Long drive to the beach? Stay satiated with these dietitian-approved road snacks. 

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With summer upon us, many will head out on the road to a vacation destination or to visit family and friends. On the way, pit stops for gas are a great time to stretch your legs, use the restroom, and grab a snack. But how do you find a snack – even a little sweet treat – without derailing your healthy eating efforts? 

Check out these nine healthy (or healthier) ideas to look for at those roadside convenience stores.

1. String cheese stick

Pull-apart sticks of mozzarella, cheddar, or Monterey Jack are regular staples in the refrigerated cases of most gas stations. With 7 to 8 grams of protein, they’re one of my first choices when I need a snack to hold me over until my next meal.

2. Kind bar

The dark chocolate nuts and sea salt Kind bars are much healthier than a candy bar when you’re craving a little chocolate. Made with minimal ingredients, one bar has 180 calories, 7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and only 4 grams of added sugar. Another Kind bar favorite of mine is the almond caramel and sea salt. 

3. Apple, banana, or orange

If you’re looking for a light snack, check out the fruit baskets that are usually near the checkout. Choose fruit with a removable peel or skin, such as bananas or oranges, if you’re worried about being able to adequately clean the fruit. Pair with a cheese stick to create a more substantial snack.

4. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds in the shell are a nutritious option containing the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium. They’re also a snack for the car that tends to last while. Compare nutrition labels among brands or look for unsalted versions to choose one that’s not loaded in sodium. 

5. Popchips

When you’re craving something with a salty crunch, skip the potato chips and see if Popchips or Popcorners are available. The popped corn chips are widely available in grocery stores and slowly making their way to convenience stores. An alternative is bagged popcorn, such as BoomChickaPop or SmartPop.

6. Flavored waters and water-based drinks

Craving a juice or soda? Opt for flavored waters like Propel or low-calorie water-based drinks like Vitaminwater Zero Sugar. Many of these water-based drinks have added electrolytes, which may help manage hunger on long-haul flights and road trips. 

7. Almonds

Sharing a bag of roasted or flavored whole almonds is a great lower carb option on the road. Almonds are a naturally good source of protein and fiber, two nutrients which aid in satiety. Keep tabs on serving size and sodium per serving or grab an unsalted variety. 

8. Single-serve hummus with pretzels

Refrigerated packages of hummus with pretzel chips are becoming a regular item at gas stations, and I’ve found them to be a filling snack when I’m craving something savory. The only drawback is that total sodium tends to around 790 milligrams. You can lower the sodium by swapping the pretzels for a whole grain cracker or baby carrots. 

9. Chocolate milk

A source of carbs, protein, and a little fat, chocolate milk is a sweet fix that leaves you full and satisfied. To avoid added sugars and fat, choose a strained, lower-sugar version such as Fairlife’s 2% chocolate milk.