Everything you need for delicious healthy snack prep ideas you can easily pack for long car rides or picnics along with my favorite recipe for NO BAKE Trail Mix Energy Balls!
Is it just me or has this summer been pretty non-existent? We have definitely tried to make the best of it, but given our current situation we really needed to get creative when making plans. Getting out of the house and enjoying the outdoors is really important to our family, especially after quarantining for so long, so one thing we tried to make time for this summer was road trips! Whether just a short drive to a pretty overlook for a nice picnic or a much longer drive to dip our toes in the ocean, planning ahead with healthy snacks and meals is key to enjoying the whole experience, especially during these uncertain times when we’re not able to go out to restaurants or easily grab food like we used to.
Not only are pre-planned meals and on-the-go snack options a much healthier alternative to grabbing food at a gas station or drive thru, but I promise you these snacks taste way better too and are really great for kids! I’ve included a whole assortment of delicious snacks and easy meal ideas that range from salty and sweet, to savory and filling, so that the whole family has something they can enjoy.
WHY I CHOOSE TO PREP MEALS AND SNACKS
- This is a huge time saver! I like to prep everything the night before a trip so that it’s all packed and ready to go and I can feel good knowing my family has healthy stuff prepared for them. No need to stop anywhere on the way for snacks, which leads me to my next reason.
- Saves money. Since we have a whole assortment of food to choose from, there is no need to stop for fast food or any other place to grab snacks that are overpriced at gas stations and convenient stores.
- Keeps the kids happy. Not only is there something for everyone, but prepping snacks really teaches good, healthy habits even when going on a vacation. I promise you your kids will go crazy for these delicious trail mix balls below!
- Great way to break up a long trip. We always bring a blanket and chairs on our road trips because a great way to break up a long trip is to have a picnic! Since we’re not really going to restaurants right now, enjoying meals outside in the fresh air is super enjoyable, allows you to stretch your legs and eat something healthy.
- Helps make smart choices. Prepping snacks helps me avoid grabbing that bag of chips and eating the entire thing and is also just a great idea to do each week even when you’re not traveling. That way you always have healthy snacks ready to go at home that you can quickly grab instead of that bag of chips!
HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS
Here’s a complete breakdown of all my favorite go-to snacks that I like to pack on our road trips. Shopping at Safeway made it super easy and affordable to find everything I needed and their Open Nature® and Signature SELECT™ brands have such a wide variety of products to choose from!
I ALWAYS pack fresh fruit on any trip we go on, it’s just so refreshing, healthy and really easy to snack on. Depending on the season, we love to pack strawberries, blueberries, grapes, watermelon, peaches or nectarines, apple slices, cantaloupe, kiwi and even dried fruit like raisins and cranberries. Just don’t forget the napkins!
Fresh Veggies and Dips
Along with fruit, I love having fresh sliced veggies that you can enjoy all on their own or for dipping. Some veggie options include carrots, cucumber slices, celery, bell pepper slices, etc. Hummus is our favorite for dipping, but you could also pack fresh salsa or Safeway currently offers a variety of cauliflower dips by Open Nature that really taste amazing! We loved the roasted red pepper cauliflower dip!
Nuts, Granola Bars and Trail Mix Balls
These are just so easy to snack on and grab on-the-go. Safeway’s Signature SELECT brand offers a wide variety of granola bars, different kinds of trail mixes, and even pre-packaged almond pouches that come in perfect little serving sizes. I also love making trail mix energy balls that are always a big hit with kids (and adults!) that require zero baking, can be made in about 5 minutes with ingredients already in your pantry and they taste delicious as a road trip snack! You can find the recipe for these easy trail mix balls below!
Salads in a Jar
Making salads in a jar is such a convenient way to pack a healthy, delicious lunch because there is zero mess and they just save so much space! The jars don’t take up much room in the cooler and you have everything you need for your meal right in one simple jar. The recipe for these jarred salads is essentially a variation of my Tomato, Cucumber and Chickpea Salad, but I also added some quinoa for extra protein and fiber along with fresh arugula for a more complete salad. You could also add shredded chicken or different veggies and dressing to make these all your own! Pro tip: just make sure to assemble the salads in the order I shared above so that the lettuce and veggies don’t get soggy from the dressing.
