Road trips are awesome and summer is the best time of the year to get out of town and enjoy nature. When you're on the road and you don't want to stop to eat at every other roadside burger stand, having the best road trip snacks will make the drive more enjoyable. If you've got kids, you know how quickly a package of crackers or a chocolate bar can turn into a huge mess in the back seat. Jerky is way less messy, more nutritious, and a great tasting snack.
What is the Best Food for Traveling?
Traveling food needs to stay fresh without refrigeration and have great flavor. So the perfect road trip snack that is easy to find (or even to make yourself) is beef jerky. You can put it in a zip lock bag and leave it in the glove box without worrying that it will go bad when you forget about it during an adventurous road trip.
Jerky is easy to eat and comes in lots of different flavors, textures, and types. You can even add jerky in with salty nuts and candied dark chocolate for a savory, sweet, and salty mixture that provides you a big boost of energy.
Beef Jerky is a Nutritious Road Trip Snack
One of the reasons we think beef jerky is a great choice for travelling with is because it's a nutrient-dense and protein-rich food source. Compared to many other popular snacks, beef jerky may be one of the healthiest snacks there are.
One 20 gram serving of beef jerky contains seven grams of protein. Compare that to the six grams you'll get from a 50 gram hard boiled egg. Plus, you'll avoid the egg smell in the car that seems to linger for hours – or gets blamed on the dog. Hard boiled eggs are great for gym days and a quick snack at home, but aren't really practical on a road trip.
Protein is important, particularly when you are driving because it reduces your hunger. This way you aren't tempted to eat a ton of junk food. Just a few pieces of jerky can give you nearly all the protein your body requires for the day.
Sodium, Fat, and Preservatives
Beef jerky often gets a bad rap because people believe it is too high in things that are bad for you like sodium, preservatives, and fat. The truth is that you just need to know which brands of beef jerky to buy. For example, our Bearded Butcher Beef Jerky Bites are keto friendly, MSG free, and we don't add curing salt. It's just clean beef jerky with our classic original, cajun, and hot flavors.
How Much Fat is in Jerky
On average, a 20 gram piece of jerky will contain five grams of fat but it's important to understand the differences between good fat and bad fat. Jerky is made from very lean cuts of meat and the drying process renders lots of the unhealthy, saturated fat. More than half of the remaining fat is polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat which has numerous health benefits.
To put that into perspective, two tablespoons of peanut butter contains a total of 16 grams fat and only contains 3.3 grams of saturated fat. But, who wants to eat two tablespoons of peanut butter while driving? If you can swallow it, peanut butter is a great road trip food, but we usually keep it in reserve as a last resort.
Is Jerky a Low-Sodium Food?
Adding just one slice of white bread to make a peanut butter sandwich jumps the sodium content from five grams to 152 grams. Beef jerky typically contains just about the same amount of sodium so it's definitely a high-sodium food. But you can find lower sodium jerky options.
Combining Road Trip Snacks for the Ultimate Mix
One of the best choices you can make for your road trip is to get a mixture of snacks that will give you the balance of nutrition and flavor that you are looking for. We like to have several of our favorite flavors of beef jerky on hand with other snacks to compliment the flavors. For example, we'll combine a cayenne pepper jerky with dried apple, a pepper jerky with string cheese, or a honey and brown sugar jerky with crunchy popcorn.
You can also mix nuts to get a healthy variety. Try to find unsalted nuts for a healthier option. Almonds, cashews, and walnuts make a tasty and healthy mix that pairs well with hulled seeds.
Read your labels carefully when considering road trip snacks. Many products have inexplicable ingredients. One common thing you'll find in beef jerky is the use of soy sauce for flavor. For some unacceptable reason soy sauce is actually wheat sauce flavored with soy. Soy sauce doesn't contain gluten, wheat-sauce does. If the label says soy sauce, it's not gluten-free.
Nut allergies are among the most severe of all food allergies. Most beef jerky will be free of nuts, but check labels for an indication the product was processed in the same facilities as nuts. Many nut allergy sufferers can't handle even dust residue from previous packaging operations.
Beef jerky is usually dairy-free, so it's safe for lactose intolerant people. You may not be so fortunate when dealing with trail mix, and string cheese is obviously out of the question.
One great thing about road trip snacks is that most of the best ones (including ours) are also keto-friendly. Beef jerky is typically considered safe, while sunflower seeds and chopped vegetables like carrots also make excellent choices.
The Best Grab-and-Go Snack
The next time you are getting ready to head out on the road for an adventure and your looking for a quick snack while stopped at a gas station, grab a package of high-quality jerky rather than reach for a candy bar. You'll feel fuller and more satisfied eating jerky and it's more nutritious.