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Snacks for the calorie-conscious traveler


Pack up the car for your summertime road trip, but don’t pack on the pounds with unhealthy snacks. Plan ahead and prepare tasty and healthy snacks for the road.

It’s easy to stop at a gas station or convenience store to pick up snacks when you’re traveling. Avoid the temptation. Although many convenience stores and large gas stations have filled their shelves and coolers with more healthy snacks like bananas, juices and trail mix, you’ll still encounter the temptation for the not-so-healthy snacks like chips, chocolate and soda.

1Get a grip on your granola bar

Granola bar

Convenient in their grab-and-go packaging and a healthy-sounding list of ingredients, most of us think of granola bars as a healthy snack. They can be, but watch out for pre-packaged granola bars that have loads of sugar and fat hidden in them. Keep an eye on the low-fat versions, as they may compensate with extra sugars for better flavor.

Mix it up at home before your trip. Can you make cookies? Then you can make homemade granola bars. It’s easy, they taste great and they won’t have any hidden ingredients.

Try this recipe for homemade granola bars >>

Pack plenty of water, fruit like bananas and apples, and easy-to-eat veggies like carrot and celery sticks.

2Snack on homemade chips

Homemade chips

Road trips and chips go hand-in-hand. The salty taste and flavors can be addicting. Before you know it, the entire bag is empty. Not good.

Make a healthier chip at home with sweet potatoes before you hit the road. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins, potassium and folic acid. Baked is better than fried so this snack already ranks well. Add any type of seasoning to these chips from garlic salt to cinnamon – the taste won’t let you down.

Try this recipe for baked sweet potato Parmesan chips >>

Save room in the cooler for fruit

Freeze your favorite type of grapes at home in a sealable plastic bag. Transfer to your cooler for a handy, frozen delight.

3Choose chocolate treats wisely

Choco Crunch

Send your chocolate cravings packing without relying on candy bars – the ultimate travel snack. Instead of loading up on bars full of fat, try something a little different. A chocolaty-crunchy mix is just the treat.

Whole-grains and almonds are both filling and good for you. Almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts you can eat. Full of protein, vitamins and monounsaturated fat (the “good” fat), almonds will keep you feeling full and the whole-grain cereal (low in saturated fat and high in fiber) will provide you with a healthier crunch.

Try this recipe for choco-crunch snack mix >>

Get your chocolate fix paired with fruit

  • In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt 2 ounces of dark chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir and continue cooking in 20-second increments until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Dip 12 large strawberries in the melted chocolate and place on waxed or parchment paper to harden slightly.
  • Pack the strawberries in individual plastic sandwich bags and keep in your cooler until you’re ready to snack.

4Drive past the drive-thru

Lettuce wrap

Fast food chains are tempting and convenient when you’re on the road. Many chains have added healthier menu options, so stop if you must, but be choosy with your choices.

Even better — get rolling and avoid the drive thru altogether! Prep prior to your trip with some tasty, healthy sandwiches like this: Spread spicy mustard over a large lettuce leaf. Add a slice of low-fat turkey or ham and a slice of low-fat Swiss cheese. Roll up the lettuce leaf, secure it with a toothpick and pack it in a plastic sandwich bag. Place in your cooler until ready to serve.

Consider pita bread for your sandwiches when you travel.
Pita bread makes a convenient “pocket” for your sandwich ingredients, which means less mess on the road.

Healthy snacks will keep you feeling full and satisfied on your road trip, and will help prevent any weight-gain souvenirs!

More road-trip friendly snack recipes

Ranch tortilla chips
Bagel chips
Hearty veggie sandwich
Curried tofu salad sandwich
Low-calorie trail mix
Animal cookies
Cherry bran wheat germ muffins

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