On the Road Again: Perfect Snacks & On-the-go Meals for Road Trips

Nutrition Advice from your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian

by Allison Stowell, Registered Dietitian

You’ve planned for months, packed with precision, and finally you are on your way . . . Road Trip 2017 here you come! You can’t imagine that you have forgotten anything, but unless one of those bags is devoted to road-trip food, you may just find your tank on empty. Luckily I love a good road trip – and of course, I love food. So here we go . . . my perfect packing list for summer road-trip snacks and meals.

Meant for ‘On the Go’

You need easy, but that doesn’t mean compromising on nutrition. A quick trip to the store for these road-trip-ready items, and you will be all set.

Pre-packaged cheese and nuts: Ready-to-go servings of cheese and nuts, these snacks are the perfect road-trip option. Look for them in the meat and dairy sections.

Yogurt pouches and tubes: Perfect for small hands, these flavored yogurt tubes and pouches sneak in a bit of protein for a high-quality snack.

Individual guacamole or hummus: These options offer convenient, heart-healthy fat and pair perfectly with fresh veggies.

High quality granola bars: Look for bars like these that offer at least 6 – 7 grams of satisfying protein.

Simple popcorn: An easy, gluten-free road-trip snack that you can enjoy.

Pistachios: Opening all of those shells slows you down – and controls your portion.

All natural soup cups: All you need is some hot water, and you have vegan, gluten-free black bean and lime or split pea soup. Or select from several other low-sodium options.

Individual milk boxes: Perfect for travel, these shelf-stable milk boxes can be chilled and served when you are ready to use them.

Pre-cut produce: Pack pre-sliced apples, cut-up fruit, and bags of baby carrots, sugar snap peas or grape tomatoes, and you have a variety of produce (and color!)

Pack a Lunch

If you are going to be in a car for a long day of travel (especially with younger kids), then the last place you also want to be is sitting in a restaurant (especially if you don’t want to stop too long). Instead, pack some lunches and find a good picnic spot that puts you in control of your timing and offers your kids (and pets!) a chance to stretch.

Bento Box Cool: Bento boxes are divided containers that enable a well-rounded meal to be packed among the different sections. Before you hit the road, fill your bento box with a variety of satisfying options, and you will be ready for your own meals on wheels.

There is always PBJ: With the protein and heart-healthy fat you need to be satisfied, good ol’ PBJ might just be what you need. For a variation on this, pick up almond butter or sunflower-seed butter spread.

Build a sandwich: High quality pre-packaged lunch meats, sliced cheeses, bagged lettuce, individual mayonnaise or mustard packets and more make it easy to build a quick sandwich on the road or at a picnic table.

Oops . . . Didn’t Pack Enough Snacks. Now What?

Gas station: Gas station convenience marts have come a long way. Look for granola bars, yogurt, trail mix, oatmeal, milk, cheese sticks and more to complete your snack bag and get back on the road.

Fast food restaurants: Okay, this is not what you would expect from a dietitian, but when hunger calls, you need to answer. If it’s your only option, then a fast food restaurant it is! Just strategize. For example, if you choose a parfait, skip the sugary “fruit” and only eat the yogurt. Or if you select a salad or other vegetable choices, avoid toppings. Last, if you go for the grilled option, pass on cheese and any “special sauces.” Keep in mind that while some fast, casual restaurants may seem “better for you,” they may not be. Read menu options carefully.

As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit www.hannaford.com/dietitians for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours or call for more information.


Lemon Blueberry Flax Muffins (2 Guiding Stars)*

Make a batch of these for your road trip for a quick breakfast or snack!


1 cup blueberries

3 cups whole wheat flour

2/3 cup flax seed, ground

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/3 cup plain, low-fat yogurt

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons grated lemon rind

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup egg substitute


1. Preheat oven to 375º F. In small bowl – toss blueberries with 2 teaspoons of the flour and set aside.

2. In a separate bowl – stir together remaining flour, flax, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. In third bowl – whisk together yogurt, oil, lemon rind, lemon juice and egg substitute – pour into dry ingredients, and stir just until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries.

4. Divide batter into 24 papered muffin cups.

5. Bake for 18 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.

* Learn about the Hannaford Guiding Stars nutrition program and enjoy this muffin recipe or one of the many others at www.guidingstars.com.