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When I was young and went on road trips with my family, my parents would purchase snacks for the car and hotels. Mother loved apples and peanut butter. Daddy loved peanut butter crackers and Doritos, nacho cheese, chips. There were plenty of other snacks, but those stand out in my memory – probably because those were their favorites. Even later in life, my parents continued to favor those particular snacks.

Have you tried an apple with peanut butter on it? It’s really good. If you’re traveling and stop by a convenience store, of course, the easiest snacks to find are chips and crackers. So let’s look at the protein and other nutrition that these snacks have.

Protein Snacks
Apples for a Road Trip Snack
  • Raw Apple with Skin –  It has 65 calories, 1 mg sodium, 17 carbs, 3 fiber, 13 g sugar, 0 protein. This is the healthiest of the three favorite snacks my parents liked yet has no protein. However, if you add a tablespoon of peanut butter, you have a good amount of protein (and more calories, etc.). One tablespoon of peanut butter has 190 calories, 17 g fat, 150 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugar, and 7 g protein.
  • Lance Toast Chee Real Peanut Butter Crackers – I recall my dad often choosing this brand. One individual package has 220 calories, 11 g fat, 220 mg sodium, 25 g carbs, less than 1 gram fiber, 4 g sugar, and 5 grams protein.
  • Doritos Nacho Cheese – A small bag, 11 chips, has 140 calories, 8 g fat, 210 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, 1 g fiber, no sugar, and 2 g protein.

A sedentary man needs an average of 56 grams per day according to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), and a sedentary woman needs an average of 46 grams per day. That can vary, of course, depending on weight, exercise, and other factors.

Snacking on a road trip can be challenging but is made quite simple by bringing an ice chest. Convenience stores and truck stops now are carrying healthier snacks. They usually have several types of protein bars, and many of the stores sell eggs, mixed fruit, pre-packaged salads, and veggies with dip. You could make a nice salad by choosing the eggs, veggies, and pre-packaged salad. Slice the eggs and add them to veggies and/or a pre-packaged salad. It’s like eating a chef salad. Pick up a bottle or two of salad dressings before you leave home.

Make your road trip snacking easier by adding these foods to your road trip grocery list before leaving home:

  • large carton cottage cheese – 25 g protein for 1 cup
  • several small packages or cans of fruit to mix with the cottage cheese
  • a block of cheese – one oz has about 7 g of protein
  • packaged or canned tuna – A 2.6 oz pouch of tuna has 17 g of protein.
  • canned chili – A can of chili can have a tremendous amount of sodium. However, if you look carefully, you can find a can with 600-700 mg of sodium. That’s a lot less than most. But the amount of protein is approximately 23 g for a serving.

This list of foods shows how easy it is to add protein when on a road trip. What are your favorite foods with protein that you and your family like to snack on when traveling?


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