7 Healthy Snacks You Can Get At A Rest Stop

Photographed by Ashley Armitage.
I have a theory that you can tell how good a road trip was based on the number of snacks you have to clean up when you finally get to your destination. Of course, traveling is fun and especially when you're with friends. But the snacks! The snacks make the journey so much better. Sometimes you end up at a lit rest stop with tons of gourmet health food options, and other times you have to make it work with whatever the gas station or convenience store has to offer.
So, what makes a great, healthy snack? It's best to try and find foods with a combination of carbs, protein, and fat, says Kathleen Meehan, MS, RD, LDN, an anti-diet registered dietitian in Houston. If you can, prioritize whole foods over processed ones, and get lots of options. "It's typical to get hungry every three to four hours, so it's important to have multiple snacks or plans for a meal if you are in for a long trip," Meehan says.
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If you're traveling this weekend, ahead are the healthy snacks that Meehan suggests grabbing the next time you're at a rest stop or gas station.
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illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Nuts

Almost every gas station will carry nuts, Meehan says. Consider a almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, or walnuts, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
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Cheese stick with crackers

Some chain convenience stores (like 7-11 and Wawa) carry neat little cheese and cracker packs — but not all gas stations are that nice. Cheese is a source of protein, and the crackers will provide energy and fiber. Meehan's tip: Always check the cooler to see if they have cheese sticks.
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illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Fruit

Fiber digests slowly, which means it will keep you full for longer. If you can find fresh fruit or vegetables, which have lots of fiber, get 'em.
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illustrated by Anna Sudit.
PB&J

You may not have had a PB&J since you were a little kid on a car trip, but the sandwiches actually make for a great snack for grownups, too, Meehan says.
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Yogurt and granola

This combo checks all the boxes: carbs, protein, fat, and fiber. Plus, so many brands sell little pre-made parfaits that are packaged up and everything.
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illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Popcorn

Interestingly, fiber has been shown to encourage sleep. Munch on popcorn, a fiber-rich food, and it may help you fall asleep in the car.
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illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Granola bar

Look for one with nuts for a little more substance and staying power, Meehan says. Some protein bars use sugar alcohols (such as erythritol or sorbitol) to keep the sugar content low, but those can lead to uncomfortable GI symptoms. Keep that in mind so you don't have to ask for another bathroom break.
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