Guide to packing healthy road trip snacks and meals

Your Healthy Guide to Road Trip Snacks and Meals

Dr. Kimberley O'Brien Blog, Food, Health, Lifestyle 8 Comments

Forest and canoe

Vacations are meant for fun and relaxation!  They allow us to let loose, break free from our daily routine and go with the flow.  There’s an opportunity to meet new people, see new sights and to discover new and delicious food!  For all of these reasons and more, I absolutely love to travel whether it’s for a quick road trip or a longer getaway abroad.

While traveling I’ll often allow myself to indulge in foods I don’t regularly eat at home.  I love visiting eclectic little restaurants and trying new and unique dishes!  For me this is an integral part of the travel or vacation experience.  Though I’ll indulge in a few meals outside of my typical selection while traveling, my desire is still to feel healthy and energetic so I can take in all there is to see and explore. As a naturopathic doctor and healthy foodie I’ve achieved balance by packing a few nourishing meals and healthy road trip snacks while allowing myself freedom at dinner to try new and delicious food!


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How-to prepare healthy road trip snacks and meals:

The inspiration for this blog post was a road trip my husband, Michael, and I enjoyed last week to Nelson, BC.  We struck a perfect balance between enjoying healthy pre-made meals while leaving room for delicious indulgences!  Nelson is a mecca for healthy foodies and offers a diverse array of unique restaurants that craft delicious meals using farm fresh ingredients.  Although there were many amazing restaurants we were eager to explore, we split our drive over 2 days and needed quick meals we could easily eat in the car in addition to healthy road trip snacks.  I also wanted to pack our breakfasts so we could relax with a cup of tea at our cottage in the morning instead of immediately heading out in search of food.

 

 

The prep work was well worth the 2-3 hours of time invested and it saved us a lot of money we would have otherwise spent dining out.  I kept things simple and prepared only 3 recipes for this trip, including my Dijon Lime Quinoa Salad, Maple Walnut & Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and a batch of my Fall Spice Granola. We also brought Kombucha, Lara bars and apples as refreshments and simple road trip snacks.

 

A Healthy Guide to Road Trip Snacks and Meals

Dijon Lime Quinoa Salad

Packing a batch of Dijon Lime Quinoa Salad allowed us to save time on our drive to Nelson and eat healthy along the way.  The quinoa salad also made for fresh and tasty lunches at the cute cottage we rented just outside of town and saved us from having to drive in to Nelson whenever we were hungry.

Quinoa salad makes a great meal for road trips!

This quinoa and kale salad is perfect for road trips because it won’t wilt and still tastes just as fresh 2-3 days later. A quick lunch couldn’t be easier…all you need to bring is a fork!

Fall Spice Granola

Fall-Spice Granola is my absolute favourite cereal recipe and is one of our regular staples at home and on the road.  It’s deliciously spiced, and despite it’s name is perfect to enjoy anytime of year!  You will never buy a box of breakfast cereal again once you realize how simple, cost-effective and delicious it can be to make your own!

I packed a carton of unsweetened coconut milk and some sliced strawberries and kiwi to enjoy with the granola each morning.  The nuts and seeds make this granola quite filling and it’s a perfect option to fuel yourself for a busy day exploring!

Healthy road trip breakfast in the sunshine!

My favourite morning of our getaway involved the opportunity to explore my creative side over breakfast while taking in the sunshine and birds chirping on our patio. It’s a morning I won’t soon forget now that I’ve returned to city life!

Maple Walnut & Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

The Maple Walnut & Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins made for a quick and easy snack on-the-go and ensured I reached my quota for chocolate intake while away 😉 All joking aside, the muffins are a healthy yet delicious snack that tided us over between meals without breaking the budget!

Maple Walnut Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Additional Recipes for Travel Meals and Road Trip Snacks

Other Healthy Life Redesign recipes that are perfect to bring along on your next adventure include my Banana Blueberry Muffins and Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

Banana blueberry muffins gluten free road trip snack
Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Fabulous options for quick breakfasts include Apricot Honey-Nut Muesli and Healthy Roasted Nut and Seed Muesli.

Apricot honey-nut muesli
Healthy Roasted Nut and Seed Muesli

Like the quinoa salad, my Strawberry Mint Chickpea Salad is another delicious option that packs well for road trip meals since it’s dressed in advance. It’s fresh, delicious and flavourful!

Strawberry Mint Chickpea Salad

Simple Spinach Guacamole makes a great dip to pack along to enjoy with organic corn chips or chopped veggies!

If you’d like to bring a hot meal and have a stove or microwave where you’ll be staying, a batch of Simple Vegetarian Chili can do just the trick! It’s also a delicious meal to enjoy around the campfire.

Simple Spinach Guacamole
Simple vegetarian chili

Nothing beats reconnecting with nature!

This trip Michael and I were fortunate to be staying in a lovely cottage on a beautiful mountain acreage just outside of Nelson.

Nelson BC Barn Cottage

This was the beautiful property we rented in Nelson.
It was such a rejuvenating place to stay on our mini-vacation!

We enjoyed absolutely amazingly delicious fresh eggs from the free-range chickens every morning. We literally plucked them right from the hen house! I’ve never before had eggs with such a thick, golden yolk and so much flavour. It sure made me dream of full-time country living!

Happy Free-Range Chickens
Free range road trip breakfast eggs
Farm fresh eggs right from the chicken coop!

Bringing along a few key dishes enabled us to stick to a healthy meal plan while saving money for the other delicious indulgences we enjoyed while there; like sipping Oso Negro coffee on our patio, savouring red wine next to the campfire and taking in all of the delicious dinner options Nelson offered us!

Best cafe in Nelson BC - Oso Negro

Michael and I on the patio at Oso Negro, our favourite Nelson café!

What are your favourite healthy foods to bring along on a road trip? How do you strike a balance between indulging in new foods and maintaining your health and energy? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

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Dr. Kimberley O’Brien is a Naturopathic Doctor with a medical practice in Calgary, Alberta. She is the founder of Healthy Life Redesign and creator of the Elimination Diet Meal Plan online program. Her mission is to help you own your health and live a life you love!


Comments 8

  1. These look delicious! I really like the idea of the dijon lime quinoa salad. Something that stays fresh and is just as delicious after the first day is great to have along. I’ve always brough granola and muffins but finding something that doesnt need to be heated yet is still filling has always given me trouble.Thanks for theae new ideas!

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      Hi Markus! I agree…Quinoa Salad solves a lot of potential meal problems while on the road! I also love to make a large batch of it when I’m at home since it makes for a quick and easy packed lunch throughout the week. Happy road-tripping! 🙂

  2. I am always looking for more snack ideas to bring with us for road trips when we drive down to calgary, or even on the plane to toronto!

    Will definitely use some of these for our next trip!

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  3. Kimberley, you are such a superwoman! The foods you packed look perfect for a road trip. I find if you don’t take the time and put some food prep effort in, you end up stopping at the on-route hamburger joint and then feeling sick and greasy for the rest of the ride. Not fun at all!

    I’m also loving the quinoa salad. Your comment that it stays fresh for days is so great to hear. I’ll definitely be adding that to my list for my next road trip! 🙂 I hope you and your husband had a wonderful time.

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      Hi Cassie! I definitely agree with you on the importance of food prep! Otherwise an unhealthy stop on the way to my destination seems to set the tone for how I feel the first few days I’m away.

      Thank you so much for your compliments 🙂

  4. Great idea to cover an under-appreciated subject. My little boys are a bit too young (and restless) for long car trips, but when we get to that point I know I’d like to avoid the typical travel junkfood scenario. Some wonderful ideas to think about here!

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