Food for Thought: Road Trip!

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Is it just me, or does it seem like normal eating “rules” go out the window when you’re on a road trip? The options that are provided at gas stations, convenience stores, and fast food chains along the way leave us feeling like it’s okay to eat unhealthy while on the road because, really, what other options are there?

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a rare banana or two to grab along with your bag of potato chips, so you feel a little less guilty, but you’re only really fooling yourself. Mostly, you’re left to choose from an assortment of brightly colored candies and treats that will leave your body feeling completely zapped of any nutrients. And this couldn’t come at a worse time. Your body is already running on low energy since all you’ve been doing is sitting in the same spot for hours, maybe even days. 

So how do you keep this from happening? How do you keep from spiraling down the dark rabbit hole of unhealthy road food?

As tempting as it may be to grab that candy bar when you stop to fill up on gas for your road trip, by making sure that you pack good, healthy snacks, you’ll find that you won’t be tempted because you know something better is waiting for you in your car.

Here are 8 top picks for healthy road trip snacks.

  1. HARD-BOILED EGGS – Eggs are not only easy to prepare, they are easy to store, and easy to eat in the car. They’re fairly mess-free, and are packed full of protein that your body will need while on the road. For some extra crunch and the perks of some quality complex carbs, add some whole wheat crackers to your egg snack for the perfect pick-me-up. These Saigon Deviled Eggs are super easy to prepare and, when packed in a water-proof container, travel well in the cooler. 

  2. PROTEIN BARS – Be wise with your choice of protein bars.There are countless protein bars out there that are full of nothing but sugar and crazy additives and preservatives that you’ve never heard of. Instead, look for a protein bar full of natural ingredients that will give you the nutrients your body needs and wants, without the sugar crash.

  3. STRING CHEESE – You’re never too old to eat string cheese, especially when you know the nutritional benefits it provides. Pair your string cheese with apple slices, and you’ll have a snack that perfectly covers healthy fat, good protein, and complex carbs. With this trio of nutrients, you won’t be hungry again for a while, and you’ll also feel your energy levels increase.

  4. CARROTS, CELERY AND HUMMUS – Hummus is a great protein-packed snack that will help keep your belly full and happy. In addition, hummus is full of B vitamins.Celery and carrots are perfect for dipping! So, rather than fill that boredom with unhealthy snacks, munch on some crunchy celery and carrot sticks that will take you a while to eat, and will keep you busy without making a mess.

  5. PISTACHIOS – The protein from these nuts is plant-based, and they’re also packed full of unsaturated fats and fiber. Not to mention, they’re much lower in terms of calories than other nuts. Pistachios weigh in at just 4 calories per nut, while Brazil nuts are 33 calories each.

  6. Pecans – Pistachios aren’t the only great nuts on the block — pecans are great for their own reasons, and these spiced pecans made with our Saigon Street Sauce are a snack you’ll be glad to have as you make your way through the streets of our beautiful country! 

  7. Cream Cheese – Cream cheese provides high-quality protein that is rich in all essential amino acids. It is also a very good source of soluble fat and vitamins, especially vitamin A. Spread it on whole wheat crackers and the two combined will help keep you full and keep additional cravings from kicking in. This Calabrian Pepper Tuscan Cream Cheese Spread is a cream cheese-based spread that is easy to make up before your trip and take in the cooler. Sometimes, when I have time, I make up little finger sandwiches on whole-grain bread.

  8. Salads – This chilled salad has a combination of flavors and textures that’ll have you asking for “more, please!” as you roll on down the road. While simple, the pasta makes this salad very filling, but the cucumbers and green onions keep it light and refreshing at the same time. 

Snacking healthy while on the road doesn’t have to be boring. With a bit of planning ahead, and practicing some self-restraint when going into the gas stations along the route, you will be on the way to a healthy car trip that’s guaranteed to be a blast. Happy, safe, and delicious travels from all of us at Bellisari’s!

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