19 Best Foods to Pack Up for a Road Trip

Young woman eating in a car

If you’ve ever tried to grab a snack on the go, you know that driving and eating don’t always mix. Snacks like a carton of yogurt or a bowl of cereal aren’t exactly great choices when you need at least one hand on the wheel.

We believe you shouldn’t have to lower your food standards just because you’re traveling. These 19 snacks are the best foods to dive into on your next road trip or morning commute. Happy dining and driving!

1. Parmigiano black pepper popcorn

Parmesan black pepper popcorn

Popcorn isn’t just the quintessential movie munchie — it’s also ideal for the car!

This recipe with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, aromatic extra-virgin olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper is way more delicious than the standard bagged version you’ll find at the gas station. You can take a handful and concentrate on the road without much fuss.

Get our parmigiano black pepper popcorn recipe.

2. Carnitas avocado breakfast burritos

Carnitas burrito

Busy morning? Pack a breakfast burrito for the road!

Easy to hold with one hand and full of hearty ingredients, this recipe reuses dinnertime carnitas for a savory morning wrap. Try making these in 6-inch tortillas (instead of the 10-inch kind) for a breakfast you can easily pack in a zip-top bag or some tinfoil.

Get the carnitas avocado breakfast burrito recipe.

3. Butternut squash and goat cheese hand pies

Squash hand pies

Try out our butternut squash and goat cheese hand pies for a great easy-to-take-on-the-road snack. With cumin, butternut squash, coriander, and goat cheese, they’re small, savory, self-contained vehicles of deliciousness.

Get our butternut squash and goat cheese hand pies recipe.

4. Tamarind trail mix

Tamarind trail mix
Photo courtesy of Kitchen Confidence

This trail mix is packed with protein and is a lot more interesting than your usual peanuts and raisins combo.

Cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, tamarind paste, and tomato paste add a ton of interesting flavors, and coarsely chopped dried mango is a delightfully unexpected addition.

Get the tamarind trail mix recipe.

5. Homemade cheese crackers

Cheese crackers
Photo courtesy of Leite’s Culinaria

These homemade cheese crackers are crisp little bites just right for freeway nibbling. You can substitute whole wheat or spelt flour to make them even more nutritious — or add other seasonings besides the onion powder the recipe calls for.

And, of course, no judgement if time constraints have you reaching for Cheez-Its or Goldfish instead.

Get the homemade cheese cracker recipe.

6. Soft pretzel rolls

Soft pretzels

Pretzels are a lot easier to make than you might think! Plus, they have just a handful of ingredients you probably already have on hand: flour, water, yeast, salt, butter, and sugar. You can make the traditional pretzel shape or get creative and make any shape that suits your fancy.

We just wouldn’t recommend dipping sauces while driving.

Get our soft pretzel rolls recipe.

7. Crackly sugar cookies

Crackly sugar cookies

Sometimes you want to snack on something sweet while you’re on the road. Our recipe for these seasonal favorite cookies is foolproof!

These sugar-speckled treats are a healthier choice than some packaged cookies, with no preservatives, less salt, and no artificial flavorings. We won’t tell if you stow a few in the glove box.

Get our crackly sugar cookies recipe.

8. Homemade veggie chips

Veggie chips
Photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Homemade veggie chips are a great healthy alternative to potato chips, and if you make a big batch you can keep them around for on-the-go snacking.

Use a mandolin to make thin, uniform vegetable slices, and try anything from rutabagas to parsnips, carrots, or beets. (There are also plenty of super tasty packaged versions to choose from, like the ones from Terra Chips.)

Get the homemade veggie chips recipe.

9. Double chocolate pop tarts

Pop tarts

When you were a kid, pop tarts were the perfect one-handed breakfast for biking or skateboarding to school. The same holds true for getting yourself to work in a car.

These DIY pop tarts are somewhere between a breakfast and a dessert. We’ll let you decide whether to snack on these on the way to or from the office.

Get our double chocolate pop tarts recipe.

10. Dried fruit

Who couldn’t use more fruit in their diet? The dried variety may be higher in calories and lower in hydration than fresh, but they’re a heckuva lot easier to eat in the car. (No juice dribbling down your chin as you fumble for napkins, no seeds or cores to dispose of.)

Check out Rind’s skin-on dried fruit. Their intact skin means you get more antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.

11. Pitted Medjool dates

For something naturally sweet, how about a date? One tasty option: Joolies organic pitted Medjool dates. Despite their wrinkly appearance and chewy texture, they’re actually fresh fruits! And since they’re packed with fiber, vitamin B6, and antioxidants, they’re healthy fuel for wherever your drive takes you.

12. Apple and raspberry fruit leather

Fruit leather

Speaking of fruit, you can also try it as a leather! This recipe combines apples and raspberries, but there’s no limit to the varieties of fruits — fresh or frozen — you can use as the foundation of your chewy, leathery snack.

Make a big batch and cut it into thin strips. It’s like you made your own Fruit by the Foot!

Get our apple and raspberry fruit leather recipe.

13. Pea crisps

Fruits don’t get to have all the fun. Dried veggies can be tasty too!

In recent years, dried snap peas have become a staple as salad toppers. But hey, maybe they’d like to get out of the kitchen and into the car with you. After all, they’re convenient little bites that won’t make a mess. Harvest Snaps even makes single-serving snack packs for just-right portions.

14. Shelled pistachios

A little flavor, a little crunch, and a lotta protein — what is this magical snack? Pistachios! A single serving (about 49 nuts) packs 6 grams of protein. And with their easily grab-able size, these whole foods make an excellent driving companion.

Try the Wonderful Company’s shelled pistachios, which come in six varieties to suit your flavor fancy.

15. Dried fig and nut bars

Fig and nut bars

We dare you to find a fig and hazelnut granola bar on grocery store shelves. Coming up empty? Time to make your own with this totally unique recipe. In addition to dried figs and hazelnuts, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, and orange zest add holiday-esque flavor.

Get our dried fig and nut bars recipe.

16. Spiced zucchini muffins

Zucchini muffins

Muffins are great road food for their minimal mess and perfect portability. These delicious spiced zucchini muffins provide a little bit of sweet and a little bit of healthy.

Get our spiced zucchini muffins recipe.

17. Cheese sticks

Cheese sticks are small, easy to eat, and can be made from just about any variety of semi-hard cheese you can buy, be it mozzarella, Colby, or pepper jack.

Buy them pre-wrapped from the store (Organic Valley makes a part-skim, high-protein mozzarella version), or slice and wrap them at the beginning of the week so you can grab and go before hitting the road.

18. Thai beef jerky

Thai beef jerky

Packaged jerky is a road trip staple, but if you’ve got a bit of extra prep time, try making your own! Infusing sirloin with Asian-inspired flavor makes a snack that’ll get passed around the car until it’s gone.

Get our Thai beef jerky recipe.

19. Ham and camembert baguette sandwich

Ham baguette

There’s no getting around it — sometimes a busy day calls for eating lunch in the car. When meetings or errands have you driving hither and yon, you don’t have to skip your mid-day meal (or eat something that leaves you stained upon arrival).

This simple ham and cheese sammie saves the day. Bonus: Its slim baguette makes for easy wrapping, letting you chow down with barely any crumbs to show for it.

Get our ham and camembert baguette sandwich recipe.

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