Road trip snacks are more than just a way to pass time or get more enjoyment out of your trip. They can also help keep you safe on the road.
If you try to drive too many long hours with no calories in your system, you can get light-headed or cranky, which will affect the way you drive. But if you replenish your system with nutrients at regular intervals, you can stay alert and energized throughout your journey.
So, which road trip snacks are best? We've broken down your top choices into categories:
Stock the car with some road trip snacks that won't spoil. The list should include:
Nuts and seeds. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds (no shell)....whatever you like. They're full of some of the healthiest kinds of fats, and the protein will help keep you clear-headed.
Dried fruits. Don't forget dates and figs, which are both high in fiber to help keep you from getting "backed up" during a long trip.
Popcorn. An old standby. Consider carrying some bags of
microwave popcorn with you and popping them in your hotel before setting
out for the day. Of course, your whole car will then reek of butter,
but maybe that's not a bad thing.
Sea palm. Threw this in just to see if you're paying attention, but this sea vegetable is highly nutritious and gives you a break from standard road trip fare.
Use these snacks with caution. If you're driving from El Paso to Phoenix with no air conditioning in July, these snacks may be unappetizing by the end of your trip. But otherwise, they're pretty safe car food:
Apples. The classic hand fruit, and you can probably just toss the core out the window when you're done because it's biodegradable.
Citrus fruits. But please don't try to peel them while at the wheel.
Kiwi fruit. Small, tart, and tasty, but you'll want to peel off the brown, fuzzy skin ahead of time.
Celery and peanut butter. Prepare a few stalks ahead of time.
Carrot sticks. These are handy even if you're the one driving. Worst case scenario, you drop one into your lap while going around a bend. Won't even leave a mark.
These definitely belong in an ice chest, but they're worth the effort:
Hummus. Perfect for dipping the carrot sticks we mentioned earlier (or other fresh vegetables, or crackers).
Cheese sticks. These are fun to eat and supply you with
much-needed protein. But you avoid having to bring a whole block of
cheese, slice it up, and then get stuck with lots of leftover.
Yogurt. Pack a few individual yogurt cups, but don't forget the plastic spoons.
Kefir. Whaaa? Many people don't know that kefir (KEE-fur) is a drinkable yogurt-like food. It comes in flavors such as blueberry and strawberry, and it re-populates your intestines with friendly bacteria. (Too much information?)
Stay hydrated out there. Bottled water is easy to find not only in mini-marts, but also in many fast-food joints. Ditto coffee, though too much coffee will dehydrate you (it's a diuretic). Change things up a little by carrying your own tea bags with you and using boiling water dispensers at hotels, restaurants, or mini-marts to fill your travel mug.
And that's your basic run-down on road trip snacks. We hope this will tide you over at least until Bakersfield.