You know the feeling when you’re on a long road trip, and run out of snacks? I know I’m not the only one who’s had this experience, driving through somewhere rural and coming across only a few, random gas stations. I’m not talking the gas stations with food sections that rival a grocery store (yes, Sheetz, I mean you), but the sparsely stocked, minimalistic, look like they haven’t been revamped since the early 2000s ones. When basic healthy snack options such as carrots, fruits, or even cheese sticks aren’t available, I’m going to give you a definitive ranking of the best gas station eats possible.


nut, meat, almond, walnut, apricot pits
Christin Urso

Probably the only actually healthy and nutritious snack you’ll be able to find at virtually any gas station, a bag of unsalted peanuts, almonds, or pistachios is always a great option. Packed with fiber, protein, and omega 3- fatty acids, this snack will keep you full until you reach your final destination. Check out this list of the health benefits of other popular nuts and seeds, in case there are some alternatives available where you are!

Kind Bars

chocolate, candy
Zoe Denenberg

After rising to quick fame in recent years, Kind Bars are a staple that I’ve come across in almost all gas stations. Full of whole grains like oats, amaranth, and quinoa, as well as some brown sugar (aside from other natural sweeteners), Kind Bars are a yummy and decently wholesome alternative to granola bars. If you find yourself choosing between a few flavors, check this out to find the one you might think is best. 


Hummus may be a long shot, but Snyders and Rold Gold pretzels are everywhere. Although they're made with refined flour, compared to another crunchy snacks (Lays Original Potato Chips, I’m looking at you), pretzels are surely the lesser of the evils in this situation. With less saturated fat and less sugar than regular chips, pretzels are a great option to pack for the road. And if you’re lucky, you may come across some of the Sabra hummus packs with pretzel thins included. The protein and fiber in the chickpeas will leave you feeling satisfied for longer.

Baked Lays 

When you need chips, you need them. Baked Lays are a healthier alternative to normal fried potato chips, or even the yummy kettle cooked chips. Baked instead of fried (thank goodness for self-explanatory names), they are lower in calories and fat than regular chips. However, the sodium and saturated fat count is still up there, but for a guilty pleasure, feel no guilt! With only eight ingredients, all of which you can pronounce easily, go ahead and get them.

Smartfood Popcorn

popcorn, salt
Lea Walsh

Smartfood Popcorn is another healthier option that is available in almost all gas stations across the country. Although it goes without saying that plain kernels air-popped with a little bit olive oil is a great, naturally healthy snack, Smartfood will sometimes have to do. With only 160 calories per serving, this 6 ingredient snack is a tasty and filling way to get your snack fix on the road. Plus, a little bit of cheese makes anything better, you know it’s true.

Dark Chocolate

Finally, for a sweet treat, go for that bar of dark chocolate- or several (for later, of course), because everyone loves finishing up their salty snacks with a little something sweet. I know you’ve heard it before, but dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants, it's low in cholesterol, and it's a pretty good source of copper, iron, and magnesium. If you'd like to follow the debate on dark vs. milk chocolate, check this out: with my completely (un)biased opinion, dark chocolate is the clear winner. 

No road trip is complete without eating a snack to help pass the time. Although moderation is key, go ahead and indulge in whatever you're craving - sometimes it's just what you need.