RB Roadtripping: Eating Healthy (& Affordably) While on the Road

Starting today, I’ll be sharing some roadtripping tips I’ve learned over the years on the third Friday of each month … this post (and all future road trip related ones) can be found under the Roadtripping category for easy reference!

If there’s one thing I’ve become well experienced in throughout my childhood as well as my adult years, its road trips. And the most important things in roadtripping include: Enough gas (or money for gas) to go, a place to lay your head at night, and food to keep everyone happy.

Everywhere we went, we took food along with us … typically only stopping for dinner and (once it became mainstream) eating the hotel’s continental breakfast. As an adult, those lessons rubbed off on me — so long as there’s room in the car to bring along food + a cooler for beverages, I pretty much still do the same. Last month, Amy of Lemon & Raspberry tweeted asking for road trip food ideas, which inspired the idea for today’s post …

Healthy snacks on the road

Healthy Snacks photo by Tonya Staab via Flickr Creative Commons

My 12-day road trip in May of this year was the first time I made a point of not packing junk food snacks for myself, although my travel companions brought along their must have snacks (I did resist the occasional urges to snag their snacks).

Here’s a few ideas of what I packed snack food-wise:

Nuts (dry varieties that don’t leave residue on your hands, especially if you’re also the driver)

Trail Mix (buy it premade or buy your favorite mix items and make your own as one of my travel companions did)

Dried fruit (I prefer dried cranberries … I also brought along yogurt covered raisins but discovered I’m apparently now allergic to raisins and other products made from red grapes 🙁.)

Nutrition/Energy Bars (I personally love the Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut Bars (tastes similar to Girl Scout Samoa Cookies!) and the Luna Blueberry Bliss Bars … as well as the Quest Nutrition Cookie Dough Protein Bars, which are best when microwaved!)

To curb my chocolate urges, I brought along some dark chocolate covered acai berries — at least that way I got some antioxidants in the process even if it did contain quite a bit of sugar 🙂

In the photo above that I found on Flickr, there’s a few other great ideas pictured — easy to peel fruit, cheese sticks, and single servings of applesauce and fruit/granola bars.

As for meals …

Healthy Breakfast

Healthy Breakfast photo by SuzieNewShoes via Flickr Creative Commons

Breakfast — many of the places we stayed this time around didn’t provide continental breakfast options (we stayed mom & pop places and two KOA’s for the majority of the trip). Those that did, I grabbed whatever fruit option they had (bananas, apples, or sliced melon) + bacon (protein!) + whatever the healthiest grain option I could get (toast or if nothing else at least corn flakes/Raisin Bran/Frosted Flakes) to fill me up for the morning’s activities. When we provided our own breakfasts, I had bacon (microwavable since we didn’t have a stove anywhere we stayed) + granola style cereals.

Healthy lunch

Healthy Lunch photo by Andrew Mager via Flickr Creative Commons

Lunch — on the road when there was nowhere stop for meals, we brought along lunch meat (nitrate-free for me), cheese, and bread (choose whole grain varieties over enriched/bleached options but keep an eye out for HCFS!) to make quick sandwiches. In an attempt to clear out the fridge, we also brought along sandwich bags of sliced fruit and berries and sliced tomatoes to go on the sandwiches. I also packed a jar of peanut butter for the times when I was tired of cheese/meat sandwiches. We also stopped at grocery stores & a Trader Joe’s along the route to restock + buy extras, like salads and other veggies/fruits (heirloom tomatoes, avocados, various berries) to supplement lunches. Another idea (mentioned in Amy’s tweet) is grilled chicken + bell peppers. In hindsight, that sounds delicious! Maybe next time …

Evening meals (and a couple of lunches), we either hit fast food places or splurged (three times) on sit-down restaurants. Except for the one night we grabbed a pizza at Pizza Hut, I chose the ‘healthiest’ option possible — one night was sirloin strips with roasted veggies + the salad bar, another night was a grilled chicken breast sandwich on a ciabatta bun w/ Swiss, lettuce, and tomato. The lunch we had at the Big Texan Steakhouse, I got a buffalo burger + a sweet potato. At the fast food places, I ordered whatever was served as a chicken option — at Sonic, chicken strips; at Burger King & McDonald’s, their grilled chicken salads.

What are some of your go-to road trip snacks and meal ideas?