How to Eat Well on a Road Trip

Planning Ahead and Staying Smart
a young family packed up for a road trip

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Roll down the windows, turn up the tunes, feel the wind in your hair... you’re off on a real adventure! And with kids in tow, the fun is amplified.

Eating Well on the Road

If you’re traveling more than a short distance, both car and tummies will need refueling. Rest stops, fast food joints, and convenience stores are quick and easy, but they don’t always offer many healthy snack options.

With some advanced planning, your family can enjoy healthy, road-ready snacks. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Plan Ahead and Pack

    The best way to make sure you have healthy snack and meal options when traveling is to take them with you. Keep things simple by sticking to whole foods that you know your kids will eat. Perishable items can be kept in a cooler packed with ice.

    Don’t forget utensils, and pack lots of napkins and cleansing wipes—even simple snacks can be a messy affair when kids are involved!

    Travel-Friendly Snacks

    • Fruit
      • prepackaged options
        • applesauce
        • canned peaches
      • dried fruit
        • apricots
        • raisins
      • fresh fruit
        • apples
        • grapes
        • pears
    • Veggies
      • sliced bell peppers
      • cucumbers
      • carrots
    • Protein
      • nut butter sandwiches
      • trail mix
      • cheese sticks
      • yogurt
    • Whole Grains
      • popcorn
      • whole-grain crackers
    • Beverages
      • water
      • low-fat milk
      • 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices
  2. Make Smart Stops for Food

    If you’re traveling a considerable distance, you’ll need more than snack foods to keep you going. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends making the most of your stops by choosing your meals wisely.

    • Check the Supermarket for Prepped Foods

      Supermarkets offer healthy options like fruits with peels (bananas and oranges), as well as pre-washed and cut vegetables—grab some hummus to dip and you’re good to go.

    • Choose Wisely at Restaurants

      If you’d rather have a sit-down meal, take some time reading the menu.

      • Choose entrées that are baked, broiled, grilled, or steamed, and avoid anything fried.
      • Salads with lean protein can be surprisingly filling.
      • Good breakfast choices include oatmeal, eggs, and whole-grain bread.
    • Eat a Balanced Diet

      No matter where you eat your meals, aim to fill half of your plate with fruit and vegetables. Split the rest evenly between lean protein and whole grains.

Click to See Our Sources

“Eat Right While Traveling” by Caroline Kaufman, 1/25/18; “Food Tips for Summer Travel with Kids” by Jill Weisenberger, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 8/10/17,

“MyPlate Snack Tips for Parents,”, 10/16


The Taste for Life Staff

The Taste for Life staff come from a wide variety of backgrounds and specialties. We believe learning is a life-long process, and love to share the knowledge we gain.