The Ultimate Low Sodium Guide to Road Trips
I love road trips and travel! I think it is because my Dad was a traveling salesman and those Summer Road Trips where we tagged along on some of his sales trips for his territory, were some of the best memories of time spent. As an adult and parent, my wife and I want to share those experiences with our children. Travel is an exciting concept, exploring the unknown and most often things beyond our control.
For someone on a low sodium diet, that unknown aspect strikes fear in us. We wonder, “What will I be able to eat when I travel?” “What about snacks?” or “Can I eat low sodium at Restaurants there?” It is a bit daunting, but with planning you can do it! I have put together a whole bunch of tips, hacks, and recommendations. It is my ultimate low sodium guide to road trips!
Planning the Trip
You obviously plan for the trip. You probably plot out things like routes and directions, your room and accommodations, and things you will be doing. So you should plan for your eating and drinking as well. More than likely, you know the length of the trip, so you could plan things like where to stop for meals. Most roadside food offerings will tend to be fast food choices. We have created many low sodium guides to what you can eat at restaurants and stay low sodium. A lot of the guides are for fast food choices that are typically found roadside like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Subway, and Chipotle.
It is convenient to be able to pop off the road, hit a drive-through, and get back on your way. Planning ahead and knowing what to order can help limit the sodium intake. That puts more of the control back into your hands.
Packing Spices, & Condiments
When I am asked about the best advice I give to people about losing salt, but not taste when they are dining out anywhere, is to bring your own condiments, spices, seasonings, and dressings. So this will also be the most important advice I can share in this low sodium guide to road trips. It was a hassle in the beginning, but once I found out that they make travel spice kits, it was a total game changer. Most restaurants will not have low sodium options for salad dressings, condiments, hot sauces, or spices. If you are going to pack a cooler for the car, You can keep dressings chilled that need to be. No cooler? No problem. Pack travel bottles of oil and vinegar.
Here is a list of spices and condiments I bring on trips with me:
- Hunt’s No Salt Added Ketchup (or my own homemade low sodium ketchup)
- West Brae’s Stone Ground Mustard (it is salt free)
- Tabasco or any other low sodium hot sauce.
- Liquid Smoke
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Malt Vinegar
- Dak’s Salt free Smoked Bourbon Barrel Pepper. (All Dak’s Spices are great & remember to enter HACKING SALT at checkout if you ever buy from them to get a discount and FREE shipping)
- McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning
Packing Low Sodium Snacks for the Road Trip
Easily one of the most often asked questions I get is “What low sodium snacks do you take on road trips?” Any low sodium guide to road trips would be incomplete without them. I will break it down by groups, as you may find several brands that qualify. So here we go:
Fruit & Fruit Snacks –
Fresh fruit is a great snack. Most fruit also does not need to be refrigerated so it makes it great for the car. Plus a bonus tip: Freeze Grapes for an awesome snack and they will double as ice to help keep things cool in the cooler. Fruit Snacks are a great snack. Opt for the 100% juice kind to avoid lots of corn syrup. Dried fruits, fruit leathers, etc. also fit into this category. Check labels on dried fruit to make sure they haven’t had extra sodium or potassium used to preserve them. More great ideas are raisins and craisins.
Peanut Butter & Crackers –
I love Jif’s Natural Line of Peanut Butter that is reduced sodium! For a road trip snack, it is perfect on celery with raisins or craisins or other dried fruits to make Ants-on-a-log. it also makes for a great spread on top of rice cakes or low sodium crackers. Ritz, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, and Saltines all have low sodium or hint of salt options you can buy. If you like cheese with crackers or on rice cakes. A low sodium Neufchatel, Cream Cheese, or Marscapone are great for your spreadable cheese. Swiss is great if you want low sodium slices.
Chips, Salsas, and Nut Mixes –
One of my favorite snacks, whether on a road trip or not is no salt added tortilla chips and salsa. So of course when I am writing the low sodium guide to road trips, I will include my favorite! Pringles and Frito Lay have also introduced “lightly salted” or “hint of salt” versions. Popcorn is also a popular snack in the Low sodium community. I think some of the people in our Hacking Salt Facebook Group might be addicted to Skinny Pop! Many other brands also have some low sodium popcorn flavors as well. Please read the labels though! Just because it is a popcorn, doesn’t mean it is low sodium! That Bacon-Cheddar-Sour Cream flavor might not be the best choice. Just saying.
Salsa’s can be found that are low sodium. The Desert Pepper Peach Mango brand that is pictured above is one of my favorites, not only just with chips, but on chicken or fish as well. Nuts are a snack that travels well. Unsalted nuts can be mixed with raisins and chocolates to make your own trail mix as well.
Beverages & Drink Mixes –
Not all bottled water is created equal. Many people on a low sodium journey are absolutely shocked to learn that water, especially bottled water has sodium in it. It is included as a preservative in many brands of bottled water. You need to read the labels. Also, if you have softened water, it has sodium in it. You need a filtration system that will remove the sodium form your drinking water, or at least be conscious of how much water you are drinking and include the sodium counts in your daily tracking of sodium.
I love water as much as the next guy, but sometimes it gets a bit boring taste wise. Crystal light and many other powdered drink companies now make single serving packets. So you can now turn your water in your water bottle into fruit punch, lemonade, or even an Arnold Palmer. The packs can easily be packed up for a road trip.
I’m sure I could include many other items here. What have I forgotten on this low sodium guide to road trips? What do you bring on your trips? Mention them in the comments below and I will update the guide!
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