“Road trips required a couple of things: a well-balanced diet of caffeine, salt and sugar and an excellent selection of tunes—oh, and directions.”- Jenn McKinlay
Jenn might be right, but to an extent! Certain sugars make you feel better than others and that’s the same for foods that include salt and caffeine. It might feel great to pound down a bag of Sour Patch Kids in the moment, however a little later you might be regretting it due to that awful sugar crash, not to mention that bloated feeling we all despise.
In this article we take a look at some of the best and worst options. Unsurprisingly, pre-packaged meals are not the most ideal sources. So instead, we recommend that those going on a road trip perhaps create a fine menu in advance of actual meals and snacks. This is going to lead to less stoppage time while not being forced into purchasing a bag of M&M’s as a meal.
Along with food options we’ll also include beverage choices. Some should be avoided while the replacements suggested might have you feeling a lot better. The 'good idea' choices will have the trip pass in a flash – we can’t say the same for the foods to avoid, though. Some of the foods might have you pulling over a little too often, if you know what we mean!
Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado here are 10 foods to avoid during a road trip and 10 that are a good idea. Let’s get started!
20 Avoid - Pre-Made Truck Stop Cold Sandwiches
It’s inevitable, during a long road trip the need for a break is going to come rather often. This can lead to a quick bite to eat. Needing something that’s quick, easy, on-the-go and creates hardly any mess, a cold sandwich might be a desired option. After all it can also be consumed in the car while losing little travel time.
However it isn’t the best idea to purchase a pre-made one. At times these sandwiches are kept out in the open for far too long and there have been various cases of the sandwiches being long expired. In particular tuna and egg pre-made sandwiches must be avoided. These types tend to go bad a lot quicker. Also, all that added mayonnaise might not make you feel all that great either.
19 Good Idea - Whole Wheat Bread With Freshly Cut Turkey
Ideally this good idea should be taken care of before the road trip begins. Instead of settling for that mayonnaise sandwich, make it a priority to make these yourselves before the trip.
All you’ll need to do is buy some fresh whole wheat bread, which is among the healthier and lighter bread options. Then go to the meat counter and ask for some fresh turkey. Turkey contains little to no fat along with a decent amount of protein. Sprinkle a little bit of low calorie mustard along with a low fat cheese option and you’ll be pretty darn golden!
18 Avoid - Beef Jerky
We apologize to all those beef jerky fans out there. This quick road trip snack is among the most popular and also the easiest to purchase. Just about every rest stop or gas station area has this snack in bulk.
The sad reality is that jerky is loaded with added preservatives. It is also filled with sodium, that’ll have you reaching for the water bottle at various points during the ride. The added sodium is also going to make you feel really bloated and full – a feeling few travelers want to experience during a lengthy car ride.
17 Good Idea - Low-Cal Rice Cakes
Skip the jerky snack and instead, pack some low calorie rice cakes. They don’t have to be the bland kind either. Fun options such as popcorn and chocolate chip also exist, along with a large variety of other kinds.
Rice cakes provide the body with the perfect amount of fuel. It’s basically a quick carbohydrate kick at a low calorie level. The snack isn’t loaded with sodium either as opposed to other road trip snacks (like beef jerky). Just make sure not to make a mess, the crunchy treats can go all over the place if you aren’t careful!
16 Avoid – Beans
Not that this is the most common road trip food, however it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to purchase a fresh bean salad at a local truck stop. It might seem like a good idea at first due its freshness and the fact that you might consider it a “salad”. However let’s not neglect what beans do, they make us, well, let’s just say, really gassy...
Beans also give you that full feeling which is ideal for those that are dieting but not those that are on a road trip. Along with beans, broccoli should also be avoided. The last thing you want is to be the reason why every passenger is rolling down their window.
15 Good Idea - Almonds & Cashews
Skip the bean salad and instead, make your own fresh salad and sprinkle in some healthy fats such as almonds and cashews. Chia seeds are another solid option to include in a salad or just as a snack.
These healthy fats provide the body with solid energy while keeping things light. Servings of 30 grams might be a road-tripper's best option for the almonds and cashews; you don’t want to be eating too many nuts as although they’re loaded with healthy fats, they’re also pretty high in overall calories as well.
14 Avoid - Highly Carbonated Energy Drinks
What might be more important than food is your choice of beverage. Especially for the driver, it is crucial that they’re properly hydrated at all times. The key here is properly hydrated. Getting a can of Coke or Pepsi won’t make you feel good – at the very least opt for the diet option, which usually contains zero calories.
Also high calorie energy drinks should be avoided. Although you might get a quick energy spike, this will lead to a crash at some point. A road tripper won’t feel too fabulous either due to the outrageous amounts of sugar found in the highly carbonated energy drinks.
13 Good Idea - Zero-Cal Energy Drink
If a high energy option is needed than zero calorie energy drinks are a road-tripper's best bet. Both Red Bull and Monster are typically found at various gas stations and rest-stops, a driver and passenger can easily find the zero calorie format. This includes a heavily reduced amount of sugar along with hardly any carbohydrates as opposed to the regular formats.
If an energy surge is needed, an espresso can also be a good option. A coffee is okay however you might have to pull over a couple of times due to the volume of coffee compared to a quick espresso shot.
12 Avoid - Sour Patch Kids
Similar to the high calorie Red Bull drinks, Sour Patch kids can provide an instant surge of energy. And hey let’s face it, they also taste pretty darn great! Like beef jerky earlier in the article this is among the easiest snacks to find while on a road trip.
Although they might be yummy and easily accessible, Sour Patch Kids will also lead to a sugar crash. The sugar numbers itself are also ridiculously high; you might as well just pour some sugar down your throat! Due to so much sugar and added preservatives the carb numbers are way too high and they won’t make you feel all that good either.
