5 Elements of great road trip foods

A road trip is a fun way to vacation. Make it an even better holiday by packing the right snacks and foods for the drive. Here are five factors to consider when packing your cooler.

Road trip

You’re packing up the car to hit the highway for a road trip. While stopping into cool roadside diners can be a fun perk to the trip — you never know what you’ll find — often you may be stuck eating at your typical fast food joint, which can lose its appeal real quick. Save your taste buds and your waistline by packing some delicious road trip-appropriate foods.

So what makes a meal or snack road trip-appropriate?

It’s something you can eat with one hand

This is only common sense given that one of you may have to eat while driving and therefore need to keep one hand on the steering wheel. You can make some exceptions and pack a salad, for example, if you plan on stopping to eat at a picnic table while you give your legs a stretch.

It’s not too messy or smelly

Again, because you’re going to be eating in a moving vehicle, you don’t want your meal to be too drippy or have pieces of it falling out all over your car. Plus, given that you’re in a confined space, you might want to steer clear of smelly foods such as blue cheese. And while we’re on the topic of smelliness, you might also want to avoid foods that can cause flatulence, such as beans and cabbage.

It won’t spoil in the car

Even if you’re bringing a cooler, do you really want to worry about whether the mayo you used in your tuna fish sandwiches or egg salad has turned (meaning you may have to find a roadside washroom real fast!)? Ingredients that withstand heat well just simplify things.

It’s filling and has a lower glycemic index

If chocolate and candy are your go-to snacks, you’ll get that sugar high but then crash, and that low will make you cranky and groggy — not ideal for your fellow road trippers, but more important, it’s dangerous to drive when drowsy. Aim for snacks that have protein and fibre. A handful of trail mix fits the bill, as does baby carrots with hummus.

It won’t upset your stomach

If you love certain fruits or veggies but they often mean you need a toilet soon after eating them because they disturb your digestion, it’s best you not bring them on your trip. You’ll only delay your trip, plus you may not be able to find a washroom on the road when you need one, and do you really want to have to go in the forest?

More food tips

Snack-smart strategies
Quick and healthy breakfasts for the woman on the go
5 Immune-boosting foods

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