Time to hit the road for your unforgettable trip but ... a bag full of unhealthy snacks will probably add to your tiredness, fatigue, and regretted crumbs on your car floor. So, what if you made a few changes?
Now let's get one thing straight:
I'm not even that healthy on a road trip. This whole article was low-key shade at me because it's everything I pack for a two hour trip to the next town over. But, I've learned a lot from my (not entirely useless) degree and made healthy swaps for a much better lifestyle in my car.
I promise I'm not advising you to shift to a vegan, gluten free, dairy free diet for your road trip! BUT, those one or two changes you make can change your mood, your energy levels, and overall experience. One or two swaps from your regular food haul can be a great step towards a longer, healthier life (spent in more road travels!).
1. Slim Jim's vs Organic Beef Jerky
All that are victims of eating Slim Jim's on road trips say I -
All things beef jerky is actually amazing. Great protein kick, amazing taste, and super convenient to eat (unless it's so dry - yikes).
However, Slim Jim's, as delicious and nostalgic as they are, are full of sodium, fat, and only a little nutrition value. That's why I recommend switching over to a more organic choice such as Golden Valley Natural Organic Beef Jerky. This brand uses cattle raised on organic feed and uses no artificial grown hormones, preservatives, or antibiotics. This jerky is also high in protein, but low in fat, and great nutritional value!
Fun fact: During my research of Slim Jim's, one top hit on Google Search was "How many Slim Jim's will kill you?" ... I mean the answer was 1,400, so slow down, champ.
2. Chex Mix vs DIY Trail Mix
Have you ever snacked on something, but as you kept eating it, handful after handful, you just couldn't get full?
Sorry to let you in on this, but that's because those foods are high in calories, but have no nutritional value to fill you up. Sadly, a lot of us are trapped into that with Chex Mix. Alternative? Make your own at home!
Grab some pistachios, almonds, throw in some sunflower kernels, air-popped popcorn, and some bits of dark chocolate. Not only will every ingredient be something you love (I can't help but be picky???), you will be full, happy, and healthy (unless you make a trail mix of literally just chocolates).
Check out Elizabeth Rider's article on her amazing recipe with a great trail mix formula!
3. Flavored Sunflower Seeds vs Edamame
One of my best friends and often, road trip buddy, told me to put "those messy ass sunflower seeds" on here.
Let me explain:
Sunflower seeds are actually, one of the healthiest snacks in the world. The pure ones, unroasted, unsalted, yeah you can continue with those. However, the salted, flavored ones that I always buy at the gas station and finish within 1 hr are full of sodium, fat, and are not optimal for my carpeted car floor. When eaten in moderation, they provide a good source of protein and tons of nutrients such as Vitamin E, folic acid, and magnesium.
Now, I can't help but inhale the whole pack, so for those of you like me, try edamame! They are so satisfying, and thanks to its protein, fiber, and a touch of smart fat, you won't feel guilty. Also, they are great low maintenance finger foods that won't distract you behind the wheel.
4. Quaker Chewy Bars vs RXBAR
My love for granola bars is unmatched. However, I can eat about 5 without thinking.
And that is (sadly) the problem with Quaker Chewy Bars. Small in size which is great for a quick dash out the door (aka my morning breakfast as I rush for work), they are not as satisfying as you'd need them to be.
At work, I discovered the holy grail of granola bars such as the Kind Bars and Cliff Bars. Rich in nutrients but selective in ingredients, I couldn't help but feel full only halfway! I actually would eat one half at my desk, and then save half for the commute home.
However, as if a pure-er version of granola bars didn't exist, I discovered RxBars which have only, get this, FIVE ingredients. That's it. No grains, added sugars, gluten, soy, dairy or any artificial or processed ingredients, amazingly delicious, this has quickly become my favorite granola bar.
5. Sugary Drinks vs Infused Water
Those of you who grab that Slurpee, soda drink, overly sugary juices, there's an alternative for you. Granted you'll be sitting through a few hours of your drive, cut down on all the extra calories and sugar by switching to an infused drink.
I did this while I was on my road trip to Iceland, but I kept this habit up consistently afterward in my day to day activities. I felt less groggy, my insides felt super clean, reenergized, and most of all, clear skin galore. Other benefits include hydration, helps relieve bloating and gas, and great sources of vitamins and minerals!
My favorite one to date is strawberry and mint, as you can see from my photo above. I recently started growing my own mint because I'm an adult, and the combo could not be more delicious. Use your favorite fruits and additives like lemon, cucumbers, apple, berries, and more!
Also, if you'd like to find a great infuser bottle, I recommend the one I currently have, the Contigo Autospout! You just store your goods at the bottom and just refill it constantly throughout the day!
6. Ice Cream vs Cold Smoothies
Frappuccino boy, this one is for you.
