Car-Friendly “Clean” Snacks!

We are right in the middle of the summer which means many of you are going on vacation! And for many of us, vacation means car rides! Whether it’s a day trip to a museum a few hours away, or 12+ hours to the beach, logging time in the car can present it’s challenges especially in regards to eating. This doesn’t mean that you have to forgo all the hard work and discipline that you have had through the year in regards to your health though! Smart snacking is totally doable! It just takes a little planning!

Car-Friendly "Clean" Snacks :

Before I get into some clean snacks, I’d like to mention a few things:

– Decide your goals for vacation/trip.

Do you want to throw all caution to the wind? Would you like to keep your normal routine? Maybe mix it up with some indulgences and your normal? I’ve found that defining this goal at the beginning of vacation keeps me on track. It’s not for me to decide what you should do! Just remember that just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean that your calories are! Personally, I indulge a little bit but try to keep in line as much as possible.

– Try to get a workout (even if it’s a quick one) the morning before you leave in the car, or once you hit your destination.

All that sitting can take a toll on a body that’s used to moving! If you can’t get one in, then use your restroom stops to stretch, do some jumping jacks and push-ups, just to get the blood flowing! Plus, I just feel like it sets the tone for the trip!

– My general rule of thumb? When you can eat well, do it. When you can’t, do the best you can.

There will be times for both on vacation! (Generally more for eating terrible!)


My family just took a trip to DC/Maryland, so here is a glimpse into what I packed!

Car-Friendly "Clean" Snacks :

First of all–get a travel cooler bag! I bought this cute one at the grocery store for $6.99 before we left town. There are smaller and bigger ones, so get what works for your family. I like these smaller bags as the coolers (which I’ve travelled with before) take up so much room and are never convenient to get into!


– Cut up mini cucumbers, red and yellow peppers, celery, strawberries, and frozen blueberries

– Hard Boiled Eggs

– Individual Cottage Cheese Packages

– Packages of sliced apples and grapes

– Cheese Sticks

I also had another bag (not pictured) filled with things that didn’t need to be kept cold:

– Granola or Protein Bars (homemade or bought)

– Packets of almond/nut butter

– Almonds

– Nut-thins (my favorite “cracker”)

Here are some other great options for vacation/travel friendly snacks that I’ve taken in the past:

– Protein powder in ziploc baggie with a “to-go” container of almond milk/water and shaker bottle

– Individual servings of hummus

– Homemade Trail/Snack Mix (Here is one to try!)

And of course–lots and lots of water! It’s easy to make up your calories with drinks on trips, so try and keep a water bottle with you at all times!

I have 2 kids, ages 6 and 4, so I have to keep them in mind too. They do eat some of what I do, but of course, want things like fruit snacks and graham crackers! I add a few things in especially for them as a treat for our trip!

Keep in mind the refrigeration once you hit your destination. I went a little overboard on what I packed and didn’t have the appropriate way to keep it cold so ended up throwing a lot away. :( And in case you are wondering–YES–I do throw in some guilty pleasure driving snacks for trips! (Twizzlers..Peanut M&M’s, anyone??) I just have to take caution with these as I will end up binging on them due to car boredom!

P.S. Don’t forget to pack plastic silverware, a bag for disposing trash while in the car, and napkins/wet wipes!

I’d love to get some ideas from you all! What are some car-friendly “clean” snacks that you take with you, either on vacation or in every day life?! (All of the snacks above are actually my “every day” snacks!)


  1. Michelle says

    One of my favorite snacks whether its for traveling or every day would have to be rice cakes, with almond butter, and banana slices on top. Yum!

  2. says

    I pack the above, but we also pack pretzels and jerky. I make energy bites (like nutrient dense raw cookie dough deliciousness). The girls and I will make trail mix. We will pack stuff to make wraps on the go (hummus, lunch meats, cut up lettuce in a baggie). I have also been known to bring along a couple of whole bananas, peel them in the car and make “banana sushi” (put peanut butter on whole wheat tortilla, roll a banana in it, and then slice like sushi). I also make them “mileage bracelets” since we drive for 13 hours. Every 25 miles they got a cheerio and every hundred miles either a fruity whole grain cereal or a sugar free Life Saver (depends on what year we are talking about!) We would string these bracelets before the trip and they put them on in the car. That way they would know when we were getting closer and we would not be asked “are we there yet?” Not in their younger years, but in their older years now (8,9) I pack toothpicks and let them create art with their grapes before they eat them. They make all kinds of neat shapes or animals. Keeps them busy and helps the snacks last longer. We also indulge in the licorice, but we get the rope kind and they also get to create designs with it while they snack. Lots of playing with food allowed in the car!

