Eating big meals on road trips weighs you down and makes you sleepy. That's why snacks are better, and Jalopnik readers know the very best driving foods of all.
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Everyone has their own favorite snack, but we have used scientific measurements to determine which foods score the highest on a number of important variables: portability, cleanliness, one-hand-ability, greasiness, sweetness, saltiness, and affordability. Using these factors and a secret algorithm, we have determined which ten foods are best from behind the wheel.
Photo Credit: NCM3
Human beings are scientifically proven to have five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, umami, and sour. An additional unscientifically-proven taste is chemically-processed sugar-dusted sweet/sour. Found in things like Sour Patch Kids, it is the most addictive flavor and can never be sated, even on ten-hour road trips.
I've never had pork rinds (l'chaim!), but they look like they're salty, crispy, and hand-held — all excellent road trip snack qualities.
These are nature's own caffeine pills. They're a little gourmet for road trips, but they will keep you wired on long, cold nights.
Tim Horton's TimBits have a lot going against them when it comes to being perfect road trip foods. They're heavy, so they'll put you into a food coma easily. They're glazed and frosted and dusted, so your hands get all dirty. They're also hard to find for those of us not living in Canuckistan.
TimBits, however, are so g** d**** m******f****** tasty we eat them anyway.
Now that we've gorged ourselves on candy, pork rinds, and donut holes, let's take a light health food break. Carrots have the second highest sugar content of any vegetable (behind sugar beets), so they're sweet and crunchy and very hand held. Perfect.
Much like baby carrots, combos are great because they're so small. After all, we don't eat on road trips because we're hungry, we eat because we're bored. Combos are good not because they're super tasty, but because they take a long time to eat. This extends our Duration of Snack Food Appreciation (DSFA), a vital component of Road Trip Snack Enjoyment (RTSE).
Suggested By: StreetsideStig, Photo Credit: Combos
Fruits are good road trip snacks because they don't put you in a food coma after you eat them. Bananas are the best because they come in their own wrapper.
Hitting that sweet/salty bullseye like an Olympic biathlete, trail mix is one of the best foods ever created. All you need are raisins and peanuts. We will allow M&M because we're not tyrannical monsters, but chocolate and other additions are not really necessary.
Sunflower seeds take a little work to eat, and that might seem annoying, but it's actually the best part about them. You have to sit there and crack the little shells. This keeps your brain working even after you've covered 730 miles because you're crossing from South Dakota to Salt Lake City and you're on your own and you've listened to all your music already.
There is simply no better road trip snack than beef jerky. It traces its history back to the Incas, who figured out that you can dry alpaca meat and eat it with one hand. Sadly, automobiles hadn't been invented yet, so the Incas couldn't enjoy the pleasure of snacking on tasty meat at seventy miles an hour, one of mankind's greatest achievements.