How To: Pack Your Road Trip Cooler

You’ve been planning a trip for a while now, and the time has finally come. Details from who has first driving shift to what playlist is going to be blaring through your speakers have probably already been established.

But what about the most important aspect of your trip? Food.

Do you plan on stopping at fast food joints to get some grub? Or is your plan to drink as many caffeinated beverages as possible to keep yourself awake?

Let’s face it, fast food and Red Bull can be tasty at times, but no one wants a caffeine crash or stomach ache when you’re trapped in the car for a long period of time.

To get the fuel you need (without the added fat and calories that are so abundant on the road), the first step is to buy foods that will keep you sustained. There are a lot of things that could become distracting while on the road and you don’t want your stomach to become one of them.

Ortonville senior Michael Gunnels always packs up his own cooler before long trips.

“I pack items to make sandwiches,” Gunnels said. “I also pack fruit, like apples, because they won’t squish easily.”

Essexville senior Jaquelyn Wayne employed a similar strategy during her 52-hour journey from the cold mitten to sandy beaches of California.

“I brought a lot of dried fruits, various types of nuts and seeds, pretzels, applesauce, sparkling water, turkey jerky and a small cooler full of fresh fruits,” Wayne said. “Next road trip, I plan to bring more veggies in my cooler.”

When you’re on a road trip, you want to be able to drive as long as possible without stopping, which is why Flushing senior Sarah Ghoujeghi always brings some staple food items.

“Apples, bananas, avocado, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, trail mix Larabars and dry cereal are my favorite things to pack,” Ghoujeghi said.

If you’re heading across the country for spring break, or planning a future road trip, below is a checklist of food items you won’t want to forget.

  • Apples: This fruit is packed with vitamin B, which can have a similar effect as drinking a cup of coffee.
  • Grapes: This quick snack is high in vitamin K and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Baby carrots: This popular veggie contains vitamin A, which supports the immune system.
  • Celery sticks: This snack is healthy and delicious – pair with hummus or a low-fat dip for added taste.
  • Nut Butter: Packed with protein and Omega-3’s, this easy spread keeps your mind sharp and body energized.
  • Granola: Granola bars are a huge favorite among the traveling crowd. They are easy to pack and eat, and are a great source of fiber.
  • Almonds: These nuts are a source of healthy fat, plus they’ll help curb those greasy food cravings.
  • Lunch meat: Meat is a great source of protein, containing amino acids that will keep you full during your long drive.
  • Bread: Bread is a must-have item on your checklist. Whether used to make a sandwich or eaten plain, you can’t go wrong with a whole wheat loaf.