Summer is a busy time for most, and especially for families. With all of the travel and activities, it might feel like you’re constantly on the road! This can make it tough to plan healthy meals and snacks, as convenience foods and quick service restaurants can be lacking in the nutrition department. Sometimes, just a little bit of education and preparation can be the difference between feeling groggy and sluggish to feeling energetic and ready to tackle the day!
What to look for
I teach all of my clients using a macronutrient based framework. Not sure what this means? I’ll explain a bit, but feel free to read more here and here. Basically, we want to do our best to include all three macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) in each meal. I also like to add color (fruits and vegetables) as a fourth category, because the fiber we get from those foods helps to balance our blood sugar!
When it comes to snacks, the key is to include at least two of the four categories: protein, carbs, fat and color (or PCFC for short!) in order to keep hunger at bay and energy even keeled. I find that a big mistake most people make is choosing a carb or fat heavy snack with little to no protein or fiber included. If this sounds like you, keep scrolling for my top quick and easy road trip snacks that will keep the whole family happy and satisfied!
An ideal scenario: bring a cooler
Let’s be honest: the most well rounded options are not going to be those that come from a box or bag. They are going to be more of the single ingredient foods that may require some planning and preparation! These foods are also often ones that need refrigeration, so I’d highly invest in a travel cooler like this or this. Below are some of my favorite macro balanced road trip options:
- Greek yogurt
- Cheese and crackers (I like Simple Mills)
- Veggies and hummus or guacamole
- Cut up fruit like berries, peaches, or mango (a yummy add to the greek yogurt)
- Whole fruit like apples, bananas, or pears eaten with cheese or a nut butter packet
- Hard boiled eggs
- Mozzarella cheese sticks
- Oatmeal cups or homemade overnight oats
- Lunchmeat and cheese roll ups (I like to roll mine around pepper or avocado)
- Wraps or sandwiches (yes, you can eat bread)
Tip: prep sliced fruit and vegetables in grab and go baggies (love stasher bags for this) or tupperware so that they can be eaten on the go.
Grab and Go Options
These are some healthier grab and go options- as a reminder we are looking for at least two of the PCFC categories here. As a bonus, many of these are easy to eat one handed, so great options for the driver!
- Protein Bars: I like Barebells, Built Bars, Lara Protein Bars or RX Kids bars
- Good quality jerky like Chomps or Epic Bar
- Rice cakes paired with nut butter (other options if you have a cooler are yogurt and jam or lunchmeat and cheese)
- Protein Power Balls or Enjoy Life protein bites
- Homemade trail mix: Popcorn and freeze dried fruit for a sweet option or mixed with Biena Chickpeas or Trader Joe’s bamba peanut snacks for a savory option. I like Boom Chicka Pop brand popcorn.
- Applesauce or Mama Chia squeezes paired with protein source like the bars or a cheese stick
- Fruit strips (love these from target), though I would combine with another food because they are low calorie
Tip: look for fruit that is “freeze dried” not just “dried” as dried fruit will be higher sugar/calories for a very small serving vs. the freeze dried option