Healthy road trip snacks are essential for any road trips you’re taking this summer, whether that’s your summer vacation or a weekend trip to a family reunion. It can be tricky to find healthy food on the go, especially if you’re driving through areas where the only food for miles is found at rest areas, and usually consists of greasy burgers.
Why You Should Pack Healthy Road Trip Snacks
Are you going on any road trips this summer? Then pack your car full of healthy plant-based goodies so even if you’re driving through the desert or the prairies, with no healthy food in sight, you’ll have some on hand!
Finding vegan snacks on the go can be tricky, particularly if you’re driving through rural areas. Don’t waste your time trying to scrounge up a healthy snack at a gas station. Instead, here’s how to stock your car with healthful vegan bites to eat.
Healthy road trip snacks
Here are a few of the best snacks to stock your car with this summer:
Energy bars or dried fruit and nut bars are a convenient snack for the road. My favourite is Nakd bars. Before your trip, you can purchase an 8-pack of a variety of different flavours from Amazon and put that in your car! I never leave home without a few fruit and nut bars in my bag.
This box of vegan & gluten free healthy goodies will make your life so much easier. Skip the visits to Whole Foods and order this healthy vegan, gluten-free snacks care package from Amazon and you’ll have a whole box of healthy snacks delivered to your door and ready for your road trip! (If you’re lazy like me you can even just shove the whole box in your car.)
Fruits & Veggies
Fruit and veggies are the easiest road trip snack, especially since you can always buy them from supermarkets on your trip.
Bring fruit and veggies that are easy to eat (e.g. carrot sticks, apples, grapes) — bonus points if you store them in reusable glass tupperware containers like these and refill them with other snacks you buy at supermarkets on your trip.
Here are a few that are easy to transport:
- Carrot sticks
- Celery sticks
- Baby tomatoes
Reusable glass containers
These are the perfect BPA-free storage solution for your fruits and veggies and other car snacks. Click here to check the latest prices.
Hummus, nut butters and vegan pate are all good dip options. You can find hummus and nut butters at most supermarkets, so you can just pick up a tub of hummus or a jar of nut butter from any supermarket you find on the road. (Also, you might be able to get away with not refrigerating the nut butter…just don’t leave it in your hot car over night!)
Vegan pate (like this mushroom pate) is an even better option since it doesn’t require refrigeration until opened.
Ok, so you might be able to get away without refrigerating your nut butters but if you’re worried, the best solution is these mini packets of Jason’s almond butter, which my mother always takes when she travels. Unfortunately they generate more waste than a bigger tub, but you don’t have to worry about finding a fridge once you’ve opened your jar of nut butter. And hte maple almond butter flavour is amazing.
Dried fruit and nuts are another easy-to-transport option.Avoid nuts in the shell like pistachios, which will make a huge mess in your car — unless you don’t mind vacuum peanut shells out of your car for the next month!
You can make your own trail mix by mixing a few different kinds of nuts, seeds and dried fruits together! Or, you can buy a raw, GMO-free nut mix like this one.Click here to check the latest prices.
Sandwiches or Wraps
When I was a kid, we did a lot of family road trips, and my mom always packed a few veggie burgers and sandwiches in the cooler so we had lunch and dinner for the first day of the trip!
Make yourself a sandwich or wrap with hummus, dairy-free pesto, veggies, falafel, tofu (Taifun’s marinated tofu is my favourite for making sandwiches) and/or your favourite vegan meat…
If you’re bringing sandwiches, you’ll want to make sure you have a cooler. I like the look of this collapsible cooler — perfect if you’re flying to a destination and then renting a car, and also great for the beach or a picnic. You can refill your cooler with ice from the hotel’s ice machine each night. That way, you may even be able to keep food fresh for several days (my family always managed to on road trips)!Click here to check the latest prices.
You can make your own from popcorn kernels (my favourite popcorn is made this way; if you haven’t tried making your own popcorn, I highly recommend it! You’ll never want microwaveable popcorn again). Just put it in airtight tupperware or ziploc bags to store. Or, you can buy pre-popped popcorn like this organic olive oil popcorn. I love mine sprinkled with a little nutritional yeast and salt.Click here to check the latest prices.
This one can be a little messy — I recommend pulling over and eating these at a rest stop! I love these blue corn chips. Pair with your favourite salsa (or if you’ve got time before your trip, make your own; this fresh salsa comes together really quickly). But if you’re like me and never leave yourself enough time to prepare and pack before your trip…just pick up a jar of your favourite salsa!Click here to check the latest prices.
These make a great snack on their own, or you can dip them in hummus or pate. These ones are Kosher, vegan and the ingredients list isn’t too long either.
Dark chocolate is great for when a sugar craving hits. Just make sure to put it in the cooler if your car is hot so it doesn’t melt!Click here to check the latest prices.
If you like baking and have time before your trip, you could also make muffins and bring them along (ok, maybe not the healthiest option, but at least it’s a homemade version and you can reduce the sugar if you want!).
Be sure to bring a water bottle with you so you stay hydrated (this one keeps water cold up to 24 hours and also keeps hot beverage hot too). You can also bring a few of your favourite drinks (whether that’s coconut water or kombucha) in your cooler.
Equipment you might need
Don’t forget to bring a cooler, storage containers and cutlery! Here’s some equipment that will make eating on your road trip easier:
Bring some tupperware (I really love my glass containers like these — so easy to clean!) so you can store chopped fruits, veggies, sandwiches and more.
Don’t forget the cooler! You’ll need it to keep your drinks, hummus, sandwiches, salsa and other snacks fresh! You can easily refill your cooler with ice from the motel’s ice machine every evening and morning to keep your food from spoiling (be sure to keep your cooler in the motel with you, rather than in the car over night, where it will get hot).
This collapsible cooleris great for saving space — if you’re planning on going to the beach, you can pack it full of food and collapse it once you’re done eating. It’s also perfect for packing in your luggage if you’re flying somewhere and then renting a car.
Be sure to bring some cutlery with you; you can either just grab some flatware from your house or get a set for road trips, picnics and camping like this travel cutlery, which is lightweight comes with a carrying case.
You’ll need a box to store your non-refrigerated food items in. You can buy a storage box, or you can just use a cardboard box you’ve recently received a package in!
Finding healthy meals on the road
Apart from vegan snacks to go, here’s how to find healthy dinners and other meals.
Happycow is my favourite site and app for travel. It lists vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants around the world; the app will show you what’s nearby.
If you want to eat only organic or local foods, Vanilla Bean (free on iOS) shows restaurants with vegan, local and organic options.
You can find out which chain restaurants have plant-based options; many do now! For a US list, see here.
For a UK list of chain restaurants offering plant-based fare, see the Vegan Society’s list.
In the US, download the Vegan Xpress app (iOS, $1.99), which shows plant-based dishes at chain restaurants.
More healthy road trip ideas
Looking for more tips on planning a healthy, meat-free road trip? Check out my book, The Essential Vegan Travel Guide! Now in its third edition, I’ve got sections on finding plant-based fare, choosing where to stay, eco-friendly and vegan toiletries, plus retreats, cruises, camping and more. It’s available in paperback or Kindle format.
Pin this for later
Note: This post contains some affiliate links. If you buy a product through them, I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you! As always, I only recommend products I use and love, or products I have on my own wishlist. (I never recommend things I wouldn’t use myself!) Your support helps me run my website — thank you for your continued support!
Updated July 2018 (originally published March 2017).