As much as I enjoy mooching off my parents' pool, showing off a new bikini, and sipping wine coolers under the summer sun, if you called me up and invited me on a road trip, I’d pass on all of that in a heartbeat. There are few things that make me feel more alive than riding down an open highway with the windows down and radio blasting to celebrate the start of summer. I love the anticipation of reaching a destination, laughing at silly GPS pronunciations, and, of course, picking out the best snacks for a road trip to munch on en route. Granted, my love affair with snacking options might just be my foodie status shining through, but I’m a major grazer, and in my opinion, the treats you pack for the road are just as, if not more important than the hours-long soundtrack you decide on.
As far as I’m concerned, there are two things to consider when scoping out your snack options for your road trip this Memorial Day weekend: sustenance and taste. Whether you’re headed to the beach for a day trip or crossing state borders, the goal is to pack foods that keep you full for the long haul, but are also just really delicious. After all, this is a vacation, right? Days off are meant for indulgence, so if you can mix the sweet stuff with satisfying, nutrient-dense options, then you’ll have the best of both worlds filling your belly. Here are a few snacking options to inspire your road-trip stash.
Marshmallows You Don't Have To Roast
Not to brag (OK, totally to brag), but I'm the queen of s'mores. To me, this summertime delicacy is not just a dessert, it's an art. See, most people think you have to be near a campfire or stovetop to perfect the compilation of graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate, but I know better. Plus, the traditional s'more is dope, but it's also stiff. Why stick to the original recipe all the time when you can experiment with different crackers, different chocolate (Reese's cups, anyone?), or better yet, flavored marshmallows?
SmashMallow is really changing the s'mores game, my friend, so even if you don't feel like packing a s'mores smorgasbord for the car ride, at least do yourself a favor and snack on these pillowy treats that are jam-packed with so much flavor. Personally, my favorite is the mint chocolate chip that practically tastes like a Girl Scout cookie, but there are so many other flavors to choose from, such as cinnamon churro, or strawberries and cream.
Veggie Chips For A Switch-Up From Potato
If you thought 'mallows were my weakness, try sitting me down in front of a bowl of potato chips, because I can guarantee I'll never eat just one. And by "just one," I mean one serving, so keep the refills coming.
Potato chips are definitely a solid option for road trip-grazing, but oftentimes, they're super greasy, have way too much salt, and, if you're anything like me, can make you feel sort of crummy by the second or third handful. Instead, swap spuds for other kinds of veggie chips, like Bare Snack's new line of sweet potato, beet, and carrot options. What's awesome, too, is that an entire bag yields just one serving, so it's literally impossible to overeat.
Protein Bars That Actually Taste Great, Not Gritty
During my senior year of college, I went through a body-builder-wannabe phase, and I was downing protein shakes and bars in between meals like it was my job. If I gained anything from that point in time, it wasn't muscles, but I did learn a lot about products pumped with protein in terms of what tastes good, what's actually good for your body, and what brands to steer clear from.
ONE bars are by far my favorite these days, because unlike a lot of other so-called "nutritious" bars, this one doesn't overcompensate for the grittiness of protein powder with a ton of sugar. In fact, you can't taste the protein at all, and the flavor is rich, with only one gram of added sugar to speak of. Plus, there are so many offerings to curb any kind of craving you might have, from blueberry cobbler (my personal fave) to glazed donut.
Bring A Baggy Of Fruit Salad
One of the simplest, healthiest snacking options you can take anywhere, at any time, is a mix of fruit in either a plastic baggy or to-go container. For long trips in the car, I prefer packing fresh berries (strawberries are my go-to) and apple slices, because they a) make less of a mess, and b) won't stink up your car like a ripe banana might.
So here's what you can do: Pack a cooler, and stick a few pouches of mixed fruit in there for convenient snacking. Definitely don't feel like you have to stick to health-conscious options for the entire trip because, again, vacations are meant for indulgences. Still, though, there's no harm in balancing sweets with nutrient-dense snacks, too. To make it more of a treat, sprinkle a little sugar in the bag, or pack a small container of whipped cream to store in the cooler for dipping.
Crackers That Even Gluten-Sensitive Passengers Can Snack On
I know myself, and it's super easy for me to give myself a little leeway with my stomach, especially on vacation, but oftentimes, I end up taking temptation just a little too far. If you know that you or one of your fellow road-trippers has a food sensitivity, there are plenty of snack options out there that taste amazing, but still keep your health in check.
If gluten intolerance is a concern, check out these delicious crackers from Simple Mills. The entire collection of food items from this brand (among them crackers, cookies, and even baking mixes) are all gluten-free, made with seeds and almond flours, and taste amazing. Toss some salsa in the cooler, and you've got yourself a snack that's flavorful, indulgent, and sensitive to your tummy's needs.
Labeling your own product "perfect" might come off cocky, but TBH guys, this brand has every right to be. Perfect Bars are super decadent, rich in flavor, and even though they taste like a dessert, their indulgent qualities are balanced out with a ton of nutrients.
Most, if not all ingredients listed on the brand's nutrition labels are organic, and each bar is packed with healthy fats to keep you fuller, longer. Plus, who doesn't need a batch of chocolate walnut brownies in their life? This is the best way I know to completely satisfy your sweet tooth with the added bonus of it being a delicious, nutritious treat.
Guac might be extra elsewhere (yes, Chipotle, I'm looking at you), but these little guys will hardly take up any space in your snack bag. Seriously, though, Wholly Guacamole has my heart, and there's no doubt in my mind it'll capture yours, too, once you snack on a cup with a handful of crackers or veggie chips on-the-go.
Oftentimes, we associate road trips with overly sweetened bars, cookies, chips, and the like — and that's fine BTW — but if your taste buds are craving something a little more savory, a cup of guac is the way to go. Whether you dip it or spoon it, avo-everything is always a win.