ArrowDownFill 1arrow-small-lineFill 1GroupStaff FaveGroupClose IconEmailLike Cooking Light on FacebookShapePage 1 Copy 3Page 1 Copy 2Grid IconFollow Cooking Light on InstagramList IconMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeplay-iconWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

What do I do when… I’m on a road trip, and the only place to get food is the service station?

Photo: Sean Justice/Getty Images

Learn the best gas station foods to choose while you're on the road to stay healthy. By: Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD

You’re in the middle of nowhere, you’re starving, and the only source of nutrition is a service station. How do you survive and not totally derail your diet? Your best bet is to first check near the register and then the refrigerated section of the gas station. Many convenience stores now offer fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, and bananas near the checkout counter, as well as string cheese, yogurt, and skim or 1% milk in the refrigerator. Pairing a piece of fruit with one of these dairy options is a great choice since together they provide protein and fiber to fill you up.

If the refrigerated section is lacking and there’s no fresh produce, look for dried fruit, nuts, and whole-grain cracker options. Low-fat granola bars, protein bars, or pretzels are also healthy options if the selection is limited. For beverages, your healthiest choice is usually bottled water, but any beverage with five calories or less per serving such as diet sodas or sugar-free drink mixes will fit into your weight-loss plan.

Pair these suggestions together to create a healthy snack around 200 to 300 calories that will keep you full until you arrive at your destination or an area that has healthy meal options. Be sure to check food labels for serving sizes and calories, and portion out your serving before getting back on the road. Save extras for a snack the next day.

Healthy gas station snacks 200 calories and under:

  • 2 tablespoons dried fruit and nuts stirred into low-fat yogurt
  • Cheese stick and an apple or banana
  • Cheese stick with 5 to 6 whole-grain crackers, 9 large pretzel twists, or 18 tiny pretzels twists
  • Low-fat granola bar (≤150 calories) and ½ cup skim or 1% milk
  • 1 ounce fruit and nut trail mix (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 ounce (about 3 tablespoons) roasted almonds or other nut
  • 18 tiny pretzels twists and ½ cup low-fat chocolate milk or 100% juice