Vacations and road trips often go hand in hand with unhealthy foods, but travelers can make healthy, safe choices instead. See below for tips!

A bowl of hummus with a plate of celery sticks, carrot sticks, and pita bread.

Smart ideas for the road

  • Eat a healthy breakfast at home before your trip.
  • Bring a cooler with ice or ice packs and load it with nutritious easy-to-eat snacks and lunches. Make sure your cooler stays cool!
  • Choose water. Bring a few reusable water bottles and fill them up at rest stops.
  • Bring hand sanitizer.
  • Throw in a few plastic grocery bags to use for trash bags.

Smart foods in a restaurant

When you stop for a meal at a restaurant think about making healthy choices:

  • Look for grilled items versus fried items.
  • Choose plenty of greens.
  • Skip sauces and dressings or ask for them on the side and use them sparingly.
  • Select side dishes other than French fries (like salads, fruit cups, or low-fat cottage cheese).
  • Choose milk or water instead of pop.
  • Resist supersizing.

Smart foods for the car

Think about what sorts of healthy foods your family normally eats at home. If possible, pack a few of those items for the trip.

  • Individual low-fat or fat-free yogurt cups
  • String cheese
  • Fresh fruit - grapes, apples, and clementines. Avoid messy fruits (like juicy peaches) and fruits that bruise easily (like bananas)
  • Individual applesauce cups
  • Fresh vegetables like snap peas, and cut-up carrots, celery, and cucumbers. Consider packing hummus if you like your veggies with a dip.
  • Homemade snack mix
  • Small portions of dried fruit
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Small portions of nuts

Stay active on the road

  • It is a smart idea to stop at rest areas every two to three hours to stretch and move.
  • Build an exercise break into your daily schedule. This might be a short hike or exploring a new town on foot.
  • Bring a pair of tennis shoes along and take 10 minutes during a few breaks to do jumping jacks, step-ups on a bench, or jump rope.
  • Play Frisbee on a break (when you have enough space).

Other tips

  • Roadside produce stands may be available on your route. Give local fruits and vegetables a try!
  • When you do have to grab snacks at a gas station or convenience store, see if fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, string cheese, whole grain crackers, or other healthy options are available.
  • When planning your vacation, think about how to fit in active family activities.

Featured Recipes

Create Your Own Snack Mix

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix.Put 1/2 cup of mix in small plastic bags for a snack onthe go!


Energy Bites

Collect and measure all ingredients before starting to prepare the recipe.Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix ingredients with a spoon until combine.Using clean hands, shape the mixture into 16 balls that are approximately 1" in diameter.Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Eat within 3 to 5 days.