Ayesha Qureshi
Ayesha Qureshi, MPH

This article was made possible through the support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which has sponsored Qcity Health since 2010.

Ayesha Qureshi
Ayesha Qureshi, MPH

Spring is upon us, and summer is just around the corner. This means road trips may be on your agenda. And with road trips come snacks and munchies.

With so many mass-produced snacks at our fingertips, it’s tempting to grab a bag of chips or a box of cookies. But chips and other junk foods can lead to mindless snacking, which results in the consumption of empty calories.

Empty calories are foods with little or no nutritional value. Hence the term “junk food.”

With just a little planning, you can fill your road trip with healthy, nutritious (and yummy) alternatives, which also helps you avoid those fast food stores along every highway exit.

Remember to choose foods that are high in protein and whole grain, high-fiber snacks. They’ll keep you fuller longer.

Here are some suggestions:

Pre-packaged Snacks

Not all are bad. Go down the cereal aisle in your grocery store. You’ll find a plethora of protein bars, granola bars, and fruit and nut bars. These not only taste good but also are better for you than a candy bar. If salt is your thing, pretzels are healthy alternative to chips. Want salt and sweet? Trail mix is another great option.


Apples, oranges (or other citrus fruits like tangerines and halos), and bananas keep well on a trip. Dried fruit is another great option. Just be sure to get those with no sugar added.


Baby carrots and sweet peppers are yummy and do well on the road.

Nuts and Peanuts

These are great and filling, but avoid the ones that have been overly roasted with added salt.

Other Proteins and Dairies

If you are able to keep a cooler filled with ice, take along some yogurt, cheese sticks, and hard-boiled eggs. They make great snacks.


Water, water, water. Don’t forget to pack plenty of bottled water.

You don’t have to sacrifice your diet and nutrition simply because you’re on the road. Nor must you sacrifice taste. With a little planning, you can have an enjoyable road trip without all the junk food. Healthy travels!

Ayesha Qureshi is a certified health and wellness coach and has a background in health behavior and health education.