More than 53% of Americans are expected to hit the road for their vacations this year 1. Flexibility of being able to go where you want, when you want, coupled with no baggage restraints top the reasons why 2. Part of the fun of road trips is sampling new cuisines and hitting popular restaurants, but it’s important to be prepared and plan for the unexpected. Being equipped with healthy snacks is not only handy in traffic and for “hangry” passengers, but will save you time, money, and counteract some of the inactivity and indulgences along the way.
It’s pretty easy to be in the Zone even on the road. The key is to remember to always balance your carbohydrates with protein and a little fat. Here are some snack ideas from each of the macronutrient groups. Some require a cooler but others need no refrigeration. The best part is that if you have to restock and there’s no grocery store in sight, you can find many of these items in convenience stores. This list will help you know which foods to choose.
Greek Yogurt: With anywhere from 12-20 grams of protein per serving this is pretty much Zone balanced with the amount of protein, carbs and fat (always good to still check labels). Look for the Greek yogurt tubes which eliminate the need for a spoon and are great way to avoid messes if you’re traveling with young kids. Freeze the sticks ahead of time to help with keeping things cool.
Jerky: Great protein option when you don’t have refrigeration that you can take on the go. Jerky has come a long way and you can find varieties with simple ingredients that are grass-fed, no nitrites, hormones, sugar, and low in sodium. Do try and drink water when eating them since they are a higher sodium food.
Hard-boiled egg whites: Assuming your passengers don’t mind the smell of eggs, egg whites are packed with protein and low in calories. Before you go, remove the yolk and then fill with hummus, guacamole, or even nut butters.
Tuna: No need for a can opener here. This comes in portable pouches for a convenient source of protein that doesn’t require refrigeration.
Cheese Sticks: Both kid and adult friendly these are perfectly portioned and when coupled with lower sugar fruits (think berries, apples, pears) they make the perfect Zone snack.
Deli meats: Roll-up a bunch of slices of lean deli meats for an easy and convenient protein choice on the go.
Edamame: For those looking for a plant-based source of protein, edamame is high in protein, high in fiber and supplies a bunch of vitamins and minerals too.
Veggie Sticks (Carrots, Cucumbers, Peppers, Celery, Snap Peas): Chopping vegetables may not fit in your to-do list before leaving, so go the prepared route and grab them in the refrigerated case at the store to save yourself some time.
Fruit: Although berries are one of our favorite fruits in the Zone, apples, oranges, clementines, and pears are probably the easiest fruits to bring since they don’t require refrigeration.
Pouches: Fruit and vegetables squeezers are not only are great for kids but are an easy and portable way to sneak in some fruits and veggies in a no-mess way for adults too. They don’t require refrigeration, but do check the labels to ensure they don’t contain any added sugar.
Baked Chickpeas: These are an easy and healthy snack you can make ahead and season to your liking if you’re looking for a snack with crunch.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas. Blot them with a paper towel to dry. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil (1 tsp), and season to taste with salt and pepper or seasonings of your choosing. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until brown and crunchy.
Wasa Crackers: Although we recommend keeping grains and crackers to condiment sized portions, if you are looking for some crunchy carbs, Wasa crackers are good in a pinch. Each cracker is just about 1 Zone carbohydrate block.
Bread Alternatives: If you want a sandwich but are trying to avoid the bread, consider using the smaller versions of low-carb wraps or corn tortillas. Roll-up and cut into 1” pieces to make mini roll-ups you can share or swap the wrap for romaine lettuce for an added crunch.
Hummus: Great for dipping veggies and available in the individual containers so you can avoid the waste.
Guacamole: You can find mini versions of these in the store which supply about 100 calories and 3 grams of fat (~1 fat block in the Zone) per serving.
Nuts/Nut Butters: Nuts and nut butters make for a great snack choice, just be careful with your portions as they add up quick. You can find many brands selling single serve packages of nuts, but just be careful to read labels as what might appear as a single serving to you could easily add up to almost 3. Now you can find nuts in all kinds of flavors like wasabi or blueberry, but try and keep it plain as the flavored varieties generally have ingredients you should keep to a minimum, like sugar and corn syrup. Look for one or two ingredients in the Nutrition Facts max.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated along the way and try to keep soda, coffee and caffeine to a minimum.
Water: This is one of the best ways to stay hydrated. With so many reusable bottles that keep beverages cold for hours its easy to have a refreshing beverage and fill up again along the way. Add some lime, lemon, or orange slices for flavor. If using bottled water consider this tip from one of our customers: "I freeze bottles of water and use those instead of ice packs in a small cooler. This way you can drink the nice cold water as it melts, or refreeze them at your destination. The best part is you don’t have to cart around the ice packs once you are through."- Paula B
Seltzer: A great way to get the carbonation of soda without the calories and additives.
Zone Shake Mix: Easy to portion out into baggies, just bring your shaker cup and grab a small container of 2% milk and you have an easy meal on the go.
ZoneRx Bars: A perfectly balanced Zone snack that hits the sweet spot.
- Stats: 100 Million Americans to Go on Family Vacation This Year. Available at: https://www.travelagentcentral.com/running-your-business/stats-100-million-americans-to-go-family-vacation-year. Accessed: July 17, 2019
- The Great American Road Trip: Shorter and More Popular Than Ever. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/travel/road-trips-in-the-united-states.html. Accessed: July 17, 2019.