When you are ready to eat, just dump your salad out onto a plate/bowl OR you can simply shake it up and eat it straight from the jar! Trust me these jarred salads are total game changers and super easy to assemble.
It’s important to stay hydrated during the summer, so another item I love that Safeway’s Signature SELECT brand offers is a wide variety of seltzer waters and there are so many delicious flavors! Bottled water is, of course, really good for you, but plain old water tends to get boring, especially on a long road trip, so I like to mix it up with fun flavors of sparkling water! You can choose from lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin orange, raspberry, mixed berry, black cherry, I mean the list goes on, AND they are super affordable!
I purchased everything at my local Safeway here in Warrenton, Virginia, but you can easily find all these products at ALL the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market and Tom Thumb. Safeway also offers convenient Grocery Delivery and DriveUp & Go™. This has made it really easy for me to shop for everything I need without having to actually go in to the store, which has been super beneficial these past few months.
Now let’s talk about these trail mix energy balls.
NO BAKE TRAIL MIX ENERGY BALLS
You guys, these no bake trail mix energy balls are the most delicious road trip snack you never even knew you needed. As I said before, you can literally make these in just 5 minutes and use ingredients that are probably already sitting in your pantry. All the ingredients for these trail mix balls are products from Safeway’s Signature SELECT brand and are all great quality at really affordable prices.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
- Old fashioned oats – these oats with their delicious nutty texture are what make these balls so filling! You could also use quick cooking oats or gluten-free oats.
- Peanut butter – this is what binds all the ingredients together and is a great source of protein. You could also use almond butter or any other nut butter.
- Flaxseed meal – this is great for added nutrition, protein and fiber, but you could also use chia seeds or even hemp seeds.
- Honey – I used honey as a natural sweetener for these balls, but you could also use maple syrup if you wanted to keep these vegan.
- Trail mix – I used a delicious assortment of peanuts, almonds, raisins and M&M candies, the perfect sweet and salty combo. Bring any extra trail mix along with you on your road trip as an additional snack!
- Chocolate chips – because who doesn’t like a little more chocolate?
- Vanilla extract – this just adds another layer of sweetness!
Other add-ins include shredded coconut, dried fruit like raisins, cranberries and blueberries, or you could even try different types of trail mixes!
HOW TO MAKE TRAIL MIX BALLS
Simply add all your ingredients to a large bowl and mix well until all combined! Cover and chill the dough for at least 15 to 20 minutes which helps make the balls easier to form. To make the balls, I like to use a 1-inch cookie scoop to make sure they are all the same size and roll the balls using your hands. And that’s it! You can store these trail mix balls in a sealed airtight container in your fridge for up to 2 weeks or you can easily freeze these up to 3 months!
I like to make a batch of these to enjoy as a snack during the week and for road trips make sure you store them in your cooler so that the balls stay nice and stiff. No one likes a melty, gooey energy ball while riding in the car, trust me. These trail mix balls are the perfect serving size when you need a little something sweet and I just love the delicious salty/sweet combo! If you like these trail mix balls, then definitely check out my peanut butter quinoa energy balls that also make a great road trip snack!
Hope you find these snack prep tips and recipes helpful for your next road trip! With fall coming up, there is nothing like heading out and seeing all the beautiful foliage and enjoying the cooler weather so keep all these snacks in mind. Perhaps pumpkin spice energy balls are next? 😉
What are some of your favorite snacks to bring on road trips? Let me know in the comments below!
Trail Mix Energy Balls
These NO BAKE Trail Mix Energy Balls are easily made in just minutes and are the perfect healthy snack to grab on-the-go!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 5 mins
- 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cups trail mix (mixture of peanuts, almonds, raisins & M&M candies)
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Chill the mixture in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, roll mixture into balls. Trail mix balls can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1 ball
- Calories: 193
- Sugar: 9.4 g
- Sodium: 71.2 mg
- Fat: 10.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 22.3 g
- Fiber: 1.9 g
- Protein: 5.5 g
* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.