Granted you'll be sitting through a few hours of your drive, once again, cut down on all the extra calories, sugar, and unexpected discovery that you might be lactose intolerant by making your own smoothie!
If you can spare the few extra mins before your trip, probably while you procrastinate to leave, throw a bunch of fruit that you neglected from your infused water, into your blender and boom! An amazing, beautifully colored, healthy smoothie!
My current favorite mix is a whole mango + 4 strawberries + mint + chia seeds + and some honey for a great smoothie that serves 2 (both me). Throw in a couple cubes of ice to give it that cold and creamy texture!
7. Pies vs Hummus
I don't know if it's just me, but I have a big fat crush on the Edward Single Serving Dessert Pies and I have, in fact, taken them on road trips before.
However, a better alternative for that delicious creamy texture would be a hummus! You can find hummus almost in any grocery store and pair them up with some herby crackers and you're set for a more balanced and healthy meal. I'm sad about this alternative, but if you aren't going to exercise off those extra calories, try some hummus!
8. Chips vs Dried Fruit Chips
A few bags of chips later, I can guarantee you probably feel sluggish, tired, and probably feel a bit gross. Well, if you still crave that bit of crunch, try some dried fruit chips!
The great thing about dried fruit is that it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. My all-time favorite would be spicy mango chips because the heat with the sweetness makes me feel so alive, all the while keeping me alert on nightly drives.
Also, while we are here talking about fruits, if you need that crunch, just get some fresh fruit! Celery and carrot sticks are just as amazing, and even more nutritious and healthy!
8. Chocolate Candy vs Dark Chocolate
Did you know: dark chocolate is actually healthy?
I learned all about this during my trip to the Maison Callier Chocolate Factory in Fribourg, Switzerland! Chocolate is created from cacao beans, and when these beans are turned into the cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and cocoa liquor, a combination of them create chocolate. Depending on how much of each is into the chocolate (along with a percentage of sugar and other ingredients), that creates the different categories we know as dark, milk, and white chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains the most amount of cocoa beans out of the groups, and the minimum amount found in dark chocolate to be considered healthy enough to snack on is 70%!
During my trip to Switzerland, I fell in love with Callier chocolate and one of my favorite road trip chocolates (cause ya girl brought a whole suitcase of chocolate back, and I need to finish them).
Created from cacao beans, chocolate is made when these beans are turned into the cocoa solids; cocoa butter and cocoa liquor. The chocolate is then broken into different categories based on the amount of cocoa solids, as well as percentage of sugar and other ingredients it contains
9. M&Ms vs Roasted Chickpeas
I recently came across these visiting a friends house and it was a good day to try something new. Among the platter of cheeses and other crackers was a bowl of roasted chickpeas. Never trying them before, I was intrigued, and two hours later, I realized I finished the bowl.
Nothing against M&Ms, considering I love the peanut ones, but if you want to reduce your calories and fat, try the chickpeas instead!
They are slightly salty and tasted, and full of fiber. Opt for an unsalted version if you want to skip on the sodium!
Here's a list of a few more that I couldn't help but not include, without shaming some unhealthy snacks:
10. Organic Seaweed Snacks
If you love sushi you will love these!
Thinner than air (jk), this seaweed snacks is jam-packed with nutrients and minerals such as vitamins A, C, E, and K, along with folate, zinc, sodium, calcium, and magnesium. What a list.
Also, this is a great snack for those wanting to lose weight as it has tons of fiber and a substance called fucoxanthin, which may reduce body fat according to some studies.
I mean besides all of that, they taste amazing and are super convenient for your long car rides. You might crave sushi afterward though.
11. Flaxseed Crackers
Flaxseed might be one of the most powerful plants in the world, single handly, for centuries and centuries.
It's health properties have been shown to have protective effects against certain cancers, have amazing anti-inflammatory properties, can improve blood sugar, and may reduce hot flashes.
Flaxseeds have been my latest craze, using them in my daily foods such as smoothies and adding them to pancakes and more! Take flaxseed crackers along on your car rides for a delicious but feel good trip!
12. Pop Chips
I asked some of you guys what your favorite road trip snacks were, and a friend of mine was shocked I haven't heard of Pop Chips.
Tracing them down, I was shook to find out they were gluten-free, low in fat, kosher, with no artificial flavoring, and apparently taste amazing. I found more people that swear by them, and their flavors look amazing, so time to toss out my bag of Lays Chips.
What Do You Recommend?
I hope you enjoyed this list of healthier alternatives to some junk foods you might bring along to on your road trip along the great States, across Iceland, or maybe even down the street.
Let me know if you like any other snacks I have forgotten to mention!
Don't forget to check out my other travel tips and resources to make your traveling easier!
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