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Sticking with the apparent, totally unintended theme of the last few weeks, today I want to share a quick list of some road-trip appropriate snacks (and a new snack ball recipe!!!) with you.

Packing your own food for a road trip doesn’t have to be time consuming, painful, daunting, or any other word with negative connotations. 

Really, all it has to be is a few minutes to think to yourself, “What would I like to eat today that I can have in the car without making a giant mess?” And then a few more minutes actually putting those foods into a travel-friendly container (think Mason jar, Bento box, reusable baggie, or — the old standby — the package it came in).

See? Easy. 

Smoothies

Okay, probably not where your mind goes when you’re thinking of road trip snacks. But it’s where mine goes. And those smoothies go right in the car with me. They’ve even gone on planes and trains with me. I’m like the Sam I Am of smoothies…

Overnight Oats

Another not-so-obvious choice, but overnight oats have also gone with me to lots of places. As long as you’re not driving (unless you’re super talented at driving with a knee), you can happily dig in to some overnight oats on the road. Just don’t forget a spoon because no one wants to eat oats with their hands.

Granola/Protein Bars

A little more of a classic choice because they’re so easy to grab and go. Just aim for one with recognizable, easy-to-pronounce ingredients, and no added sugars. Yes, they do exist. Some of my faves: Health Warrior, Lara Bar, Go Raw, Amazing Grass, and GoMacro.

Nuts/Seeds, Trail Mix

Nuts and seeds are just as good a grab-and-go option as bars. And, if you’re getting the good kind (you know, raw, unsalted, etc. etc.), they’re probably even better for you. And they’ve got those healthy fats and that protein that’s gonna keep you feeling full.

Fruit

We’re not talking about those syrupy fruit cups you used to (still?!) pack in your lunch. We’re talking whole fruit. Like real pieces of fruit. It’s the ultimate grab-and-go. Some fruit definitely travels better than others, though — like apples and bananas. You can always stow some in containers, too. I’m thinking grapes and a pre-peeled orange, even chunks of melon. Oh, maybe some strawberries…the possibilities are endless!

Protein Powder/Greens Powder

I love this option just because it could annoy the hell out of any other passengers. Okay, fine, and it's good for you. Empty your packet of powder into one of those Blender bottles filled with water (or I guess a smoothie if you’re ultra-prepared) and shake it up. That metal ball sound will drive everyone crazy, but you’ll be so hopped up on greens and protein you won’t even care.

Popcorn, Chips, Pretzels

Super easy option: Grab a healthier version of your favorite snack food and just tote that bag along. And, by healthier, I don’t mean a version that’s got all those health halos splashed across the bag. I mean one that’s got minimal ingredients you actually recognize.

Snack Balls

Snack balls are probably tied for first on my list of favorite snacks. And they just so happen to be ultra portable, too. I’ve definitely taken these babies along on car trips, train trips, and plane trips. No fuss, no muss.

Crackers With Hummus or Nut/Seed Butter

Another option if you’re a passenger or if you’re not a skillful knee driver. (Just to be clear, totally not recommending driving hands-free unless you’re in one of those kinds of cars. Totally not sold on the safety of those either…) Dipping in to some hummus or nut butter is a perfect way to pass the time, in my opinion.

Sammiches (PB&J, PB&B, PB&C, etc. etc.)

That last one would be peanut butter and chocolate because that’s a totally classic combo you might be missing out on. 

(P.S. When I say PB or peanut butter, I totally mean that as an all-encompassing term for all the nut butters and seed butters you can use. It doesn’t have to be PB. For me, a lot of the time, it’s not.)

Anyway, the go-to paper bag staple has saved my ass in multiple travel emergencies. It could save yours, too, just sayin’.

Here’s even more ideas because you know I’ll never leave you hanging:

  • Dates + nut butter
  • Dark chocolate
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Kale chips
  • Rice cake + nut butter
  • Cereal
  • Cookies
  • Dried fruit
  • Single-serve applesauce

This is certainly not an exhaustive list or the definitive list of road trip snacks. These are honestly just things that have worked for me in the past. Except nuts…that ol’ snowflake digestive system just can’t handle the nuts solo.

(That was a weird sentence, yes?)

Speaking of nuts, I’ve got a nut-free snack ball recipe for you today. That’s right — we’re making snack balls without peanut butter, cashews, or almonds and, instead, relying on the magic of sunflower seeds.

Why are sunflower seeds so magical, you might ask?

Well, they’re way cheaper than raw nuts, for starters. And you can use sunflower seeds just about anywhere you’d normally use nuts. Plus, they’re a most excellent source of amino acids, healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins.

We’re also using maple syrup instead of regular ol’ syrup. Or regular ol’ sugar, for that matter.

While it’s still sugar, it’s a natural form of sugar that’s got some redeeming qualities. Like, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. And it’s lower on the Gylcemic Index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar the way the white stuff does.

An added bonus? 

It’s a little easier on a sensitive digestive system. All those refined sugars can light a fire in your belly — and not in a good way. More like bloating, cramping, constipating, and gassing. And maybe even more like candida, irritable bowel syndrome, and leaky gut.

Maple syrup doesn’t (read: shouldn’t if you’re getting the right kind) have all those chemicals. Look for one that’s got one ingredient: maple syrup. 

A step better? Organic maple syrup.

And don’t worry about all that Grade A Grade B nonsense. That has nothing to do with the nutritional value, just the color.

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So now I wanna know what your favorite road trip snack is? Please tell me you’ve taken a smoothie on a car ride, please please please.