  3. says

    Oh, and since I am a fitness momma also, we have always packed along a Frisbee, a jump rope, and a resistance band for a quick little “energy pump” while Daddy pumps gas. We just go off to a grassy area and do some quick “jump the river” with the rope, or “muscle builders” with the band, or toss the Frisbee or ball around if we have enough space. We also do “car-obics” every hour. I turn on some Tobymac or Britt Nicole and lead them in a silly seated aerobics “class” and they would get to take turns being the leader also. We would focus on arm raises, torso twists, isometric leg extensions, ankle circles, tushy squeezes, etc. Other times, we just turn up the music and have a dance party!!! (Buckled in, of course!)

    • Angie 2 says

      Love these great, active family ideas Jaime! My guys really like Toby Mac and I love Britt Nicole and Mandisa. Can’t help but move to those artist’s tunes! Puts smiles on everyone’s faces too; more “happy hormones” means a more enjoyable trip. 😉

    • Candice says

      Jamie these are GREAT ideas.. Do you have a blog or You Tube channel? We love all of those artist also. :0)

  4. Christy says

    Off subject question … I watched Dr.Oz the other talk about
    Feeling tired all the time, dr.oz had a lady dr. On the show
    Talking about yeast over growth in our body’s making us tired.
    They talk about spitting into a glass of water in the morning
    To see if you have this problem. Does anyone know what I
    Am talking about or has had this problem? I sure think I do.
    Any help would be great.

    • Doris H. says

      What you need to research is the Ultimate Candida Diet and the symptoms that cause Candida. The spit test is no very accurate but the symptom checker will blow your mind away. I have been on this diet(it’s a huge life change) and so far have lost 90 lbs and my energy level is huge!!!

  5. says

    This is such a great post with so many wonderful tips!! I love these suggestions. :-) We just came home from vacation Saturday. It wasn’t a super long drive (3 hours) but with four kids (2-7yrs) it was long enough haha On the way home we really didn’t eat much of anything. We try not to eat or drink in the car since we just got it about a month ago. We were going camping and I knew all that campfire food wasn’t going to be very healthy…especially with no way to refrigerate healthy food (We had a cabin but no kitchen or frig). I cooked up Quinoa (I made mexican Quinoa, tomato basil quinoa, curried quinoa, etc). I made one for each day so I could eat it for dinner, measured out everything and counted calories. I ended up forgetting them in our fridge! So I didn’t have any healthy food but my granola bars and apples with us. :-/ I stuck to my 10K training plans though and stayed active so I maintained my weight over vacation which was an accomplishment. :-) I’ll have to keep this post in mind if we ever go on a longer road trip. :-)

  6. Andrea says

    When I head out the door I take a larger lunch cooler from Target (I think $14) and it is soft on the outside but keeps form and zips. Also, use those blue ice blocks to keep it cold. I use small containers for grilled chicken & salad, banana’s, apples, sliced cucumbers, granola or protein bars, salsa and the occasional Sunchips. Grapes in a ziplock, lowfat cheese sticks and brown rice triscuits are delicious too! Small containers of hummus for cucumber sticks. On the salad I use chopped veggies and sliced almonds or unsalted sunflower seeds. My water is either in my Camelbac (Target) or a 24 oz. Tervis Tumbler with lid (Buy at the actual Tervis store or Bed, Bath and Beyond, Lifetime guarantee) Love throwing in in a lemon or lime wedge or a cucumber slice. :)

  7. Francie says

    I LOVE these ideas from everyone! Not only are these great options for vacations but they are great ideas for school lunches, too! On a side note, do any of you have a recipe for healthy (low, butter, little to no sugar), granola bars? The recipe I have now has more butter and sugar than I care to use. Thank you so much…and I’d just like to had how very, very grateful I am to have found your blot, Claire! :) :)

  8. Angie 2 says

    The timing on this post couldn’t be more perfect! My BFF just asked me the other day for some on the go snack ideas or make and take recipes that she could tote along to long swim meets, soccer practice etc. Last weekend, she found herself having to buy her hungry daughter a plain white bagel and cream cheese just to get them through the morning until they could get home for lunch!

