Vacations are great, but long drives in crammed cars with six bags at your feet are not. Exhibit A: Here I am (below), trapped and sad on my road trip. During these dark, dismal times, there’s only one way to keep stir-crazy, dead tired, mood-swinging passengers semi-sane: SNACKS.
All normal rules about healthy eating completely disappear on road trips. Road trips provide the perfect excuse to inhale Taco Bell at 4 o’clock in the morning without even an ounce of guilt. This may seem bizarre, but it’s the way of the world. I don’t make the road trip rules, I just write about them.
But how long can a person survive on snack food, junk food, and fast food before their body just gives up? To document the road trip eating experience, I kept a food journal on my iPhone during the 15 hour drive to Florida. In it, I confess my weird eating hours, shameful food habits, and the state of my poor, nutrient-deprived body — because I know we’ve all been there.
11:23 pm — I got into the car approximately 30 seconds ago, and I already have my hand plunged into a carton of Flavor Blasted Goldfish, obviously. Unfortunately, I’m being unwillingly forced to share with the five other road trip passengers. I want ALL THE GOLDFISH.
What the others don’t know, though: I have a secret stash of Girl Scout cookies hidden in the arm rest compartment, all for me (and anyone who catches me secretly eating them in the dark).
11:25 pm — Several Trefoils later, the sugar rush is kicking in. I’m ready for the 15 hour trip, feelin’ great.
11:45 pm — The Goldfish were passed back to me (about time?) but the problem is, I literally cannot stop eating them. Picture me sitting in the front seat of an SUV singing FourFiveSeconds through fistfuls of cheesy crackers.
12:24 am — Just realized I forgot to pack a spoon for the yogurt I brought along for the morning’s breakfast. My feeble attempt at health has already failed. Sigh.
1:15 am — My throat is bone dry from all the salty snacks, and my lips are becoming cracked and chapped. I’m too afraid of being trapped in traffic while having to pee to drink anything. I’ll keep swallowing my spit and pretending it’s water.
2:08 am — As I was sleeping, I heard someone murmur about stopping for gas. After, slowly peeking through my sleepy eyelids, I immediately jumped up in my seat. SHEETZ. Now I’m wide awake because Sheetz gives me LIFE (screw you, Wawa). I’m not even close to hungry after the snack marathon I completed not too long ago, but I’ll take it anyway.
2:22 am — Consuming a Sheetz Pepsi slushy because that’s what you need at 2 am. I can feel a second wind (and sugar crash?) coming on. Oh, and I swiped a spoon for my yogurt. Score.
2:33 am — I’ve decided there’s nothing more blissful than drinking a slushy while listening to Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I feel revived.
7:15 am — I woke up with a stomachache from last night’s snacks or lack of sleep or too long in this car, who knows. Opting for a banana and yogurt because my body is mad at me. We all know what I really want are those Flavor Blasted Goldfish.
8:52 am — Eating a S’mores Luna bar since I’m still pretending to be healthy. Really just eating it for the chocolate fix.
10:03 am — Why I seem to get hungry every hour, I do not know. Now shoving Chex Mix into my mouth as if it’s my last supper. Feels wrong, tastes so right.
11:24 am — The Silver Skillet in Atlanta just provided a great southern-style diner breakfast. Although I didn’t venture too far out of my comfort zone, I did try grits for the first time. For those unfamiliar with grits, my friends and I decided they taste like oatmeal mixed with quinoa. Yeah, weird.
While my stomach is satisfied, I feel seriously greasy. Not sure how much more road trip food I can take on before needing a stomach pump.
12:36 am — Now that I’ve crossed into central time, there’s a whole new time zone for me to snack in. With four hours to go, I’m starting to realize that I maaaay not fit into my bathing suit after all this sodium. Mindlessly munching on pretzels while contemplating how to de-bloat seems appropriate.
2:08 pm — I. Cannot. Stop. Eating. These. Freaking. Goldfish. My body is crumbling. My stomach is gurgling.
2:56 pm — I swore to myself that the Goldfish would be my last snack. I SWORE. But I can’t resist Chex Mix. Willpower has reached an all time low. I feel so heavy and weighed down and I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to salt now or something. My former, healthy self would be mortified.
4:12 pm — Finally, FINALLY arrived. Now, who’s rolling me out of this car and onto the beach?
If you buy road trip snacks before departing, they WILL taunt you for the duration of your car ride. Willpower ceases to exist when you’re trapped in a small space, running on no sleep, fixating on how to satisfy your boredom with food.
Instead of eating six million snacks on my return trip, I packed (delicious) seafood pasta leftovers that kept me full for the majority of the ride. Road trip snacks are still awesome, don’t get me wrong. There is, however, a slight chance that my friends and I over did it. Learn from my mistakes: pack an apple to go with your Chex Mix.