Road Trip Tips…

July 19th, 2013

Summer is here and people and families everywhere are packing up and piling in for adventure on the open road. The list of essentials to bring along is a long one – clothes, toiletries, creature comforts etc., and often food is the last thing planned and packed. Your car isn’t the only thing requiring fuel for travel – you need energy too! While it might be convenient (and tempting) to grab a family-size bag of potato chips and gulp down a big soda doing so can leave you feeling hungry, unsatisfied and sluggish. I mean how long have those hot dog wieners been rotating anyway? In all seriousness, with a little planning, preparation and creativity road-trip snacks can be healthy, satisfying and easy on the waistline – as well as the wallet! If you’re interested in making your next road-trip the healthiest possible, here are a few tips and recipes to help you get started.

Tune in to CTV Edmonton Morning Live on Friday, July 19 for all these tips are more!

Plan Ahead

Just like home life, road life needs a menu plan. Take a few minutes to decide what you’ll need, what to bring and what will save you time, money and mess. Consider how long you will be travelling and how many people are along for the ride. The night before freeze ice packs, tetra packs of 100% unsweetened juice and milk and yogurt tubes. If you are packing perishable items keeping them cold is essential and this is a great way to do it. The energy bites and mini blueberry muffins you made can also be frozen even a week or two ahead of time 😉 Lastly, don’t over pack. Too many goodies coupled with are-we-there-yet-boredom can lead to over eating. Pack what you know you will need and what will make the trip healthier. Focus on healthy foods that provide energy, protein, fiber and fluid. One of the feature recipes below is the perfect make ahead whole-grain snack. Get popping!

Minimize Mess

One of my least favourite things to do after a long drive is clean out the car. Thankfully, empty food bags, bottles and containers, destined for the garbage and even recycling, can be easily minimized or eliminated. While bananas are nature’s perfect energy bar unfortunately we don’t eat the skin; therefore, that perfect snack can quickly turn into a slimy brown mess on your car floor. On road-trip days opt for vegetables and fruits that can be eaten whole such as baby carrots, broccoli/cauliflower florets, sliced bell peppers, pea pods as well as celery sticks and cherry tomatoes. Blueberries or most berries for that matter and dried fruits are nature’s candy and perfect road warrior snacks. Use reusable containers, or “paper bowls” which can be something simple like a muffin liners or coffee filter. One of my favourite road-trip tips is to serve dips in an edible ice-cream cone. Serve hummus with veggies or peanut butter and apple slices – delicious!

Drink Smart

Water, 100% unsweetened juice, milk are your best choices for road trip hydration. Pack a reusable water bottle with a built in filter – it can be filled up along the way. Tetra packs of unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice are good choices as well. Just be sure not to fill up on juice (or pop). Stay away from highly-caffeinated or highly-sweetened beverages that may lead to an energy crash. For me, I like to change up my water with a little sugar-free flavour. My summer favourite for two-years running is the Crystal Light® Pink Lemonade.

Compromise at the Drive Thru

If you do end up at the drive thru don’t despair. Your pre-planning we’ll be enable you to make the most of the menu. Choose smart. For example, opt for a grilled chicken wrap or small chili. Try a veggie burger if that’s up your alley. Forego fries or other fatty sides and pair your main with the pre-cut veggies you’ve packed, water and a piece of fruit for dessert.

Feature Recipes:

Road-Trip Snack Mix

This recipe is the perfect road-trip snack. I’ve chosen some of my family’s favourite ingredients but it can be easily adapted to include some of your family favourites. The backbone of this recipe is high-fiber whole-grain cereal and sweetness is added in the form of coconut and dried fruit, as opposed to chocolate or candy. Nuts add protein and essential fats to fuel your trip and keep you feeling satisfied.

Makes six – ½ cup (125 mL) servings


1 cup whole-grain cereal (e.g., Barbara’s Puffins®)

1 cup whole-grain cereal (e.g., Kashi Heart-to-Heart)

½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

½ cup dried blueberries

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup sliced almonds

½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon


Add ingredients into an air-tight container and stir until combined. Portion into reusable containers, snack baggies or ice cream cones!


Choose whole-grain cereals with at least 4 grams of fiber, less than 3 grams of fat and less than 10 grams of sugar per 30 gram serving.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Popcorn

Homemade popcorn is the perfect road-trip snack.  Three-cups of air-popped popcorn have 100 calories, 4 grams fiber and 4 grams of protein. It’s high in volume and low in calories and can be personalized to everyone’s – savory or sweet – taste. This recipe was inspired by my sweet friend and colleague Mariel Fajer – enjoy!

150 Calories per 3 cups


1/3 cup popcorn kernels

2 tsp canola oil

¼ cup gourmet unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp to 1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp Splenda (optional)

Sprinkle sea salt (optional)


Using an air-popper prepare popcorn. Sprinkle with oil, cocoa and spices, then stir. You can also shake in a large paper bag. When popcorn is completely covered, portion and enjoy.


Use coconut oil and curry spice.

Lentil Granola Bars

Recipe from Pulse Canada

Ice-Cream Cone Hummus with Veggies

Makes one serving


1 ice-cream cone

¼ cup hummus

1 cup sliced bell peppers, carrots and celery


Add hummus to bottom of ice-cream cone and serve with veggies. Enjoy dipping and then eat the cone when you’re done!


Use peanut butter instead of hummus and apples instead of veggies.