With the warm-weather season fast approaching, many families are putting pencil to paper and making preparations for their annual summer vacations. For some, holiday travel will bring plenty of time in the car and whether you’re road tripping for two hours or ten, someone is likely to become hungry while en route. But eating on the road isn’t always easy and it can be a challenge to find tasty edibles somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

The following ideas are designed to make your on-the-road eating a healthy, fun, economical and delicious success.

Road Trip Snacking Tips

  • Always pack two coolers for the trip – one for cold items and one for room temperature foods. Keep an ice pack or two in the “cold” cooler to keep foods as fresh as possible.
  • Packed lunches should include cloth or paper napkins, re-usable utensils, wet wipes and garbage bags.
  • Keep a garbage bag in the front and back of the vehicle for easy trash disposal.
  • Place a re-usable shopping bag in a central spot within the vehicle. Use it to store all food containers and utensils which will need washing.
  • Pack a blanket! Take advantage of scenic spots en route for an impromptu family picnic.

Fun with Your Food

In addition to providing nourishment while on the open road, the packed food can also act as a boredom buster.

  • Give each family member a container of grapes. Each time you see a red (or blue or green) car, every family member must eat one grape.
  • Summer berries are in abundance during peak travel months. Map out a Pick-Your-Own farm close to the half-way point of your destination and stop to pick fresh berries with the entire family.

Snack Suggestions

Try combining a few items from each of the following categories for a well-balanced meal replacement. Choose two to three items for each hour of travel.

Grains

Bagels
Pitas
Crackers/Rice crackers
Pasta salad
Rice salad
Popcorn
Pancakes
Cookies
Granola bars
Sandwiches
Rice cakes

Fruits and Veggies

Cucumber slices
Carrot sticks
Broccoli florets
Grapes
Strawberries
Bananas
Orange slices
Dried fruits – apples, apricots, dates, cranberries, cherries and raisins
Cubed melon

Protein

Hard boiled eggs
Cheese
Nuts and seeds
Bean salads
Hummus and bean dips

Sweet Treats

Mini muffins
Rice Krispie squares
Banana breads or other loafs
Chocolate dipped strawberries
Cookies

Beverages

Be sure to stay hydrated, especially during the months when the temperature is on the rise. It’s tough to gauge how much is too much (you don’t want to have to make a lot of washroom stops), so go by how your body feels. A good rule of thumb is one drink per person per hour on the road.