By: Hana Klimczak, Registered Dietitian

Planning a road trip? Wherever you’re headed this summer, one thing is for sure – you will need some snacks to keep you fueled. Here are my top 7 strategies to ensure your road trip is not only enjoyable but also packed with delicious and nutritious food options to keep you energized for the journey ahead.

1. Pack Smart Snacks

Smart snacking and planning ahead is a great way to enhance your road trip experience, especially when travelling with kids. Instead of relying solely on gas station foods or drive-throughs, pack your own nourishing snacks to keep hunger at bay. Choose portable options like fresh fruit, such as apples, bananas, grapes, and berries, along with raw veggies like baby carrots, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and snap peas, paired with hummus for extra flavour and nutrition. Additionally, consider whole-grain crackers with cheese and trail mixes including nuts and seeds as convenient and nourishing snacks to keep you fueled throughout your journey. You can also bake goodies like homemade muffins, mixed fruit loaf or make sweet potato energy balls. Bonus tip: Pre-portioning snacks into small bags or containers makes them easy to grab and enjoy while on the move.

2. Get Creative with Cooler Packing

Make the most of your cooler by packing it with perishable items like a simple fruit salad, veggie sticks, yogurt cups, and chilled beverages. Freeze water bottles or 100% juice boxes to mimic ice packs and keep your snacks cool. Don’t forget to replenish your cooler with fresh ice or ice packs at pit stops.

3. Embrace the Jar

Mason jars are a convenient and portable way to enjoy nutritious meals on the go. Begin with your favourite dressing at the bottom of the jar to prevent sogginess, followed by grains like quinoa or couscous, and proteins like chicken or chickpeas. Then, add lighter ingredients like fruit, vegetables, and leafy greens. By layering this way your salad will stay crisp and flavourful until you’re ready to enjoy it. If you’re new to mason jar salads, start by making this picnic jar salad recipe. When hunger strikes, simply give the jar a shake to mix everything together. And don’t limit your jars to salads, this on-the-go oatmeal recipe is a delicious and convenient meal option that is sure to keep you fueled on your road trip adventure.

4. Opt for Veggie-Packed Restaurant Meals

When eating out, look for options that are packed with veggies. Choose salads, wraps, stir-fries, or soups loaded with veggies to ensure you get plenty of nutrients with each meal. You can also customize your order by asking for extra veggies or swapping out the fries or chips.

5. Hydrate with Infused Water

Staying hydrated is essential during long hours on the road; infused water is a delicious and refreshing way to quench your thirst. Simply add slices of refreshing fruits and veggies like lemons, limes, cucumbers, or berries to your water bottle. You can also toss in fresh herbs like mint or basil for a boost of flavour.

6. Pit Stops and Rest Stops

Make the most of pit stops and rest stops along your route to stretch your legs, use restroom facilities, and replenish your snack supply. Many rest areas now offer amenities like picnic tables, walking trails, and even playgrounds, making them ideal places to take a break and enjoy a picnic lunch with your favourite road trip handhelds like peanut butter banana tortilla rolls or grilled veggie wraps.

7. Farmers Markets, Fruit Stands, and Grocery Stores

Make your road trip even more memorable by exploring local farmers markets or fruit stands along the way. Not only will you have the opportunity to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, but you’ll also get a taste of the local flavour and support small businesses in the communities you visit. Take a leisurely stroll through the market, sample seasonal produce, and pick out some delicious treats to enjoy on the rest of your journey. If fruit stands and farmer markets are not available along your route, you can stop at grocery stores to stock up on convenient nutritious options like ready-to-eat hearty salads, crudités, and cut-up fruit. Grocery stores have loads of in-season produce, providing convenient and nutritious choices for your road trip.

With a little planning and creativity, your road trip will not only be a memorable adventure but also a nourishing one. By packing nutritious snacks, embracing healthy eating habits, and taking advantage of pit stops and food markets, you will stay refreshed and fueled for the road ahead. So, buckle up, hit the highway, and enjoy the journey – one delicious bite at a time.

About the author

Hana Klimczak is a Toronto-based registered dietitian and mother of two, passionate about providing simple and nutritious meal solutions to busy parents. Follow Hana on Instagram for family-friendly recipes and inspiring nutrition tips!

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