Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just planning on taking a long car trip, you should consider packing your own snacks to keep yourself and everyone in your car re-fueled, well-fed and happy.
However, before you pack the cookies and other junk foods, you might want to keep in mind some tips for food on-the-go. But remember, if you are the designated driver, don’t eat and drive.
While snacks like trail mix and granola are great for planes, they can be really messy, especially when spilled. Instead of packing foods with small pieces or clusters, consider larger food items like granola bars that don’t have a tendency to drop crumbs or small pieces of food everywhere.
When you’re taking a road trip, it is important to maintain a steady blood sugar to help you keep your energy up and stay alert. Instead of packing foods high in sugar that can cause you to crash after a few hours, think healthy. Try dried fruit strips and veggie sticks instead of cookies and chips. Bring a mixture of protein, fruit and veggies and other nutritious snacks to keep yourself well-nourished.
As much as I love garlic bread and leftover ribs, food odors are hard to get rid of, especially when you are driving with your windows closed on the highway. So unless you want to avoid driving at high speeds with your windows down, you may want to avoid foods with strong odors like Chinese takeout, curry, greasy fast food and foods with garlic.
While it may be tempting to bring chips and dip in the car, foods that require assembly or extra steps like dipping and spreading can be extremely hard to handle when you are in the car. Think about what would happen to your salsa if the driver drove over a bump. The results would not be pretty. If you are bringing fruit, consider pre-cutting it to avoid having a smelly garbage bag filled with pits and cores.
If you are taking a long road trip during the summer, don’t pack foods that are sensitive to heat. This may include things like leafy vegetables, mayonnaise, cheese or milk. Not only will these things taste horrible when they are left out, you may also be exposing yourself to food poisoning. Also don’t bring leftovers unless you like eating them cold.
Once you’ve packed your food for your trip, don’t forget the most important part: a garbage bag to keep all the empty bags, napkins and other trash in one place.
REMINDER: If you’re the driver, don’t eat and drive. If you’re hungry, pull over to a rest stop or gas station to enjoy some food. Plus, you can use the time off the road to relax and enjoy a snack with your family.