I got the road trip bug this year. You know how it is – once you get “road trip” in your head, it’s pretty hard to shake. So, I packed up my work stuff, my big shedding dog, a knapsack of mismatched clothes, and began my trek up the full length of the west coast. I took a different route than I’ve done before, traveling through the vast stretches of lonely Nevada dessert, the golden Southern tip of Oregon, along the jaw-dropping rugged rivers of Idaho, before finally heading into Northeastern Washington to go see my family for a couple weeks. “Hitting the open road” has such a nostalgic type of freedom that just can’t be found in today’s normal hustle and bustle. I just love it.
But though road trips are great, road trip food has a notoriously bad reputation. Chips, cookies, the 2 pounds of taffy you bought at the roadside stand… it’s okay, we’ve all succumbed. These kinds of foods, combined with hours and hours of sitting, is a digestive nightmare, not to mention a quick way to leave the car a little heavier than when you got in while arriving at your destination feeling sluggish (and still hungry).
Admittedly, a good road trip “menu” takes a little planning. You want foods that are relatively low-maintenance: relatively small and compact (to save space), easy to eat, and don’t need to be refrigerated. You also want foods that are healthy, satisfying, and act as a delicious treat (hint: no one wants carrot sticks after a 10-hour drive). With this in mind, I though I’d share what I like to put on my packing list:
Bars & Bites | There may have never been a better time than road trips to pack energy bars and bites (small pieces of bars). With so many bars out on the shelves now, there is truly a bar for everyone no matter what your diet or taste-preferences! Bites are particularly useful because they are small, low-calorie portions that are perfect to quickly pop in the mouth to stave off cravings. I particularly love the Navitas Naturals Power Snacks as a great way infuse several superfoods all at once, in bite-sized form – their superfood ingredient list is amazing! I also find it fun to make energy bars/bites at home to pack in my personal favorite superfoods that I want to “bring” while traveling (if you have the book, there’s a whole chapter on these in Superfood Snacks!).
Kale Crisps | Enjoying vegetables – and in particular greens – can be downright difficult while hitting the open road. That’s why I always bring a couple bags of kale crisps with me, which I look at like basically a dehydrated salad (that just happens to taste like potato chips!). You can buy pre-made kale crisps, or make them yourself in endless varieties like these irresistible BBQ-Hemp Kale Crisps. Just be sure to always drink lots of water with these kinds of dehydrated, salty snacks.
Trail Mix | No, I’m not saying to go grab the GORP (if you don’t know what GORP is, consider it a good thing). Instead, make a big bag of trail mix packed with your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried superfruits like mulberries and goji berries. Trail mix is preferable in this case to single-ingredient nuts or your favorite dried fruit because it offers a wider spectrum of balanced nutrition thanks to the array of ingredients.
Fresh Fruit | While a pint of fresh berries may not last very long, some of nature’s sweetest offerings come in the perfect, biodegradable package for arduous road-trip travel. Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes and avocados can survive several days in a hot car, and serve as a very welcome fresh shift from drier foods. Plus, these fresh foods are naturally hydrating, and packed with immune-boosting vitamins. They may not seem super exciting to pack, but you’ll find them an extremely welcome treat once you’re well en-route.
Superfood Powders (& Water!) | Most times I won’t stop and make a superfood smoothie, but I like carrying a few servings of protein powder, greens powder, as well as a superfood powder or two (like maca powder or camu), just in case I really can’t find anything else to eat around. It’s my little emergency kit – always important when going to new places!