6 Surefire Road Trip Snacks to Enjoy While Traveling (and 6 to Avoid)

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Ready for that long-awaited road trip? Road trips are a classic American tradition. With varying in-state routes, coastal trails, and crossing state lines, you’re going to need some tasty road trip snacks to bring along. For many families, traveling during the summer break (or any time of year, for that matter) is a much-needed reprieve. Summer days are longer, winter nights will be shorter, but if you have favorable weather conditions to support travel, then you may as well be off! 

Road Trip Snacks Help with Motion Sickness

Did you realize that many people experience motion sickness and nausea during road trips? Some people may not even realize they have it, until they take that first major road trip. Or worse, you discover it after 20 minutes into your trip and you hear some rather disturbing sounds from your passengers. Motion sickness symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, sweating, and headaches.

Certain foods have been found to activate motion sickness. Your road trip snacks, especially, may be triggers for feelings of nausea and motion sickness. So, whether the trip is three hours or eight hours long, on the straight and narrow or long and winding roads, pre-planning meals and road trip snacks is an effective way to limit triggers for motion sickness (or to watch for a food reaction). Keep yourself and your family feeling energized and ready to enjoy the road trip ahead.

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Read More: Take an Ireland Road Trip in 13 Days

6 Don’t-Leave-Behind Tasty Road Trip Snacks

Before you jump in the car and head out, let’s review six foods to consume while traveling, and six to avoid to reduce the risks of motion sickness and nausea on a much-needed road trip.

Homemade Tortilla Wraps

When packing road trip snacks, consider using a small cooler for pre-packed foods in lieu of stopping for greasy meals that may aggravate car sickness. Think tortillas and pita wraps. Try turkey and cheese wraps for a protein-packed, filling road trip snack or meal. However you eat it, make it delicious! For vegetarians, try a cream cheese wrap for an easy go-to road trip snack. Don’t forget the added condiments like sliced cucumber for a crunchy treat. Packing wraps and sandwiches ahead can help limit greasy meal stops and avoid regrettable road trip snack food choices.  

What to Avoid: Limit stops for fast food and drive-thru options that are often high sodium and high sugar.

Fruits and Vegetables

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You can’t go wrong with the original “fast foods,” like bananas, oranges, grapes, and apples. These are some of the best, no-brainer, not-complicated road trip snacks. Fruits are the source of many important vitamins and nutrients, like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Folate (folic acid). Cucumber slices and carrot sticks also provide much-needed crunch and munch options that are loaded with guilt-free nutrients. Since many fruits and vegetables do not require refrigeration, they can be easily packed without the need to reload on ice and storing space-hogging coolers. 

Insider Tip: Have you heard of the B.R.A.T. diet (Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast)? Snack on a banana if you feel slightly dehydrated.  Potassium-rich foods, like bananas, provide important minerals and help restore fluid balance. Bananas also have a good amount of starch in them.

High-Protein, Low-Sugar Snacks

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Beef and turkey jerkies can be a source of high-protein, low-sugar foods that curb nausea. Because small protein amounts can help stabilize blood sugar, jerky is often recommended by OBGYNs to pregnant women experiencing nausea, for a mid-morning protein snack. Be sure to check the sodium content and elect lower sodium options. A protein shake mini-meal during the trip can also help. Purchase pre-made protein shake mixes or try a homemade recipe (simply mix single-serve protein powder with water or milk). Nuts are also a great choice, as you can easily stash a few for easy road trip snacks.

What to Avoid: Limit potato chips, which have little nutritional value, and are high in sodium and low in protein.

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Pack Crackers, Pretzels and Nuts

Feeling the motion sickness come on, try dry crackers. Foods that are high in starch, like crackers, are known to help avoid or reduce motion sickness. Ever wonder why you are served nuts or pretzels on an airplane? Easily chewable foods that help swallow allow ears to be relieved of the blockage and air pressure that impacts many people’s ears. Add single-serve hummus cups or peanut butter cups for an even tastier meal.

What to Avoid: Reduce the number of spicy options, like jalapeno crackers or onion-based flavors, that sometimes cause acid reflux.

Breakfast Muffins (Pre-made)

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Bake-ahead muffins can be a great source of breakfast for those early morning road trips. Muffins can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days before travel. Muffin recipes are also so versatile, from sweet tastes like blueberry, banana, and apple cinnamon to more savory choices, like zucchini, carrot, and meat-based. They can also be made vegan, as well as gluten-free.

What to Avoid: While mini-cereal boxes and toaster pastries are a quick item, they often lead to sugar highs and lows, that may lead to headaches and irritability.

Key an Eye Out for Dehydration

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Dehydration is a major trigger for motion sickness. In addition to nausea, dehydration can lead to headaches and migraines. So, be sure to keep a refillable water bottle for each family member traveling, along with their favorite road trip snacks. Encourage everyone to take small sips of water throughout the road trip. If traveling with a pet, don’t forget a refillable water bottle for Fido too!

What to Avoid: For adults and children, cap the number of high-caffeine or high-sugar drinks.


In conclusion, using these tips for road trip snacks to pack, along with those icky road trip snacks to avoid, will help with packing and limiting greasy meal stops. After all, who wants to bother with regrettable food choices when you can completely avoid it if you are just a bit more prepared. Applying these tips will help prevent nausea and motion sickness for one or more family members as well, while you enjoy wherever the road takes you!

WANT TO READ MORE?

Ready for your first road trip? Check out “10 Tips for Packing” to help you with that!

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