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If the walls of your home feel like they’re closing in, you’re not alone. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) say that staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made them want to take a vacation, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Shell.
But with so many travel restrictions and concerns about health safety while flying, it’s no wonder that many people trying to scratch their travel itch are turning to good, old fashioned road trips — 36% of Americans say that they are more likely to take a road trip now than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and 61% of Americans are now more interested in taking a local road trip to explore areas close to home.
Before you hit the open road, there’s plenty to do: packing, creating a playlist that captures the vibe of your destination, planning your itinerary and, of course, stocking up on car-friendly snacks. While vacation may seem like the perfect excuse to indulge in junk food, those snacks could leave you feeling lethargic and bloated during a time when you’d much rather feel energetic and carefree.
Thankfully, there’s no shortage of vegan-friendly snacks that are mess-free, nutritious, and tasty. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites:
Quinn Grain-Free Pretzel Chips
Nothing beats the crunch of a pretzel — and everyone living a gluten-free lifestyle knows that grain-free pretzel replacements typically leave a lot to be desired. Not the case with Quinn Grain-Free Pretzel Chips; you’d never know it was grain-free thanks to its near-identical texture (they are made from cassava flour, a gluten-free root vegetable) and spot-on flavoring (shout out to the Cracked Black Pepper variety!). They’re non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and the shape makes them perfect for dipping into your favorite condiment (but maybe not in the car, okay?).
Pan’s Mushroom Jerky
Beef jerky is a classic road-trip snack — but who needs the beef? Pan’s mushroom jerky is made from shitake mushrooms, which is one of the “meatiest” mushrooms. Plus, mushrooms impart that beloved umami flavor everyone craves. These fiber-filled snacks are rich in vitamin D, vegan, gluten-free and there’s flavor for any mood you’re in: Zesty Thai, Applewood BBQ, Salty & Pepper and Original.
When you can’t decide if you want salty or sweet or chocolate, reach for a bag of SkinnyDipped Super Dark + Sea Salt almonds — these almonds are dipped with extra dark 73% artisan cacao, and sprinkled with a hint of sea salt. A serving size of these vegan goodies offers 5 grams of plant protein and less sugar than an apple. The whole line is vegetarian, including the SkinnyDipped Cashews in Dark Chocolate Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel.
Undressed Salad Bar
Salads aren’t exactly considered a portable snack, which is why Anne Klassman founded Undressed to throw in her purse or glove compartment — it’s a salad in a bar form, with 5-7 grams of protein from its toasted almond base and a full serving of vegetables. Choose from Chipotle Cranberry, Cilantro Lime, Honey Mustard and Sesame Ginger depending on your craving. There’s no sugar added, and these vegan bars are gluten-free, too.
Nope, that wasn’t a typo — when something is this tasty, it deserves a name that stands out from the crowd! Picture a delicious, nutritious dark chocolate bar made from organic Tanzanian cocoa beans that’s sprinkled with cranberries, salted almonds, puffed Icelandic barley and cacao nibs. And voila, you have a SuperChocoBerryBarleyNibblyNuttylicious bar. Hot tip: There’s no need to relegate Omnom’s superfood creation to your car — it’s also a great way to boost your energy on a hike.
Nature’s Garden Omega-3 Deluxe Mix
No road trip is complete without a healthy dose of trail mix, but traditional peanuts and granola don’t hold a candle to Nature’s Garden’s Omega-3 Deluxe Mix. This blend of ingredients was thoughtfully chosen for its nutritional qualities: almonds for vitamin E, pecans for fiber, walnuts for omega-3 fatty acids, cranberries for adding more fruit to your day, pistachios for protein and vitamin B6, and pepitas for magnesium and iron. Bonus: The bag is resealable, so you won’t have any messy spills in the car.
LesserEvil Veggie Sticks
A salad you can eat with your fingers? It’s not rude, it’s LesserEvil’s new Grain Free Veggie Snacks! The two flavors — Himalayan Pink Salt and Vegan Ranch — offer up grain-free goodness made with organic olive oil. Organic veggies are the first ingredient (a blend of vegetable flours and powders), and they are certified USDA organic, vegan, paleo, non-GMO, grain-free, gluten-free and kosher to boot. Pro tip: Your kids will love them and have no idea they are ingesting an extra helping of veggies.
Seven Sundays Muesli
While road trips may evoke fond memories of your childhood, the sugar-laden and gluten-packed muesli of your formative years are best left behind. Instead, choose Seven Sundays’ Muesli, which is chockfull of nutrient-dense superfoods. The Rise & Shine Strawberry Banana Nut Mix — a cereal/trail mix hybrid, so feel free to add almond or oat milk as desired — has only 5 net carbs, and is grain-free, gluten-free, and keto-friendly. Plus, you can easily pronounce every ingredient: Almonds, coconut, sunflower seeds, dates, Bing cherries, pecans, chia seeds, sesame seeds, bananas, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, strawberries, cinnamon, and pure vanilla extract.
Biena Chickpea Snacks
Chickpeas to go? Yes please! Biena’s Chickpea Snacks are light, crispy roasted chickpeas that boast 5-6 grams of plant protein and fiber. The vegan varieties include Barbecue, Habanero, Ranch and Sea Salt — and they are non-GMO, grain-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. They are perfect to pop in your mouth on the road, and back home they work well as salad and soup toppers.
CaPao Smoothie Balls
Missing your morning smoothie while on the road? CaPao Smoothie Balls may help keep your routine intact. These plant-based snacks are made from zesty cacao fruit pulp, nuts and seeds. Choose from Apricot, Plant Protein and Golden Berries, Golden Berries, Apricot and Chia Seeds, and Mango, Cashew and Coconut. Cacao is the same magical plant that gives us chocolate — but 75% of the cacaofruit is underutilized or simply thrown away after the cocoa beans are extracted for making chocolate, leaving behind husk, pulp and cocoa butter. So, CaPao uses the wasted nutrition found in the pulp and husk in its products, as these components contain magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, fiber and many essential B vitamins.
ZENB Veggie Bites
Veggies are one of the healthiest snacks, but who has time to peel and prep a bunch of produce before a road trip? When you’re away from home, rely on ZENB’s Veggie Bites. They offer a full cup of vegetables in each pouch and use the whole vegetable — stems, skin, seeds and all — so you get extra nutrition, like fiber. The vegan, non-GMO, organic and gluten-free bites come in a resealable package with five flavors: Edamame, Red Bell Pepper, Summer Beets, Sweet Potato and Sweet Corn.
The Goods Mart Vegan Snack Box
Don’t have time to shop for individual snacks? Want to try something new? Let The Goods Mart — a socially conscious convenience store in Soho, NYC — curate and ship a vegan snack box especially for you. Simply choose the size of your box, let them know whether you’re craving salty, sweet or savory, and alert them to any allergies. All the snacks are non-GMO, contain no artificial colors or flavors, and are sure to satisfy any craving that pops up during your travels.