Going on a Road Trip? Learn How to Choose Your Road Trip Food to Avoid Gaining Weight

Estimated reading time: 6 min

Road Trip Food to Avoid Gaining Weight

Are you asking yourself how to choose the right road trip food so you don´t gain weight on your next adventure, trip, vacation, move or whatever is it that is taking you on a road trip?

Sure, road trip snacks are important, but there is much more than just taking the right travel snacks with you.

Your main problem is going to be where and what to eat. Even if you are not a junk food or soda addict, it is difficult to say no to convenient food if when you are on the road you are hungry and with no other options.

The solution is to make sure that you always have those healthy options by getting super organized.

In this post you will learn what to do to choose the right road trip food so you can keep a healthy diet and avoid gaining weight.

Your Meals

Since you are on the road and maybe even visiting places, it is usually better to plan lunch and snacks on the go (with your road trip food) to get your through the day until dinner time. Have a more “formal” breakfast and dinner somewhere you can make healthy choices.  The idea is to eat 3 main meals a day with 1 or 2 snacks in between (depending on your specific daily needs), so you can keep your sugar levels stable and don’t be starving by dinner time.      

While You Are Planning Your Trip

You have to plan your road trip to decide your route and figure out where to sleep right?  Well, make the same plans for your dinner. Make sure you know a place to have dinner that meets your healthy eating standards.  

While You Are Getting Ready for Your Trip 

The same way you plan your clothes and toiletries, plan what you need to eat on the go. Get ready a cooler, the right size for the length of your road trip. You can even find electric fridges that you can connect to your car.   

Get a large water cooler so you can always have fresh water handily. It could happen that you think you are hungry when it’s only thirst.  Or that if you have to stop to buy water you are tricked into buying a treat for the trip.  

Think about what utensils you might need to have your lunches on the go. You’ll probably need a salad bowl, plastic plates, cups and cutlery. Paper towels, baby wipes, oil, salt and vinegar or salad dressing. Tupperware and zip locks are always useful to store leftovers or to prepare travel snacks for the day.

Buy enough of your favorite healthy food, especially the long lasting and easy to store and to eat on the go, so it can last for the whole road trip in case you can’t find it on the road. Some healthy road trip food suggestions:

  • Nuts, nuts, nuts and more nuts! Different types and choices so you don’t get bored. 
  • The Laughing Cow and mini Babybel cheese which doesn’t need refrigeration.
  • Healthy whole grain and low sugar pita chips or crackers.
  • Beef Jerky.
  • Edamame.
  • Small tuna cans.
  • Single serving peanut and almond butter. 
  • Some healthy cookies and/or healthy bars (Luna, King) for the sweet tooth emergencies.
  • Individual milk packages.
  • Ready to microwave noodles or similar for emergency dinners. 
  • Microwavable popcorn for hotel movie nights.
  • Any other healthy and non-perishable road trip food or travel snack that you like and you think might not be easy to find on your trip.  

If you are bringing a cooler with you:

  • Individual servings of guacamole/hummus.
  • Already sliced cheese
  • Cut veggies: Baby carrots, celery, capsicum etc.
  • Fruit

While You Are On the Road

Now, we have already talked about having determined ahead of time where are you having your dinner and your breakfast. Those will be your “formal” meals. Lunch and snacks will be the road trip food on the go. 

It might happen that in some of the places you are spending the night there is absolutely no option for a healthy restaurant. Well, that day you can switch meals and make your lunch your “formal” meal and eat your dinner at the hotel with something you bought on the way or from your road trip food.

Even if you are on the road you should maintain your healthy portion sizes and your combination of meals. If you don’t know what are those read this post.

Eat every 3-4 hours combining protein, carbs and fats so you stay full and have long term energy. Remember, if you only eat carbs you’ll be hungry again soon. Also choose whole grain versus white carbs, which have a lower Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, a much better choice when wanting to be on control of your weight.  Learn about GI & GL here if you don’t know about it yet.

Plan Ahead What Are You Having for Lunch

There is no need to plan ahead every lunch on your road trip but at least know what specifically are you having for lunch each day.

Where Are You Buying Food?

If you are planning to go through a large town with chances of having a supermarket, make plans to stop there and re-stock with healthy road trip food and check if maybe they have some prepared healthy food (soup, salad, grilled fish, meat etc.) for the day. 

Never lose the opportunity of having a healthy meal. The possibilities and options of eating healthy on the go are limited.  

Where Are You Eating?

Depending on your road trip maybe you can find a nice pick nick table where you can prepare a salad and have a proper meal. 

But if you don’t, then you need to be prepared ahead of time and make some healthy sandwiches or other food that you can eat in a park or even in the car, like cheese, crackers, prosciutto, nuts, fruit etc. 

What Are You Eating?

I already gave you some tips on what can you have for lunch when you are on the road. Here are some more healthy road trip options:

  • Any type of salad including some protein for long lasting energy: tuna, chicken, etc.
  • Whole grain crackers. 
  • A homemade sandwich with whole grain bread, some protein, lettuce and some salad dressing.
  • A selection of cheese, prosciutto and ham.
  • Yogurt.
  • Fruit.

Have the travel snacks for in between meals. The objective is that you don’t eat too much but frequently (every 3 hours) so the food doesn’t make you feel tired and sleepy but at the same time you don’t get hungry so you end stopping anywhere and graving anything to eat. Or you are so hungry by dinner time that after having chosen the right place to eat, your brain is so low in sugar that won’t let you make the right food choices.   

Plan Ahead Where Are You Having Dinner

If you have been eating every 3 hours a healthy choice you shouldn’t get too hungry to dinner time. This way you can think properly what are you ordering from the menu. Remember to avoid carbs at night.

If for some reason there is not a right place to have dinner, buy something already prepared ahead of time or use your road trip food. If you end in a restaurant that is not the best option, try to order something as healthy as possible, like a chicken salad or a vegetable omelet or ask if they can prepare something closer to your needs. 

Remember, the most important part is to be prepared and always know what, when and how are you going to have your meals.

Have a Nice Trip and Bon Appétit!

Do you think you'll use this information on your next trip? 

I'd appreciate your feedback!


About the Author

Arantxa Mateo

Arantxa is a trained biologist, nutrition specialist and weight management coach. Born in Spain, she spent 5 years in Australia before moving to the US. Her motto is "Food is a pleasure. Nobody deserves to be on a diet."

Find out more about Arantxa and 32 Mondays >>

Write a comment

Comments: 5
  • #1

    Karey Stribling (Wednesday, 01 February 2017 12:29)

    Excellent post. Keep posting such kind of information on your site. Im really impressed by your site.
    Hey there, You have done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they'll be benefited from this site.

  • #2

    Lindsy Isreal (Saturday, 04 February 2017 21:33)

    Attractive component of content. I simply stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I'll be subscribing on your feeds and even I success you access consistently quickly.

  • #3

    Kelle Kellems (Sunday, 05 February 2017 01:18)

    I've been surfing on-line greater than three hours nowadays, but I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It's beautiful value enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the internet will likely be a lot more useful than ever before.

  • #4

    Diana Jennings-Sanchez (Tuesday, 17 July 2018 20:28)

    You gave some common sense options, hopefully this works for me. I am going on road trip, for hours... Thank you

  • #5

    Arantxa Mateo (Thursday, 19 July 2018 08:05)

    Hi Diana,

    I have done many road trips and they can be really fun, but eating healthy is always challenging. I am glad you found the information on my article and I am sure the tips and ideas are going to work for you too! Enjoy your road trip!