Finding good vegetarian and gluten-free snacks can be a challenge on a road trip. If you don’t want to partake of fast food, want to eat healthily and save money during a road trip, a little bit of preparation is the trick.
The great thing about a road trip is you can pack and then replenish a variety of foods because you have the ability to bring along a cooler. I love to bring a combination of non-perishable, fresh fruits and vegetables, crunchy and salty snacks, high protein snacks and bars, and a few sweet treats. The below list focuses on healthy vegetarian snacks (that also happen to be gluten-free) and many items can also double for breakfast and lunch on the go.
13 Simple, Delicious & Healthy Vegetarian Snacks for Road Trips
As a bonus, all the items are also gluten-free snacks and many are vegan. Whether you are heading on a one-day road trip or planning a trip for a few days or even a few weeks, here are some great ideas for vegetarian & gluten-free road trip snacks.
- Nuts. I love to bring almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans on my road trips. Costco and most grocery stores have bulk sections and this is where I find the best prices for nuts. I then love to put the nuts in small reusable snack baggies that are non-toxic, BPA-free and phthalate-free.
- Seeds. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are my go-to for travel.
- Dried Fruit. Apricots and mango are musts when I travel, but you can also find dried pineapple, apples, and blueberries. My favorite place for dried fruit is Traders Joe’s, but if you don’t have one near you, you can also find it on Amazon (where you can find everything these days!).
- Trail Mix. Mix a combo of the above three; nuts, seeds and dried fruit to make your own custom trail mix!
- Protein Bars. NuGo Dark protein bars are my favorite because they are gluten-free and have 10-13g protein. I also love them because they are a cross between a sweet treat and a protein boost! (The bars are also vegan, Non-GMO, and Kosher Pareve). NuGo is the only company to make REAL Dark Chocolate coated protein bars.
I met the makers of NuGo at the Expo West trade show and was surprised to learn that other ‘dark chocolate’ protein bar companies substitute unhealthy palm kernel oil for the natural cocoa butter. My favorite indulgence is dark chocolate, so when I had the opportunity to work with NuGo to spread the word about their protein bars with real dark chocolate, I was onboard! Visit the NuGo site to learn more about how to spot dark chocolate deception or you can also sign a Change.org petition to create a standard for dark chocolate in the USA.NuGo makes over 30 certified gluten-free protein bars and cookies.
You can order NuGo Dark boxes and sample packs: Use coupon code TRAVEL
- Fresh seasonal fruit. Bananas are a staple in my house and my road trip snack bag. I also love to pack seasonal fruit. The biggest issues with fruit when traveling, can be bruising, so I bring along a produce saver food storage container.
- Veggies and Hummus. Bring along a container of your favorite veggies cut into sticks or bite-size pieces (carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumber, jicama, etc). You can bring a small container of hummus or your favorite dip or simply eat them raw.
- Apples and nut butter (sunflower, almond or cashew). I know I’ve already mentioned nut butter and fruit, but one of my favorite combo’s is apple slices and sunflower seed butter. If you haven’t tried it, I promise it’s delicious.
- Granola is great to pack as it can double as breakfast cereal, a crunchy snack or a topping for yogurt. (Make sure to pack some coconut or almond milk if you plan to eat it as cereal).
- Yogurt. This is a great quick and easy snack and today there are so many options for coconut and almond milk based yogurt if you a traditional vegetarian.
- Popcorn. I love salty & crunchy snacks, but they can be a lot of calories, so I’ve been opting for popcorn lately. This is a way for me to get my savory, crunchy and salty snack fix! All snacks above are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Below you’ll find two additional snacks I love — so if you aren’t vegan these are a great option to add to your snack bag!
- Hard boiled or deviled eggs. If you are lacto-ovo vegetarian, I love to boil a dozen eggs before a road trip. Such a great source of protein!
- String Cheese. Another lacto-ovo vegetarian option that is easy to pack. It’s a plus they come in single-wrapped packages, so they stay fresh much longer than bringing other forms of cheese.
Related Post: 52 Ultimate Road Trip Tips
Road Trip Non-Food Essentials
Besides the delicious snacks, make sure to pack the below items to make your life during your road trip simple! Just a few things make a road trip so much smoother! You can find all the below items on my Amazon Store.
- Cutting mat (they take up almost no room and are essential).
- Cutting or paring knife
- Cooler for snacks (I love to have one smaller cooler in easy access with our snacks during the time in the car). Make sure to buy a cooler that keeps your food cold for at least 24 hours.
- Cooler for drinks (For longer road trips, I like to bring a plug-in car cooler. It plugs into your car’s outlet and it uses the electricity generated by your car’s battery to keep your food cold. The other nice thing about this cooler is that if you are staying in a hotel that does not have a mini-fridge, you can carry the cooler into your hotel room, and use the adapter plug in a regular wall outlet.
- Ice packs & freezable sheets. Instead of filling the cooler with ice which will melt and turn into a puddle of water, freeze water bottles (drain the first inch or two of water out of the water bottle and then freeze it) to use as ice packs. We also love these freezable ice sheets– they are very lightweight, and they wrap around food and drinks to keep them cold.
- Paper towels
- Re-usable snack bags
- Car trash can with lid
- Bowls and small plates
- Forks & spoons
- Produce Saver Food Storage Container
If you want to see all the above items, click here to view on the 52PerfectDays Amazon Store.
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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.