of salt and other additives that won’t help you meet your health goals. Or your financial ones for that matter!
Instead, look for organic, grass fed jerky from a natural food store or make your own.
There are lots of great recipes online but a basic jerky recipe will consist of the following:
- Slice raw meat ⅛ to ¼ inch thick.
- Marinate the meat for 12 hours, tossing regularly. Brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and spices work well as a marinade.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and then place wire racks on each pan.
- Put a single layer of meat on the wire racks and bake at 175F until dried out (3 to 4 hours). Rotate pans partway through for even dehydrating.
- Properly made jerky should keep for a week at room temperature.
Popcorn is an excellent road trip snack. It is high in fibre and is a healthy complex carb. This makes it a good food for providing energy and keeping you regular … both of which are necessary on a road trip.
Avoid microwave popcorn. Even though you can make them at home in advance, they are full of additives and don’t hold up well over time. Instead, look for a natural product with three simple ingredients – corn, salt and oil.
You can also make healthy popcorn at home by popping kernels in oil over the stove. Be sure to put a lid over the pot while the kernels are popping, but leave it open a bit to prevent the popcorn from burning.
Once it has popped you can add salt and pack it up. For more variety and interest, you can also add different spice blends to make your popcorn savoury, spicy or sweet.
Muffins make great snacks when going on a road trip. They are easy to pack up, do well without refrigeration and can be made to suit any taste or preference.
Like many of the other snacks we’ve talked about, you can buy muffins premade but they’re usually cheaper and healthier to make yourself. You also have more control over the ingredients in case you need to address dietary issues, such as gluten or egg free. And you can make small batches so you have a variety of flavours.
Savoury options can include:
- Cheddar and chive
- Spinach and feta
- Bacon and broccoli
If you want a sweeter muffin, try:
- Any type of fruit
- Chocolate chip
Road Trip Snack Kits
If you’re looking for entirely new road trip snack ideas to elevate your trip and impress your friends, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 3 less expected, but delicious road trip snacks:
1. Charcuterie Platter
Everyone loves a good charcuterie platter at a house party. But did you know that they can also be a great choice for on the go.
A basic charcuterie board has cured meats, crackers and cheeses.
There are many cured meats that do not require refrigeration. While you should always check labels for storage instructions, some good options may be:
- Summer sausage
- Pepperoni or turkey pepperettes
- Dry-cured salami like genoa, napoli or sopressata
For cheeses, look for hard cheeses. While they last longer refrigerated, they do not require it. Parmesan, gouda and well aged (2+ years) cheddar are a good place to start. If you are going to be travelling for more than 8 hours without fridge/cooler access, you may want to avoid cheese.
If you have a cooler where you can keep your personal charcuterie platter, you can also include other cheeses and spreads. For an added treat, pair your charcuterie with individual veggies and dip packed in mason jars.
You can also add nuts, dried fruit or jellies for more variety.
2. Snackle Box
Snackle boxes are an excellent option when you are travelling with people who have different tastes and dietary restrictions.
To make a snackle box you will need a container with lots of sections or movable dividers. You then put different snacks in each section. This is a great way to stop food from mixing into one another and lets you pack more delicate treats without them being crushed. It’s also a good way to control how much of each snack each person gets, which is helpful when travelling with kids.
The food you put in each compartment will depend on how long the food will go without refrigeration. You can create an entire snackle box from foods that don’t need refrigeration. This include:
- Dried fruit
- Cured meat
If you have access to a cooler or fridge, you can also include dips, cheese, non cured meats and more.
3. Homemade Lunchables
Homemade lunchables are a great option if you don’t want to stop for every meal or are just looking for a hardy, healthy snack along the way.
For a basic lunch kit, you’ll want a complex carb that’s full of fibre, a protein and some fruits and veggies with dip. You can adjust this combination based on everyone’s dietary needs and preferences.
If you’re bringing a cooler, building lunch boxes is easy. You can add items like fresh veggies and fruit, eggs, cheese, meat and more. But if you want to eliminate the extra bulk and maintenance of a cooler, packing snacks gets a bit harder.
The good news is, there are still some great options:
Protein: Nuts and nut butters (great for dipping), jerky, mini cans of tuna
Carb: Pita chips, popcorn, whole grain crackers, rice cakes, homemade muffins
Fruits and Veggies: Fruit cups in juice or water or dried fruit and veggies are best for long trips. But grape tomatoes, grapes, orange slices, carrots, avocado and mini peppers generally hold up well without refrigeration. So do most tropical fruits.
The great thing about all these snacks is that they are completely customizable. Everyone can enjoy their favourite treats without worrying about where the next stop will be.
So what are you waiting for? Pack up your snacks, hop in the car and start exploring!