Portable Snacks for Your Summer Road Trip

Here are a few suggestions on what to bring — and what to leave at home — when planning meals for your next road trip.

By: Emily Lee

FNK STRAWBERRYALMOND CEREAL BARS, Food Network Kitchen, Unsalted Butter, Mini Marshmallows, Almond Butter, Vanilla Extract, Crispy Rice Cereal, Freeze Dried Strawberries, White Chocolate Chips

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If you’ve ever organized a road trip, then you know how tricky it is to locate desirable dining options on particularly remote stretches of road. And if your travel companions are picky eaters, it makes the challenge all the more impossible come mealtime. Snacking in the car may not seem like the most-glamorous way to experience the open road, but it’s often our most-reliable (and most-affordable) option.

Perhaps you’re worried about turning your vehicle into a greasy spoon on wheels — a valid concern, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Do your co-pilots a favor and avoiding packing foods that tend to be oily, crumbly or pungent. You’ll keep your car clean and your spirits high. Not sure what dishes fit the mold? Here are a few suggestions.

Snack Bars

If you’re traveling with young kids, you’ll want something to keep them placated in the back seat. Ina Garten's sweet and nutty Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars can be made ahead of time and doled out on the road as a buttery bribe for peace. Our No-Bake Healthy Strawberry-Almond Cereal Bars (pictured above) and S’mores Cereal Treats are just as easy — and road-trip-friendly.

Rachael Ray's Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad for Potluck Picks as seen on Food Network's 30 Minute Meals

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Pasta Salad

As long as you have an insulated cooler bag or some other reliable source of refrigeration on your journey, there are no holds barred on pasta salad. We recommend something light and bright, with minimal dressing, or else you’ll be chomping on wilted, soggy greens. Rachael Ray’s wholesome Spinach-Artichoke Pasta Salad would definitely do the trick, as would this hearty Tomato-Feta Pasta Salad.

Photo by: Jackie Alpers ©2014,Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Jackie Alpers, 2014,Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Spiced Nuts

You’re determined to save your appetite for your final destination, but an endless slew of rest-stop chains are tempting you at every exit. A handful of high-protein nuts will curb your hunger — without making a mess in the car. Try Ellie Krieger's Spiced Nuts for a crunchy, satisfying mix of pecans, pistachios, almonds and cashews. For something a little bit sweeter, try Alton Brown’s Spiced Pecans, which are coated in a mixture of light brown and dark brown sugars.

Road-Trip-Friendly Sandwiches

Sandwiches are tricky. Depending on the bread, protein and condiments you choose, you’ll unwrap either a soggy sandwich that falls apart in your hands — and onto your upholstery — or a perfectly fresh and compact meal. If you decide to go the sandwich route, we recommend using a firm baguette with a slight chewiness to it, as you’ll find in Food Network Magazine’s Roast Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Tyler Florence’s Fresh Mozzarella BLT with Pesto. Toast the bread at your own risk; you may end up with an explosion of tiny crust shards all over your back seat.

Chips & Dips

Make a batch of pita or tortilla chips the night before you hit the road, along with a hearty dip to stave off hunger between points A and B. Giada De Laurentiis’ White Bean Dip with Pita Chips will keep everyone pleasantly sated.

CLASSIC HUMMUSKatie LeeThe Kitchen/The Kitchen HelplineFood NetworkChickpeas, Lemon Juice, Tahini, Cumin, Garlic, Olive Oil, Smoked Paprika,CLASSIC HUMMUS Katie Lee The Kitchen/The Kitchen Helpline Food Network Chickpeas, Lemon Juice, Tahini, Cumin, Garlic, Olive Oil, Smoked Paprika

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Classic Hummus will hold up well in a storage container, as will Ellie Krieger’s Babaganoush, a smokier alternative. Whatever you do, skip the guacamole. It’s almost guaranteed to turn brown.

BANANA BREAD, Food Network Kitchen, Food Network, Flour, Baking Soda, BakingPowder, Eggs, Sugar, Bananas, Vanilla, Vegetable Oil, Cinnamon,BANANA BREAD, Food Network Kitchen, Food Network, Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Eggs, Sugar, Bananas, Vanilla, Vegetable Oil, Cinnamon

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Loaf Breads

Unlike cornbread and muffins, which are likely to crumble and get all over the car, this moist and somewhat dense loaf of Banana Bread is ideal breakfasts in motion.

FNK_ ZucchiniBreadWithLemonHoneyButter_H

FNK_ ZucchiniBreadWithLemonHoneyButter_H

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Zucchini Bread with Lemon Honey Butter Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Zucchini Bread with Lemon Honey Butter, as seen on Food Network Project: Foodnetwork.com, CINCO/SUMMER/FATHERSDAY Show Name:

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

For a more seasonal option, try this Zucchini Bread with Lemon-Honey Butter.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Katie's Healthy Bites: Kid-Friendly Road Trip Snacks

Rest stops, gas stations and the drive-through may seem convenient, but a little extra pre-trip planning can keep the kids (and you) happy, healthier and satisfied until you reach your destination. Here are some of my top pack-and-go snack ideas the whole family will love!

Portable Picks to Make and Take on July 4th — Summer Soiree

Count on these on-the-go, make-and-take dishes that are perfect for potlucking and picnicking on the 4th of July.

Take an Ice Cream Road Trip (the Best Kind of Road Trip)

Embark on an ice cream road trip, and find out where to get great ice cream – and gelato and sorbet – from coast to coast.

Portable Desserts

Are desserts your job for the potluck picnic? You’re in luck! We’ve got treats for every kind of sweet tooth.

Regional Barbecue Road Trip: Memphis

Regional Barbecue Road Trip: Memphis

The Great Food Truck Race Road Trip: California

Discover food trucks in California as part of Food Network's On the Road Guide.

BBQ Road Trip: American Traditions & Recipes

Region by region, we tracked down favorite recipes and tried-and-true tips from some of America's leading barbecue experts.

Regional Barbecue Road Trip: Carolinas


Here are 5 must-try spots for an ultimate Carolina barbecue tour, plus where to find great Carolina 'cue outside of the Carolinas.

Take a Fried Chicken Road Trip

Once a Southern specialty, fried chicken has made its way onto restaurant menus across the country.