Driving? Try These Take-Along Snacks

Eating well when on the road -- it can be done!

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

You're in the car all day it seems -- for business, chores, even vacations. It's hard to eat while on the road, much less eat right, but it can be done. So what are some good food selections for driving? Fruits and vegetables would be at the top of my list. Lower-fat dairy products work well, too (keep cold in the car, invest in a car cooler!) along with whole grains and nuts. Lean meats are a nice addition, too, if you can keep them well chilled in the car (such as a turkey breast sandwich on a whole grain bagel).

Take-Along Snacks

The following tote-able take-along snacks must be easy to carry, easy to eat on the road, (some may require being kept in an ice chest though) and be reasonably healthful. What does this mean? It means it can't have too much fat or sugar. This rules out many of the snacks we are so tempted to take with us like those crackers and cheese snacks or those gummy fruit snacks, chewy granola bars and fruit filled breakfast bars -- which list sugar as their first ingredient.

Crackers: (containing canola oil or soybean oil)

  • Pretzel Rods
    3 Rods contain 120 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g fiber
    (First three ingredients are flour, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil)
  • Reduced Fat Wheat Thins
    1 ounce or 16 crackers contain 130 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1 g fiber
    (First three ingredients are flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and defatted wheat germ)
  • Reduced Fat Triscuit
    1 ounce or 7 wafers contain 120 calories, 3 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 4 g fiber
    (First three ingredients are whole wheat, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt)

Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars

These are the only granola bars I found that use canola oil and don't list sugar as the first ingredient!

  • Oats 'N Honey or Cinnamon
    2 bars give you 180 calories, 6 grams fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 29 g carbohydrate, and 2 grams fiber
    (First three ingredients: whole grain rolled oats, sugar, canola oil)
  • Peanut Butter
    2 bars give you 180 calories, 6 grams fat (1 g saturated fat), 29 g carbohydrate, and 2 grams fiber
    (First three ingredients: whole grain rolled oats, sugar, canola oil)

Fresh Fruit

I think the trick to making fresh fruit appealing is to keep it cold. So if you freeze some grapes or keep your apple or orange wedges well-chilled in the car, taking them out for a nice afternoon snack will be particularly refreshing. Because fruits don't have a lot of fat they don't contain large amounts of omega-6 nor omega 3s. Cantaloupe, however, contains a nice little dose of some omega-3s.

  • Orange Segments (chilled)
    1 cup contains 85 calories, no fat, 3.5 grams fiber (and 30% of the Daily Value for folic acid, 160% for vitamin C, and 9% for calcium)
  • Cantaloupe Cubes (chilled)
    1 cup contains 56 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 1.3 grams fiber (and 64% Daily Value for vitamin A, 15% Daily Value for folic acid, 113% Daily Value for vitamin C)

Dried Fruit Snacks

  • Sun Maid Fruit Bits
    1/4 cup gives you 120 calories, no fat, and 2 grams fiber
  • Del Monte Fruit & Nut Snacks (comes in snack packs)
    Cranberry Medley, 1 pack gives you 120 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber
  • Del Monte Fruit Snack (comes in snack packs)
    Tropical Mix, 1 pack gives you 90 calories, 1 gram fat, 1 gram fiber

Canned Fruit Snack Packs

  • Del Monte Fruit Pleasures Bite Size Delights
    Cherry Mixed Fruit, 1 individual can gives you 90 calories, 0 grams fat, and less than 1 gram fiber
  • Del Monte Fruit Pleasures Bite Size Delights
    Raspberry Flavored Peaches, 1 individual can gives you 80 calories, 0 grams fat, and less than 1 gram fiber

Portable Veggies

  • Edamame
    Go figure! These boiled soybeans in pods are all the rage -- even celebrities have been seen munching on them. Bags are available in the frozen food section of some supermarkets.
    * Before you leave on your trip, microwave 16 ounce bag in 1/4 water in a covered microwave-safe dish on HIGH for about 6-8 minutes. Drain and let them cool in the refrigerator overnight. Just pour them in a zip-lock bag and take them on your road trip (keep chilled if possible). Popping the soybeans from the pod (discard the pods), and eating them, keeps you busy on the road. This keeps you from eating too much too fast (like is the case with cookies and chips) and the soybeans make a nice sustainable (even nutritious) snack. Soybeans do contain some omega-6 fatty acids but they also contain some omega-3s.
    1/2 cup of shelled beans (about 1 1/8 cup beans in pods) contains 90 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 8 g fiber (and 10 grams protein!)
  • Baby carrots
    Ice cold baby carrots are a refreshing afternoon snack. They are crunchy, taste good, and are easy to eat out of the bag. You can find big or little bags of already-washed baby carrots in the produce section of most supermarkets. Keep them in the ice chest if you can to keep them nice and cold.
    10 baby carrots contain 38 calories, 0.5 gram fat, 3.2 grams fiber (and 25% Daily Value for vitamin A, 18% Daily Value for folic acid, and 14% Daily Value for vitamin C)

Snackable Breakfast Cereals

* Tasty but not too big on fiber:

  • Apple Cinnamon Cheerios
    3/4 cup gives you 120 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber
  • Cinnamon Life
    3/4 cup gives you 120 calories, 1 gram fat, and 2 grams

* Serious, higher fiber cereals:

  • Total Raisin Bran
    1 cups gives you 156 mg short omega-6, 1 mg long omega-6, and 14 mg of short omega-3's
  • Toasted Oatmeal Squares
    1 cup gives you 210 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 4 grams fiber
  • Multi-Bran Chex
    1 cup gives you 200 calories, 1.5 grams fat, and 8 grams fiber

Originally published June 4, 2003
Medically updated June 6, 2004.

©2004 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.



STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!