Traveling for the 4th
We want to equip you with ideas for making the best food choices while on the road.
Whether you’re traveling for the 4th of July or taking a trip later this summer, these tips will come in handy!
When you’re busy planning your trip and packing, it’s unlikely you’ll also be able to find the time to meal plan and prep for your drive.
Check out our guide below for packing road trip food that requires little to no prep and leaves you feeling satisfied all the way to your destination!
We’ve included Amazon links in this post to make it even easier for you to be able to get what you need for a healthier road trip.
The Nutrition Clinic for Digestive Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Benefits of Eating Healthy on the Road
- The more food you bring with you, the less money you’ll need to spend on your trip! Or better yet, take what you would have spent on buying food use it to do something fun when you get to where you’re going. Don’t paddleboarding lessons for the kids and a spa treatment for mom sound so much better than overpriced junk food at a gas station and a Big Mac?
- Stopping to unpack your picnic basket and blanket and stretch your legs is the perfect way to break up the drive. Plus, we digest our food much better when we’re relaxed.
- It’s greener! By packing food from home in reusable containers, you’ll produce less waste. Food packaging from fast-food chains and convenience stores will end up going straight to a landfill.
- Eating food that you prepare is a much healthier option than food purchased on the road. Most restaurants use inflammatory oils like corn oil and peanut oil instead of anti-inflammatory oils like olive oil and coconut oil. In addition, fast food and convenience foods tend to contain high amounts of sodium which can contribute to high blood pressure, swelling, and bloating.
What to pack for a road trip
Fast food options are just that fast and cheap! Additionally fast-food is often lacking in nutrient density.
When planning your road trip food, use our guide below to be sure you pack balanced meals and snacks. Balanced meals and snacks include protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Healthy eating on the road ensures everyone in the car has balanced blood sugar and good energy to make your journey much smoother!
Food to take on a road trip
Pick these up from your local grocery store or order online:
- Make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and raisins
- Bring small bags of popcorn and serve with Turkey Jerky Sticks or Epic Protein Bars
- Single serving packs of hummus or tuna pouches with Simple Mills crackers
- Banana with RX Nut Butter
- Premade OWYN Protein Shakes
- For younger kids, pack pouches that contain some protein such as these blends from Sprout Organic Baby Food Pouches or NOKA Nut Butter Smoothie Pouches
Options that take a tiny bit of preparation:
- Try these RX Bar Oats just prepare the night before adding your favorite nut milk, then store in the fridge and enjoy the next morning!
- Grape tomatoes, cut up celery, carrots, and bell peppers to serve with single-serve guacamole packs
- Shred a store-bought rotisserie chicken or pick up a pack Applegate deli meat to serve inside lettuce wraps (bring along single-serve packs of condiments for your travel “sandwiches”)
- Pack cured meats, cheeses, and single-serving packs of olives (along with this paring knife) to create a picnic-style charcuterie board.
- Our Energy Bites recipe freezes really well – you could make these up to a week in advance and simply take them out of the freezer as you’re packing the car.
A note on paring knives: In non-quarantine life, I use mine all the time. I actually have two, so I always have a clean one. I pack them in my lunch for work so I can cut up fruit or veggies as I need to during the day. The ones we’ve linked have covers which make them safer for travel.
Essential non-food items to consider
For keeping things clean:
- Anti-bacterial wipes
- Picnic blanket
- Hand sanitizer
- Garbage bags
- Ziplock bags
- Roll of paper towels
- Reusable flour-sack cloths work great for cleaning up messes and as a napkin
For keeping things Green:
- Reusable cotton mesh produce bags (great for carrying fruit like apples or oranges)
- Stainless steel travel utensils
- Reusable bamboo plates
- Stainless steel bento box – great for packing lunches and snacks for kids and toddlers
- Mason jars
- Be sure to pack plenty of water for your journey so that you don’t have to buy overpriced water bottles at the gas station. You can take your own reusable canteen and fill it up along the way. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may want to consider filtering your water with a travel water filter.
A few more tips…
- So nothing goes bad, try eating foods most likely to spoil first. This will probably be things in the cooler. Towards the end of the trip, you can eat the hardier snacks like the trail mix.
- Keep your food in an easy to reach location so it is accessible throughout the ride. There’s nothing worse than getting hungry and realizing your cooler is in the trunk!
- Plan ahead and see if you can find a good picnic spot! A public park, greenway, or scenic overlook would make a great picnic spot.
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