Road trips offer the promise of freedom, adventure – and bad food. Gas station and rest stop foods are typically loaded with sodium, added sugars, hydrogenated fats, and chemicals with unpronounceable names. But with a little planning and sleuthing through the aisles of the grocery store, specialty store and, yes, even the gas station, you can find a few snacks that are road-worthy. While we're not offering up kale salads and freshly grilled salmon – those are a bit messy for the back seat – here's a healthy shortlist of over-the-counter snacks.
Fancy jerkies have been hitting shelves, but they're not all equal. These new designer jerkies may not be made of mystery meat, but they some still deliver whopping amounts of sugar and sodium. Vital Choice salmon jerky, Krave pineapple orange beef jerky, and Tanka buffalo jerky are a few to try. You get 7 g of protein in a 45-calorie salmon strip and the same amount in a 70-calorie serving of the buffalo jerky and 80-calorie Krave.
Sugar content: 2 g in the salmon jerky; 6 g in Tanka buffalo jerky (from sweetened dried cranberries) and the same in the Krave pineapple jerky
Fat: You're actually getting omega-3s from the salmon jerky, and buffalo tends to be leaner than other red meats. Krave has but 1.5 g of overall fat.
Other: Given the 250 mg of sodium in Krave, it's a better jerky for exercise, but still has half the sodium of your usual over-the-counter fare, which tends to start at 500 mg. The buffalo and salmon jerky are the best bet for multiple snacks with 125 mg per strip (some brands have more, so check the label), which is a bit high for one serving of anything, but since you're getting a lot of protein and healthy fats it's not a deal breaker. Just stick to two strips.
Where to get it: Online or at specialty food stores
Credit: Courtesy Vital Choice