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Woman snacking in car on roadtrip

Best and Worst Picks for Travel Snacks

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Let’s face it: It’s easy for our eating habits to slip into “vacation mode” when traveling. We’re on different schedules, likely without access to our usual healthy options, plus we want to sample the various foods that are unique to the area we’re visiting.

But if we can at least keep things in check nutritionally while we’re en route to our destination, that’s half the battle.

Read on to get the rundown on travel snacks, including options to pack ahead and last-minute gas station finds.

But first, a few pro tips:

  • Read the labels. Look for foods that pack well for travel and provide good protein, fiber and/or healthful fats to help sustain energy and keep hunger at bay.
  • Stay hydrated. Travel, especially airline travel, can be dehydrating, so be sure to drink up. Buy a bottle of water once you’re through security or bring your own reusable bottle and fill up once past security.


Cheese: String cheese or cheese crisps like Whisps or Just the Cheese bars are great for on-the-go snacking.

Protein Chips

Protein Bars: Bars such as Bulletproof and KIND Bars, especially STRONG + KIND bars and NUT & SPICES KIND bars, are packed with protein, making them a great travel snack.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Nuts: Dry roasted almonds, pistachios and cashews are great options. I especially love Protein Almonds by Optimum Nutrition.

Jerky: Look for jerky with no added nitrites or nitrates and options that are lower in sodium and sugar such as The New Primal Beef Jerky Honey & Cayenne.

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Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn: Keep in mind this option has 540 milligrams of sodium per bag.

Protein Bars: Protein bars such as ONE and FitCrunch are available at convenience stores, but contain artificial sweeteners.

Nature Valley CRUNCHY bar: This is a typical gas station find, but is not the healthiest option with 29 grams of carbs, 11 grams of added sugar and only 3 grams of protein.


Beef Jerky: Most gas station jerky brands are loaded with added nitrites, nitrates, sodium and often MSG.

Skittles, Starbursts and other sugary, fruit candy: These candies are essentially pure sugar and are also filled with artificial food dyes.

Cheetos: This ever-popular snack is essentially deep-fried corn meal, layered with MSG and artificial food dyes Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6.

Ritz Cheese Crackers: White flour, oil, sugar and high fructose corn syrup are the main ingredients of this snack, along with artificial food dyes Yellow 5 & 6.

Editor’s note: Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples nor is she paid to recommend items. This originally appeared on WGNO’s “FUELED Wellness with Molly” segment.

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