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THIS Is The Healthiest Food You Can Buy At A Gas Station

Liz Moody
June 24, 2019
Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.
Healthiest Food You Can Buy at a Gas Station
Image by mbg Creative
June 24, 2019
We've all been there—you're miles away from the next healthy food stop, with nothing but an empty cooler and a '90s Spotify playlist to satiate you. Luckily, it is possible to stay nourished on road trips, even if you run out of pre-prepared options or forget to plan ahead. We asked some of the country's top nutrition experts what they buy when they find themselves stuck at a gas station. Far and away the No. 1 answer? Nuts and nut butters (and for good reason! Nuts are one of the healthiest foods around!). Read on to find out why and get more of their top picks.

Nuts or nut butters

Ninety-nine percent of the time, it would be water because I try my best to plan ahead as much as possible bringing snacks from home or stopping at a grocery store to pick up fruit, nuts, etc. If the situation would arise, I would choose nuts or seeds that were roasted with a little salt and ideally no added oils—which might be difficult to find!

McKel Kooienga, R.D., founder of Nutrition Stripped

A simple ketotarian-on-the-go idea that you can get at just about any gas station convenience store these days is a bag of raw or toasted (without any bad oils) nuts and seeds. I also love the single-serving nut butters that are in most convenience stores.

Will Cole, D.C., mbg Collective member and author of Ketotarian

This is a great and challenging question. In gas-station extremis, I'll usually grab a seltzer or coconut water and a little baggie of almonds. And then I'll make a mental note to pack plentiful healthy car snacks for the next road trip.

Ellen Vora, M.D., mbg Collective member and founder of

When in the ultimate gas-station food bind, my go-to snack is usually the sunflower seeds and/or the nuts. When it comes to nutrition, nuts and seeds provide a big "bang for your bite," so to speak. They're high in calories, healthy fat, and protein, which is a good thing when you're looking for a snack to curb your hunger and keep you satiated. Plus, they're loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Just make sure the nuts you choose are raw or roasted and not flavored with artificial ingredients or sugarcoated.

Leah Silberman, R.D., co-founder of Tovita Nutrition

If I am on the road and have forgotten to pack healthy snacks, my go-to gas station find is a packet of nuts and big bottle of water. With fiber, protein, healthy fat, and hydration, this combination will satiate hunger and stabilize blood sugar levels. Sometimes, however, where there's a gas station, there is a local grocery store! There are more healthy options available: baby carrots and hummus, fresh fruit, or one of my favorite travel snacks is an avocado. Simply slice and eat with a spoon!

Sara McGlothlin, holistic nutritionist, founder of


Beef jerky is a great gas-station choice if they have a grass-fed option. I like KRAVE, which is widely available and delicious.

—Courtney Swan, M.S., founder of Realfoodology

My go-to healthy gas station snack is turkey or beef jerky. It is a protein-rich snack to help you stay satisfied and energized, and it is also easy to eat, which is a huge plus while you are on the road.

Alanna Waldron, R.D., founder of Eats Real Food

Cheese sticks

I realize that my nutrition clients sometimes get caught unprepared and needing a snack. The great thing is that you can find healthy options even at gas stations now, like cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, and almonds. For a drink, I suggest flavored seltzer or unsweetened iced tea instead of soda or sugary sports drinks.

—Diana Rodgers, R.D., founder of Sustainable Dish

Fruit (with a side of forgiveness)

While I do try to pack some healthy snacks, drinks, and supplements, life happens, and sometimes I do have to wing it on the road. Staying hydrated is key, so I always reach for water. It's especially helpful for counteracting the effects of high-sodium foods we often are choosing between in a gas station. I'll also look for fruit with a peel like a banana or orange. If I didn't have nut allergies I would go for a bag of almonds or mixed nuts, so I appreciate when I can find dry-roasted edamame or chickpea snacks. For protein, I'm always happy with plain yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese or cheese sticks, or hard-boiled eggs. It's high in sodium but turkey or beef jerky is another go-to when I'm in a pinch on the road. I've also been known to grab a bottle of V-8 juice (low-sodium, ideally) if it's the only veggie game around. I practice what I preach when it comes to dealing with feeling guilty about making choices that aren't ideal in a travel situation, and that is, if you're struggling with negative self-talk about your choices, remind yourself that it's not forever: It's one eating occasion or one day or a few days, and you can get right back into your usual healthy routine soon

Jessica Cording, R.D., mbg Collective member and founder of Jessica Cording Nutrition

Hard-boiled eggs

Hard-boiled eggs or nitrite free jerky or meat sticks are great options for protein, raw or dry roasted nuts or olives for a healthy fat, and veggie sticks or fruit for a healthy carb. These items are easy to eat in the car and are all real-food options that will keep your blood sugar balanced to prevent energy dips, and crabbiness (one thing you definitely don't want on a road trip).

Britni Vincent, registered dietitian at Nutritional Weight Wellness

Healthy bars

I love to grab a great bar like a KIND bar. Look for at least 4 to 5 grams of fiber or protein or healthy fat (or all three) and no artificial sweeteners, and you're golden!

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Liz Moody author page.
Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor

Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.