We're leaving for the beach this week so naturally I started thinking about what healthy road trip snacks I needed to stock up on a week ago.
I still haven't gotten sunscreen. Or washed my new swim suit. Hats! Ack, I was supposed to order beach hats for the girls and I totally forgot. Oops.... they won't wear them anyway...
Snacks, though. We're good.
You see where my priorities lie...
I've also had this blog post on the brain because I figure we're all always looking for new, fun, healthier snacks.
There are so many great healthier options out there now.
Those middle aisles in the grocery store have come a long way in a few years.
Remember the old advice: To eat healthy, shop the perimeter of the store and avoid the aisles.
Well, it's not that simple anymore.
And I mean that in the absolute best possible way. Smaller name brands have stepped in to fill the gap with higher quality ingredients. And bigger brands have caught on and stepped up their game too.
It can get confusing though weeding through it all to know which snacks are truly an upgrade and which ones aren't worth the higher price.
That's why I wanted to do this post - to help a sister out who wants to avoid all the junk but gah, it's so overwhelming. Let me tell you, I know.
I've been at this awhile and I'm a stickler.
Basically, I feel like I have to be. When you have an autoimmune condition you really gotta be on top of this stuff cause the wrong kinds of oils, sugars and additives can make things a whole lot worse.
All that stuff adds up to a world of hurt for me and I can feel it pretty quickly. I'm like the canary in the coal mine.
Have you ever heard this? Coal miners would bring a canary down in the mine and if the canary stopped singing... or (gulp) died, then they knew there was some sort of toxic gas and that was their cue to get out.
So what I'm saying is... stick me in a cage and call me Polly. Just doing my part for humanity here.
Seriously though, the junk that's in a lot of the packaged food out there isn't good for me and it isn't good for anyone else either.
My advice: make like a coal miner and take your cues from the canaries of the world....
Sure, sometimes I wish I didn't have to worry about all this.
Some days I'd really love to just grab a sandwich and a bag of Doritos and call it a day.
It's not so much the sandwich and Doritos that's appealing as the ease, and the whole carefreeness to it.
Then I realize the food I eat now is really what I want to be eating. (It's crazy how your tastes evolve!)
Cause even though I'm one of the canaries, in a way that weakness has become a strength. It's made me pay more attention and take better care of myself. And that's made me healthier, and stronger and happier, too. All probably more so than I'd ever be if I wasn't a canary.
I'm venturing into what should be it's own post so let me go back...
What I've also realized is just knowing what to look for and that extra bit of preparation (ie. stocking up at the store or ordering online) lets me have that same carefree feeling with the foods that I actually want to be eating.
Then I can still be spontaneous when it's really worth it. Like the flourless chocolate cake, or the frozen margarita. Not whatever bar I found at the gas station. Know what I mean?
I'm calculating with my indulgences - I make 'em count.
And I make sure I'm still getting good nutrition too through snacks, supplements and greens powders like this one...
I throw a few packets in my bag for greens reinforcement. When I feel like I haven't had something green in awhile, I add one of these to a glass of water and drink up.
Getting these little nutrient boosts while traveling helps keep my energy up and I like to think they balance out all the vacation grub too.
About that vacation grub....
Have you ever noticed when you're on vacation indulgences may not affect you as much? Maybe you can drink more wine and not have a headache the next day... Or you're not as bloated after a big meal. Anyone else notice this?
Most of the time we can get away with a lot more on vacation. You know why? Stress. We're under so much less of it.
All that energy that in everyday life gets used up by our body's stress response to traffic, work, the phone, kids.... When all (ok, most) of those stressors go away, that energy can be put to so much better use, like digesting your food. detoxing the wine.
On this trip I plan to embrace the wiggle room. Relax a little more (or as much as possible with two kids in tow). And eat and drink a little more too.
There's a part two to this post with more tips like this on how to turn your vacation from health derailment to healthy lifestyle booster.
So stay tuned for that...
Healthy Road Trip Snacks: What to Look For
Before I get to my favorites, here's what you want to be looking for when you're shopping for snacks or any packaged foods.
When I say read labels what I mean is read the ingredients list. You should recognize all of the ingredients, be able to pronounce them and possibly even make the thing yourself. If there's anything that starts with hydrogenated (this is trans fat), or a color (ie. Red 40), skip it.
This is the hardest part about finding packaged foods that really are healthy. It's so much more expensive for manufacturers to use high quality fats, or I guess it's more like the unhealthy fats are just so much cheaper. That's why you see so many packaged foods, especially chips and crackers made with soybean oil, canola oil or safflower oil. These oils are A LOT cheaper to use than healthier oils like coconut oil and avocado oil, but they're much higher in pro-inflammatory Omega-6 which means higher inflammation levels for us when we eat them in excess. Try to at least reduce your exposure by mixing up your snacks, having them along with fresh veggies or a healthy dip so you'll end up eating less.
Obviously the best options will be free of refined sugar or maybe use a whole sweetener like honey, maple syrup or dates. These unrefined sources of sweetness don't spike blood sugar as dramatically as white sugar. If something does have sugar, make sure it's far down on the ingredient lists. Manufacturers list ingredients in order of quantity so the further down on the list something is, the less that's in it.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks
What's in the photo above are the packaged snacks I'm packing for the car. I also plan to throw in any fresh fruit that's still around the end of the week. I expect bananas, apples, cherries and dates.
I stock up on my packaged snacks online at Thrive Market (use the link and get 25% off your first order). I've linked up some of my fav products below there too.
- raw almonds + other raw nuts like cashews, walnuts, etc.
- dried mango
- unsweetened banana chips
- dried apricots (unsulphured)
- Dang coconut chips
- DIY trail mix w/ nuts, chopped dried fruit and coconut
Chips & crackers
- dark chocolate - currently loving Theo 85%
- carrot & celery sticks
- cherry tomatoes
For the littles:
All the above (OK, maybe not the dark chocolate... that stuff is precious), plus
- Happy Baby pouches (our favorites are spinach, mango pear & spinach, apple, kale)
- Annie's granola bars (oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip)
- Thunderbird kids' bars (just fruit)
- Annie's Cheddar Bunnies
BTW, I'm planning for a road trip but would take these same snacks if we were flying. Airports are tough when you're trying to eat healthy... or just REAL food. It's certainly gotten better over the last few years, but at the same time, can you say EXPENSIVE.
When we're flying too I plan ahead and pack just as much food as anything else. Is that a purse? More like food bag... snacks. stashed. everywhere. It gives the kids something else to do. And who am I kidding... me too!
Want More Healthy Snack Ideas?
I've got 40+ healthy snack ideas & easy recipes so you can make your own snacks, skip the added junk in the ones out of the box and save some serious $$$$.
They're all in this little eBook you can download here.
Note: Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links through which I have the opportunity to receive a small commission of sales. All commissions are used to help fund this blog. Thank you for your support!
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.