Road trip snacks are essential for any long trip. How else are you going to be able to manage hangry passengers while you're stuck in traffic or when there just seems to be nothing good on the radio?

That said, there are definitely some road trip snacks that are much better than others. Whether it's an unexpected source of protein, healthy carbs, or just some amazing flavor, you should definitely consider packing these road trip snacks for your next trip.

1. Almonds

nut, chocolate, cereal, coffee
Stephanie Lee

Almonds are my all-time favorite nut to snack on, and it's easy to see why. These little guys are portable, mess-free, and provide a great crunch. But why else should you bring them on a road trip?

Think protein! Almonds one of the nuts with the highest amount of protein, making them a great option if you're stuck in traffic with no rest stops in sight. I love to eat them whole and unsalted, but if you want to kick these nuts up a notch, there are plenty of flavored varieties as well.

2. Apple chips

apple, sweet, quince, vegetable
Christine Pritula

"Road trip snacks" usually scream all things junk food—but what if that doesn't have to be the case? Enter the apple chip! If you're looking for a fruit fix on the road, but don't want to have to deal with peeling a fruit, or having no place to put the core, the apple chip is going to be your best friend.

Sweet and crispy, this is a great way to beat your sugar cravings on the road. Plus, you can punch them up with apple cinnamon if you're feeling really fancy. Try this three-ingredient recipe before you head out if you want to make them yourself!

3. Mozzarella cheese sticks

Is there anything better than cheese? (I'll answer that for you: no.) If you're looking for something a little less crunchy, and a bit creamier, then mozzarella cheese is your best bet.

They're still crazy portable, which makes them easy to eat in the car. Plus, who doesn't get a little bit of satisfaction by pulling apart all the strings bit by bit? As an added bonus, cheese sticks are practically carb-free, full of protein, and have 20% of your daily calcium.

If you decide to wrap your cheese sticks in delicious breading and eat them with a side of marinara sauce...I can't say I'd judge you!  

4. Roasted chickpeas

cereal, nut, pea, chickpeas, meat, garbanzo, vegetable, legume
Kristine Mahan

Think of roasted chickpeas as the healthy version of gas station Corn Nuts. If you eat these on your road trip, you can be confident that you're getting a ton of fiber, and 26% of your daily value of iron.

Again, the crunch and seasoning factor will definitely work in your favor here. Roasting the chickpeas amplifies the crunch factor big time–picture popcorn kernels without the fear of breaking a molar.

You can buy them in the grocery store–I love Biena brand's line of snacks–or you can make your own at home, and add as much seasoning as you like!

6. Lärabars

Emily Waples

A road trip snack that's organic and made with all wholesome ingredients? Sign me up! If you're anything like me, being stuck in a car on a road trip can mess up your stomach big time.

Simple ingredients are definitely the way to go for snacking. But simple doesn't have to mean boring, something that Lärabar definitely understands. And though you might have to wait until the fall to try out the pumpkin pie flavor, there's plenty of other flavors for all of your destinations.

Heading to Florida? Try Key Lime Pie. Somewhere tropical like Hawaii (okay, not technically a road trip, but help me out here)? Try Coconut Cream Pie. Whatever flavor you choose, make sure to savor it!

7. Organic popcorn

popcorn, corn, cereal, sweet, caramel, kettle corn, milk
Andrea Kang

You probably won't want to buy something calorie and fat-laden like Smartfood or buttered movie theatre popcorn while shopping for road trip snacks. But buying something organic and wholesome like Angie's BoomChickaPop is a much better option.

This popcorn, and other varieties in the same vein, are light, airy, and only fall somewhere around 70 calories a cup. Plus, the flavors are so delicious and varied that you can easily get a bag for every passenger in the car.

I'm more of a sweet and spicy barbecue girl myself, but I'm sure there's someone in your caravan who would die for sweet and salty, or even dill pickle. Don't pass up on this snack!

8. Bell pepper slices

There's always one health nut in the car who has sworn off pre-packaged road trip snacks. And for that person, bell peppers come to the rescue! Bell peppers tick off all the boxes: sweet, crunchy, healthy, portable, and totally dippable.

Carefully cut your peppers before you set out on your trip, and make sure to bring some individual dips for the car. You can go with hummus, ranch, or, for die-hard avocado fans, an individual guacamole container.

9. Fruit leather

This goes out to all the kids whose parents wouldn't let them eat Fruit by the Foot as a kid. Fruit leathers are delicious, and if you make it yourself, then you have exact control over the ingredients and the health factor.

Sweet and chewy, fruit leather will definitely keep your noisy passengers at bay, and give your sleepier passengers a sugar boost to push through the last 100 miles. Watch this video to figure out how to make your own watermelon version.

10. Cheez-Its

Again, cheese is key on a road trip. Cheez-Its take all the fun of other pre-packaged snacks, and folds them into one cheesy, salty bite. They're crunchy, they're savory, they have tons of flavors, and they really hit the spot!

Plus, if you have a box of Scrabble version, or a variety with movie or TV characters etched into each cracker, you have some in-car entertainment. Spell out the first thing you'd love to see once you get out of the car—good luck trying to find a "H" though!

11. Slurpees

As much as I love healthy snacks, I have to admit that at the end of the day, road trips with your friends are all about fun. And with fun comes some junk food classics.

Slurpees are the quintessential gas station food, and are definitely something you can't miss on your car ride. While some flavors are definitely better than others (kale, anyone?) you really can't go wrong with whatever you choose.

Who knows, you might even plan your road trip for Bring Your Own Cup Day.

Road trip snacks are absolute essentials on every trip. From a ride to grandma's to a spring break vacation, wherever there's a car ride, there needs to be snacks to follow. And with this list in mind, you'll definitely ensure that your car will be the party car for years to come.