11 Good Idea - Fruits & Vegetables
We hate to sound like a mother or father figure, however if a sugar source is needed it might be best to opt for some fresh fruit – at very least you’ll get some vitamins and minerals and hey, you’ll feel a lot better than consuming a darn pack of Sour Patch Kids.
A banana is a great carb source. This fruit has lots of potassium, as well as fiber. An apple is another quick way to get a sugar boost while not feeling exaggeratedly full. Fruits along with veggies are easy to find while on the road. Carrots and celery can be a great road option accompanied by a low calorie avocado dip!
10 Avoid - Anything Spicy
You’re sitting in the car and all of a sudden it starts to get really hot. You turn to your left and the dude sitting beside you looks perfectly fine. The same goes for your girlfriend in the back seat. Maybe adding a little spiciness and red pepper to that meal wasn’t the brightest idea... Oh, looks like a stop might be needed.
Okay so you get the point, eating a spicy meal isn’t the best idea. It’ll likely increase your body temperature a couple of notches. It might also force you to be the guy that causes the road trip to halt, because well, you might need to use the washroom. Maybe save the spicy foods for when you arrive at the destination.
9 Good Idea – Water
Just thinking of spicy foods, some of you might have thought about water and how refreshing it might be! Seriously if there is a 'must' during a road trip it’s a water bottle case – not only for the driver but for the passengers as well. A lack of water can result in a headache or other complications – dehydration is best to be avoided during lengthy road trips.
Instead of constantly buying water bottles it might be wiser to buy an entire case for the trip. It can also be a wise decision to purchase a reusable water jug and fill it up to the rim throughout the entire journey.
8 Avoid – Cooked Meat
A piece of cooked meat might not be the best option. Road-trippers might be tempted into making this decision while stopping at a restaurant on the way. In the event that the meat is undercooked, this can result in a ride that no traveler wants to experience. It can lead to extreme un-comfort and severe nausea.
Save the steak for another time. As for the ideal road trip protein, a chicken breast is never a bad option. It includes lots of protein along with minimal fat. Let’s face it, it isn’t hard to cook properly. Ideally cooked tuna is the best bet featuring hardly any fat along with healthy protein.
7 Good Idea - Sweet Potato
When you order that piece of chicken, French fries on the side might not be the most ideal option and they’ll have you feeling kind of sluggish. Instead, better options exist and one of them is sweet potato fries. In truth they taste just as good while containing half the caloric content of a regular French fry.
For those that are traveling, a white baked potato can also be a better option than regular French fries. Just don’t get the all-dressed version featuring endless amounts of sour cream and mountains of cheese – you’ll want to take a nap instead of driving for another couple of hours!
6 Avoid - Overly Salted Chips
Chips and road trips tend to go hand-in-hand. It’s like a bag of chips just comes with the road trip. However, not all chips leave you feeling ideal. In fact most lead to unnecessary bloat along with an increased amount of liquids being consumed as a result. We all know what that leads to...
We’re not saying scrap the chips entirely. Instead make a wise decision on which is best for a lengthy trip. Avoid the options that are overly flavored, these are usually spiked with sodium and various preservatives. Also don’t even think about spicy chips for a road trip. That would be a nightmare unless you’re planning to visit hell...
5 Good Idea – Crackers
Ever wonder why flights always serve crackers as a snack? Well, they’re really easy to digest and let’s face it, they’re also a lot of fun. Sure the cracker itself might be a little too boring for your road trip, so why not spice things up (not with spice) by adding some low fat spread on top of the crackers?
This can include a variety of options such as low calorie jam, hummus, light cheese or various other options. Maybe, just maybe you can go a little crazy and add a dab of Nutella onto the cracker. You’ll forget you’re in a moving vehicle with such a combination!
4 Avoid - High-Cal Protein Bar
A protein bar is again another snack that might seem like a quick and easy option. However travelers must be aware of what the bar actually contains. Some protein bars might be terribly misleading. Due to the content value some bars can be used as a darn meal replacement due to the loaded amounts of carbohydrates and fats.
It is best to avoid funky flavors such as birthday cake; these types tend to be loaded with sugar. Maybe save that bar for after the gym and opt for a low-cal option for the road trip.
3 Good Idea - Peanut Butter
Peanut butter can be a solid option. Heck, you can even spread some good old PB and J on a cracker. Peanut butter is a good fat source that provides that body with some instant energy. Of course, like all fats, we don’t advise swallowing an entire jug during a road trip. Typically one serving of 30 grams is more than enough to leave any road-tripper satisfied. It would also be a wise option to bring a loaf of whole wheat bread while lightly spreading some peanut butter; this can be an ideal blend. Low calorie Peanut Butter versions also exist and in truth, they taste just as good with a reduced fat content.
2 Avoid - Fast Food
Fast food is the easy option during a road trip. However truth be told fast food should not only be avoided during a lengthy trip, but it should be passed on in general. From elevated trans fats to increased cholesterol to terrible amounts of sodium, fast food just won’t make any traveler feel all that well. Fast food is also known to increase blood pressure.
If you need to stop for a quick bite then perhaps Subway might the best quick option. The menu is loaded with low calorie options and the real kicker is that it also tastes pretty darn great!
1 Good Idea - Low-Cal Protein Shake
Again, this one is best in moderation. Don’t go putting three scoops of protein. Over 50 grams of protein in one serving might have you running out of the car and to the washroom rather quickly.
Instead, this can be an ideal fuel source in moderation. Add some water and almond milk along with one scoop of protein or perhaps the equivalent of 20 grams of protein. It can fuel the body properly while giving you a fine protein source to sip on during the ride. A BCAA drink can also be a good option providing road-trippers with some nice energy while once again aiding the muscles.