If you’ve ever been on a road trip you’ll know that, despite your best intentions, it’s easy to settle for mediocre, unhealthy foods for the sake of convenience. Luckily, thanks to mini coolers and a couple of basic meal prep tips it’s easier than ever to make all of your favourite nutritious ingredients into compact, portable meals to take on the road. It’s time to rethink your next road trip meal options with these healthy and delicious snack ideas!
Use containers with multiple sections
Resealable containers with multiple sections are a lifesaver on long road trips; each section can be filled with any and all of your favourite healthy, snack-sized foods. Peeled and halved hardboiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, almonds, shredded chicken or turkey, thinly sliced or cubed ham, and baked tofu cubes are all good sources of protein and will help you feel full for a longer period of time. Cut-up vegetables and fruit, whole wheat bread or pita triangles, baked sweet potato wedges, and refried bean dip are packed with dietary fibre and complex carbohydrates (both important for sustained feelings of fullness without a sudden dip in energy.)
Make your own granola bars
Although store-bought granola bars are often advertised as health food, most brands contain a surplus of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Homemade granola bars are easy to make and can be customized to include all of your favourite high-energy ingredients such as dried fruit, oats, toasted quinoa and rice, seeds, nuts, dark chocolate chips, and shredded coconut. Use pureed dates or dried apricots in place of some or even all of the sugar for a perfectly chewy texture.
Turn veggies and dip into a handheld snack
Veggies and dip make a great snack for road trips but can be difficult to eat if it’s your turn to drive. An easy solution to this problem is to wrap the veggies and dip up in a whole wheat pita, roti or tortilla. For longer road trips, use vegetables that don’t contain a ton of moisture (think cucumbers and tomatoes), julienned or grated carrots, peppers, beets, and even store-bought coleslaw mix work well. Dips that aren’t too liquidy and which contain protein and some healthy fats are ideal; hummus, mashed avocado, and yogurt-based labneh will add plenty of creamy texture and won’t lead to a soggy wrap if stored for several hours.
Enjoy a portable cheese and fruit plate
If you love cheese and fruit together try taking them on your next road trip, you’ll be surprised at how easily they travel! For maximum ease of eating while driving (or sitting in the passenger seat), cut the cheese into small cubes and store in a sealed container. Firm cheeses without a strong odour work best for lengthier trips and can be kept unrefrigerated for a longer period of time (try aged gouda, cheddar, manchego, or parmesan.) In the spirit of keeping things as simple as possible while you’re on the road, cut all fruit into cubes or wedges and remove any rinds, pits or large seeds.
Make use of your muffin tin!
Muffin tins are the perfect tool for making snack-size, portable meals for road trips (and healthy, high fibre muffins full of whole grains and fruit are just the beginning!) Use muffin tins to make crustless quiches packed with veggies and topped with cheese, to make individual fruit-filled baked oatmeal, and as the mold for miniature ground chicken or turkey meatloaves. If you’re going on a shorter road trip and won’t need a full dozen mini-meals, freeze the leftovers in resealable bags and reheat for quick yet nutritious breakfasts or lunches.