Two summers ago, two friends and I decided to hop in the car and drive down to the Jersey Shore on a whim one Saturday morning. “It’ll take just over an hour to get there!” they said. “Why NOT?!” they said. Well, that “hour-long drive” turned into four hours and by the end of it, we were all hangry monsters walking the very thin line between BFFs and forever enemies—a line that anyone who gets hangry on the regular knows all too well.
This is when I finally learned a very important life lesson: Never get into a car for a road trip—even a short one!—without a snack in hand. Because, sure, there are gas stations to stop at, but most gas-station food (think: hoagies, pretzels, potato chips, sugar-laden bars) won’t actually keep you full. Instead, the simple carbs will send your blood sugar levels shooting up and then crashing, and soon enough you’re back where you started. So, to avoid this rollercoaster of emotions, below are eight hanger-fighting healthy road trip snacks to pack for your next trip by car. (Trust me: You’ll thank me later.)
Say adios to sad gas-station snacks and hello to these healthier, homemade road-trip eats.
Anyone have that problem where one handful of granola turns into 17 and suddenly the entire bag is gone? Yeah, same here. That’s why packing granola bars for your road trip is a better bet—one of these simple bad boys will keep you full through a serious traffic jam and by portioning them out, you avoid mindlessly snacking your way through a week’s worth of granola on your drive.
I’m just going to say this outright: This recipe requires some planning—like you need to know you’re going to make this a few days ahead of time in order to soak all the ingredients to perfection. That said, it’s worth it. As a snack, it travels well, it’s chock-full of protein and healthy fats, AND if you make extra and pack a cooler, you’ve got healthy breakfasts for your trip too!
If you’re looking for a snack that doesn’t require pulling over to the side of the road to eat, these fried spice-laden chickpeas—packed with fiber to keep you full on the road, so you can feel pretty good about ‘em—are the perfect finger food to throw into a tupperware.
When it comes to road-trip food, it really all comes down to packing stuff that, at least, doesn’t get worse as it sits and, at best, gets better as it sits. This gluten-free noodle salad falls into the second category, with the noodles getting even tastier as they marinate in the ginger-scallion sauce. Mmmmm.
This salad can be bulked up with some feta cheese or avocado, but no need to add too much flavor: between salty castelvetrano olives and citrus-y lemon, each bite is a veritable flavor bomb that will totally distract you from the fact that your destination is still hours away—at least for a few minutes.
The New York Times snagged the recipe for Zahav’s super-creamy hummus. Tell me: Can you think of a more delightful dish to chow down on while you’re actively trying to suppress your road rage? Because I can’t. Throw it in tupperware along with some chopped veggies and you’ve got a fiber-packed snack that will keep your blood sugar levels (and rage) in control.
It’s impossible to scroll through Instagram without seeing some sort of bliss ball on your feed, but if you’ve yet to dive into the trend, your next road trip is the time: This take is loaded with healthy fats, thanks to nut butter, and anti-inflammatory turmeric, plus they’re sweetened with medjool dates. Long story short, you can snack on a few and feel full and not at all guilty.
This lighter take on chicken salad employs Greek yogurt over mayo and adds some antioxidant-boosting herbs into the mix. Just make sure to line both sides of your sandwich with lettuce to avoid a soggy-bread situation.