I'm getting ready for a long-overdue cross-country road trip to see some friends, and decided that this time, I'm going to plan out my car munchies ahead of time so I don't end up buying fistfuls of chocolate bars or those weird, endlessly rotating gas-station hot dogs when I stop to fill up my tank.
It should be pretty simple, right? Just grab a few things from the snack aisle and call it good. Except it's not that easy.
If you're like me, you want things that are delicious, yet aren't going to ruin your healthy eating routine. I've done some exhausting research (okay, browsing yummy-looking snacks isn't so exhausting) and have come up with nine different things I'm packing for my trip.
My criteria? They have to taste good, they can't be full of preservatives, and (most importantly) they have to be delicious.
1. Clif Bar Clif Kid Zfruit Strawberry Rope
Okay, so these are supposed to be for kids, but you'll love the licorice-like taste of these fruit ropes. They're made with natural fruit juice with vegetable juice for color, which is great because I'd rather have a red tongue from juice and not some lab-made food coloring. (The other Clif Kids options are pretty tasty, too.)
I love the sweet, fruity pop of fruit snacks, but I'd really rather not have all the high-fructose corn syrup that's in the well-known brands. These are made with all organic ingredients and sweetened with tapioca syrup and cane sugar, along with some white grape juice concentrate.
3. Simply 7 Kale Chips
Let's be honest: most kale chips found in stores don't taste very good. Not these: They're as addictive as regular potato chips with a pinch of sea salt.
Peanut butter and banana is my go-to pre-workout combo, so it makes sense that I'd fuel my long hours behind the wheel with Elvis' favorite snack. These are made with dehydrated organic banana and organic peanut butter.
Beef jerky is the ultimate protein snack, but I'd rather bite into an all-natural, grass-fed version rather than processed "beef food" sold in convenience stores.
6. Just Pure Foods Organic Spicy Jalapeno Tomato Chips
Did you know you could make tomato chips? Neither did I! But I'm a sucker for spice, so I'm going to give these a whirl.
Okay, so even though I try to stay away, sometimes you just need some good, old-fashioned crunch of a chip. But these have some nutritional variety, since they're made with a mixture of root veggies like sweet potato, parsnip, yuca, batata and taro.
Pamela calls these chocolate chip and coconut creations "anytime" bars, and she's not joking—they're seriously hard to resist. Plus they're made with oats, and totally gluten-free.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont