The Roadtrip Experience & Trail Mix!

Pin It Print Friendly and PDF We've all been there:  You're on a long road trip and you finally stop for gas. You're hungry. The gas station food options are pretty overwhelming.  STEP AWAY FROM THE LITTLE DEBBIES!

Summer is the season for roadtrips.  I'm actually on the first leg of a road trip right now. I drove to Toledo yesterday morning (Hello, 5:30 am highway travelers). Tomorrow and Sunday, I'll be driving to OBX (Outer Banks, North Carolina, for those who aren't familiar) to stay there for a week with my family.  Get ready for beach pictures! :)

As a frequent road tripper, I'm all too familiar with the food problem.  Kind of hard to eat healthily when you're on the road.  Here's what I picked during my drive yesterday (when I was a doofus and hadn't eaten breakfast before downing 2 cups of coffee and getting on the road):

Sabra Classic Hummus w/ Pretzels, Fresh Cut Strawberries

I was pretty lucky to walk into a rest stop/gas station combo with so many"fresh" options... so here are some tips for when you walk into the typical gas station...

The Good:
  • Fruit!  Look for fresh fruit cups and bananas.
  • Fresh. This includes fruit... basically, just look for something that seems to have recently been made.  No, that doesn't include those egg salad sandwiches they put in airtight boxes.
  • Jerky?  Beef Jerky can actually be pretty good - if you're okay with that being your only high sodium item of the day.  Turkey Jerky is leaner and occasionally has less sodium, so look for that.
  • Bars! Protein bars or granola bars can be a good option, but check the back to make sure they're not too high in sugar.  I'm a big fan of Fiber One bars and Luna bars.
  • Liquids?  Look for a bottle of low-sodium V-8.  Gets you some good nutrients without too many calories.

The Bad:
  • First, let's address the obvious. No Honey Buns. No glazed donuts. No brownies. No Little Debbies. I don't care how nostalgic it makes you feel. Don't do it.
  • Watch the nuts.  
  • Chex Mix & Gardettos are packed with carbs, fat, and calories.  
  • Back. Away. From. The. Chips.  They want to kill you.  Really, they do.
  • Store-bought trail mix is probably worse than you thought.  The combination of nuts (which you really only want a handful of a day) with dried fruit (usually high in sugar) and pretzels or candy m&ms makes trail mix really high calorie.  Make sure you read the nutritional information and multiply the calories per serving (what's typically listed) by the number of servings in the bag.  That way, you'll know how many calories you'll be consuming if you eat the whole bag. 

OR make your own trail mix! Here's what you need:

  • Nuts -- but go easy on them!  The point of making your own trail mix is to make it healthy -- so don't load up on the item that carries the most calories and fat.  Best nuts: Almonds, Walnuts
  • Cheerios -- dump these babies in!  At just 100 calories a cup, they're a great space filler (since you're probably going to mindlessly munch on trail mix while you're driving) while being low-calorie and heart-healthy!  Bonus Tip:  Banana Nut Cheerios are amazing.  Truly amazing.  You might become addicted but I'd suggest adding these.  I've noticed that they also take much longer to go stale because they've got a little coating on the outside.
  • Dried Fruit -- watch out, though.  When you're buying dried fruit, make sure you're not buying it coated in sugar.  I'd suggest something like cranberries or raisins - but again, be careful!
  • Wanna Make It Fancy?  Add wasabi almonds or wasabi peas to make it hot -- or sprinkle curry powder or mustard powder into the bowl for an extra punch.
Sidenote -- Right now I'm loving this recipe from FitSugar: Almonds, sunflower seeds, spicy wasabi peas, curry powder, and coconut flakes. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Hoping to try it this week!

How to make it:
If you'd like to know what you're consuming, measure each ingredient as you add it to a big bowl and take notes.  If a serving size of 1/4 a cup of nuts is 140 calories and you add a full cup, write down that you put 140x4 or 560 calories of nuts in.  By the end, you should know how many calories total are in the bowl.  Next, using snack size bags (NOT sandwich size), separate what's into the bowl into as many serving sizes as you can.  Divide the total amount of calories in the bowl by the number of bags you made -- and then you know roughly how many calories are in each bag.

Happy Roadtripping, all! I'll be back later with a few Trail Mix recipes!


  1. have fun in obx! i'll be there in three weeks :)

  2. I love making my own trail mix!

  3. OH, I love me some hummus. I love dipping the pretzel crisps in it. so tasty.

    Ask the Duplex

  4. Oh fun!

    If you find a trail mix recipe without nuts, swing it my way! I'm allergic to nuts! :(

    Although, I guess it wouldn't be called "trail mix" if it didn't have nuts. Sorta defeats the purpose...meh.

  5. Nicole- thanks! I'm en route right now & excited!
    Delaney- yay! Have any good recipes for your own trail mix? :)
    Monica- TOTALLY. Best. Combo. Ever. But for some reason the regular pretzels just don't make it as tasty as pretzel crisps!
    Rhoda- I gotcha, girl! Cheerios, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and either dried edmame or dried snow peas! Sometimes you can get wasabi covered Edamame or snow peas which is sooo good if you like spicy. Come to think of it, maybe I'll just have to make a post full of trail mix recipes this week!


  6. Guess what I just found...nut free trail mix! I've never seen it before in my life! I'm gonna try it, but dying to try a homemade recipe. I'm all for making things from scratch! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips