Unfortunately, the chance of finding healthy food along a highway is pretty darn slim! With a little pre-planning, though, you can make your trip comfortable and a whole lot tastier by packing your own food. And, it doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. With these ideas, you can ditch the junk, can the chips and skip the soda! Here are some good-food tips for car travel:
- First and foremost, make sure to leave room among the baggage for a cooler.
- Pack favorite sandwiches, cheese, cold drinks, sliced deli meats, hard-boiled eggs and fresh fruit in the cooler. To make it quick, purchase prepared sandwiches or wraps, sliced cheeses and deli meats, and ready-to eat fruit. You can even buy pre-boiled eggs. For best results, purchase them unpeeled; they’ll stay fresher longer.
- Take along made-ahead mini-meals and snacks such as potato salad, tabouli or other whole grain dishes, pasta, brown rice or quinoa salads prepared with veggies, nuts, tofu, tempeh or chicken. To make it quick, purchase prepared pasta, potato or grain salads.
- Pack individual serving sizes of organic or Greek yogurt, non-dairy yogurt, applesauce, diced fruit, etc. (Don’t forget the spoons!)
- Diced or sliced carrots, cucumbers, celery, radish and bell peppers with a dip such as hummus or a cream cheese mix are healthy and tasty.
- Whole grain corn chips, bean dips and small containers of salsa or pico de gallo are equally wonderful. Ready-made dips, pre-cut veggies and ready-to-eat salsa make it quick and easy.
- Fruit bars, nut bars, natural protein or granola bars as well as other shelf-stable goodies are a favorite with kids.
- Pack individual baggies of home-made or purchased trail mix.
- Whole grain pretzels or crackers are great with nut butters, cream cheese or sliced cheese. For fun, make “cracker sandwiches” ahead of time with nut butters, dried fruit or sliced banana.
- Don’t forget treats such as oatmeal cookies, whole wheat graham crackers, or some outta-this-world dark chocolate. Make it quick by purchasing whole grain cookies before your trip, or make ahead and freeze until you’re ready to go.
- If you happen to stop at a roadside restaurant for breakfast, choose oatmeal, cream of wheat or an omelet with veggies in place of pastry or donuts. Fresh fruit is a must and hash browns may be a better choice than “fluffy white bread” toast with hydrogenated margarine.
- If you stop at a convenience store, look for whole grain cereals, low fat milk or even soymilk, packaged nuts, dried fruits or fresh fruit. You may even find a bran muffin or a protein bar to fill you up in place of sweet rolls, chips, donuts and cream-filled cupcakes.
- If eating and driving at the same time feels a bit too difficult, simplify your choices. Maybe opt for some string cheese, nut, fruit or protein bars, or a ready-made smoothie you can keep in your cup holder.
Here is just a sampling of some perfect road-trip recipes you may want to take along:
- Apple Sandwiches with Granola and Peanut Butter (use other nut butters in place of peanut butter if desired).
- Cucumber and Tahini Sandwiches (don’t make these open-faced for a car trip; close ‘em up and seal ‘em well for the road).
- Ham and Brie Sandwiches
- Potato and Egg Salad
- Tuna Tabouli
- Popcorn Trail Mix and Granola Trail Mix
- So Good Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Oatmeal Coconut Sunflower Seed Cookies
- No-Bake Thumbprint Cookies
- Cherry Pecan Bran Muffins
Got a favorite take-along snack for holiday road trips? I’d love to hear.