    I’m a newly certified Dr. Sears LEAN (Health and Wellness)Coach (hope that’s ok to mention) and I was able to share a few of our suggestions. Like many of you, we try to encourage lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and avoid items like fruit snacks and sugary, empty calorie drinks with artificial flavors or colors. It’s very common to see those options at your average sports practice or game. However, the last thing we want for already stressed on the go Moms, or those who are trying to relax on vacation, is for their kids to be all hyped up on sugars and artificial junk, especially when they are stuck for hours together in the car, or then having to deal with grouchy and irritable kiddos when they crash from those “foods” or sodas later! Ugh.

    As a Wellness Coach, I also encourage whole grains, rather than white sugar and white flour carbs, so no regular white rice cakes or pretzels. Brown rice or whole grain cakes with nut butter, and/or bananas is definitely delish. I really liked the brown rice Triscuts, but on closer inspection found that the ingredients listed “Torula Yeast” which is one of many sneaky ways that food manufacturers (even supposedly healthy brands) sneak in alternate form-or percentages-of MSG into their products. FDA loopholes make it possible. The average consumer just isn’t aware. I’ve started eating “Mama’s Gone Crackers” brand (gluten free too) which has a variety of flavors and includes nuts and seeds. I like those Nut Thins too.

    One of our LEAN snacks is very similar to Jaime’s “sushi”, but we spread a little nut butter on the whole wheat/grain tortilla, leave the banana whole, drizzle with a small amount of honey-or sprinkle flax or chia seeds for a less messy. less sweet option-and call it a banana burrito. Great for a power up before a workout, and kids love it.

    Other ideas are frozen grapes, very refreshing, OR slice red grapes in half, mix with 8 ounces of Greek yogurt and 1-2 cans of chunk chicken or freshly shredded chicken (left over roasted is great) and sliced almonds. Roll into large romaine lettuce leaves, or fill a whole grain pita, for a healthy on the go snack or lunch. Also, you can add a couple of TSPs of Orange or Apple Cranberry or other 100% juice concentrate to plain or vanilla honey Greek yogurt and use that as a fruit dip; strawberries, apples and cut up melon work great. Just keep those wipes handy! (Toothpicks or plastic forks keep hands cleaner too.)

    Of course, those mini bell peppers, cukes, baby carrots and celery go great with the protein filled hummus. Unsalted almonds or other nuts are a great source of protein as well,and good fats. Personally, I’m sensitive to the nitrates in most lunch meats, so I try to pack other forms of protein. I found packaged dried chickpeas with sea salt recently, reminded me of cornnuts, but much healthier. Edamame is great too, as are those Quinoa salads. My teen athletes like jerky, but for every day, I find most packaged jerky to be too high in sodium and other ingredients I don’t want. Clare, I liked your idea of toting along hard boiled eggs, how easy is that! If the kids balk at plain cottage cheese, adding a little unsweetened applesauce or diced peaches or pineapple helps.

    Many summers my family has pulled out our dehydrator and made our own dried fruits/fruit chips and fruit leather. Throw into ready to go small ziplocs, or mix with nuts for homemade trail mix. Dried fruits are handy, but some packaged brands can be high in sugars. A fellow coach told me that her Costco just started carrying some banana chips that don’t have added sugars.

    That same fellow Coach, who has two young children, shared one of her family’s favorite on the go snack with me:

    “I will put some medjool dates and walnuts/pecans/almonds in a food processor and then roll them into balls and then roll the balls in shredded coconut. They are super easy to make and great to tote around on the go for kids (or adults!) I’ve also added spices and shredded carrots to make them taste similar to carrot cake. So yummy!”

    I agree with Francie, most packaged, and some homemade, granola bars (except Lara bars) have much more added sugars than I’d like, so I’m anxious to try yours. I’m with you ladies however on having a few guilty pleasures like Red Vines or Peanut M& M’s, it’s vacation after all! :) If we’re traveling down the (west)coast I can’t resist salt water taffy! My newest addiction though is Brookharts’ chocolate covered Acai berries or Pomegranate-mmmm. Warning, it’s way too easy to eat more than one portion at a time!

    • Angie 2 says

      Whoops, that should read TBS, not Tsp, for the juice concentrate. Fingers got ahead of my brain! lol

  9. Lesa Marie says

    Bananas are our favorite. Peanut butter and bread or crackers. Cinnamon almonds and other nuts. ivlive celery which also goes well with peanutbutter. Water…water…water.

  10. Cord says

    When we take trips to Colorado during Christmas to ski, I like to pack spicy pretzels (good because the “heat” on them keeps you from eating too much) and cuties. Its nice to pack the cuties in ziplock bags so you can put the peal in it when your done.


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