Eating on the Road: How to Choose Healthy Snacks

  • author name Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN
Family in car

Vacations often present roadblocks to staying on track with healthy eating. But they don’t have to. Learn how to find the most nutritious options while traveling to your destination, and set the stage for fun times ahead.

While packing your own food for the trip is the best choice, it's not always possible. Most stops along the highway offer a mix of fast-food restaurants, truck stops, and gas stations. Airports are typically loaded with lots of unhealthy fare as well. However, you may be surprised what you can find, armed with a little knowledge.

Bigger is Better

And I'm not referring to portion sizes! Try to seek out larger chain gas stations or rest stops. They are more likely to offer healthy options or made-to-order sandwiches or salads.

Finding Fresh Foods

Many stops have a cold case where you can find fresh, healthy foods. Look for cut veggies and fruit cups, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, whole pieces of fresh fruit, cheese sticks, and salads.

Reaching for something with some protein, like the eggs, cheese, or yogurt, along with the fiber in the fresh fruits and veggies, will help keep you feeling full for longer.

Crunch with Nuts

If you feel the need for something with crunch, try picking up a small bag of nuts. Nuts have protein and fiber, along with some healthy fats.

It can be easy to overdo the calories with nuts, so opt for nuts in the shell. Snacking will then take longer, and also satisfy the need to keep yourself busy. Many places offer small bags of pistachios or peanuts in the shell.

Watch What You Drink

Most rest stops offer a wide array of beverages. A large percentage of them contain unhealthy amounts of sugar.

Water should be your first choice. V8 and other vegetable juices are healthy options, and especially beneficial since vegetable servings may be scarce as you travel. Look for low-sodium options, but even the regular is fine in a pinch. If you want something with flavor and fizz, try seltzer water that has a fruit flavor.

How to Pick an Energy Bar

Granola or energy bars are popular snacks option because they’re tasty, convenient, and travel well. Be sure to look at the labels. Some are more like candy bars.

Ideally, a snack bar should have fewer than 200 calories and made with whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit. Look for something with more than 3 grams of protein and fiber so it will be a little more filling.

Dried fruits increase the amount of sugar in your bar, but some of it is naturally occurring. Stick to a bar with fewer than 10 to 20 grams of sugar. Pair a bar with a piece of fresh fruit, or some cut veggies to make it a more well-rounded snack or light meal.

author name

Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN

Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN, is a wellness dietitian with Lancaster General Health Corporate Wellness.

Education: Janelle Glick holds a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Messiah College and a M.A. in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University. Her special areas of interest include weight management and health coaching.

Call: 717-544-3527

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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