What is it about road trips that make us throw caution to the wind in exchange for empty calories and artery-clogging cholesterol? Sitting behind the wheel doesn't really require the energy of a carb- and calorie-loaded diet, not to mention enough saturated fat and sodium to stop the healthiest of hearts mid-beat. Here are 25 typical road-trip eats and their nutritional value, or lack thereof.
Road trip! Kennel the dog. Slide the shotgun behind the seat. And don’t forget the snacks; you’re bound to get hungry on that long drive to hunting camp. Before you load that cooler with chips and cookies or make your initial stop at the Golden Arches, take a look at our rogue’s gallery of the worst food you’ll find along the way to woods.
What is it about road trips that make us throw caution to the wind in exchange for empty calories and artery-clogging cholesterol? Sitting behind the wheel doesn’t really require the energy of a carb- and calorie-loaded diet, not to mention enough saturated fat and sodium to stop the healthiest of hearts mid-beat. Here are 25 typical road-trip eats and their nutritional value, or lack thereof.
First, a brief overview of why we think these are the worst. We judged each by evaluating the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list, noting the calories, total fat, cholesterol and sodium per serving, as well as any ingredients that raised an eyebrow. (Please pass the propylene glycol.)
The Bomb Beef & Bean Burrito – Appropriately named because you might as well stick an M-80 in your aorta and light the fuse. Half of this behemoth burrito (the recommended serving size) contains nearly 50% of your daily recommended intake of saturated fat and sodium. And c’mon, are you really just going to half of it? – Serving Size: ½ burrito
– Serving per container: 2
– Calories – 520 (Calories From Fat – 180)
– Total Fat – 20g (Saturated Fat – 8g; Trans Fat – 1g)
– Cholesterol – 20mg
– Sodium – 990mg
Hot Pockets Philly Steak & Cheese – Your standard gas-station grab-and-go meal in the form of, well, formed beef steak and cheese stuffed in a doughy shell. This is one of those meals you regret from the first bite. If you make it all the way through, you’ll have consumed 59% of your recommended daily intake of saturated fat. – Serving Size: 1 piece
– Calories – 550 (Calories From Fat – 190)
– Total Fat – 21g (Saturated Fat – 12g; Trans Fat – 0.5g)
– Cholesterol – 50mg
– Sodium – 1,290mg
Uncrustable Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly Sandwich – Great for throwing your hunting pack, these processed PB&Js are also good for a heart-attack with 240 milligrams of Sodium in every crust-free sandwich. – Serving Size: 1 sandwich
– Calories – 210
– Total Fat – 9g (Saturated Fat 2g)
– Trans Fat 0g
– Cholesterol – 0mg
– Sodium – 240mg
Slim Jim Monster, Original Flavor – I admit it, it’s hard to resist the urge to snap into on of these, but after looking at the ingredient list, which includes “mechanically separated chicken,” I think I’ll have a little better self-control in the future. – Serving Size: 1 pkg.
– Calories – 290 (Calories From Fat – 240)
– Total Fat – 25g (Saturated Fat – 10g; Trans Fat – 1.5g)
– Cholesterol – 30mg
– Sodium – 850 mg
Hostess Twinkies – The company behind the quintessential confection is called, no joke, Interstate Brands Corporation. It’s like they knew you would be cramming the creamy cake down your gullet going 75 mph down I-80. – Serving Size: 2 cakes
– Calories – 300 (Calories From Fat – 80)
– Total Fat – 9g (Saturated Fat – 4.5g)
– Cholesterol – 35mg
– Sodium – 420mg
Moon Pie, Chocolate Flavor – It’s a classic, both the chocolate-covered cake and the message on the package touting it as a “Zero Trans Fat Snack.” A deeper look shows the double-decker packs more than 25% of your daily value of Saturated Fat and 300 empty calories. – Serving Size: 1 Package
– Calories – 300 (Calories From Fat – 70)
– Total Fat – 7g (Saturated Fat – 5g)
– Cholesterol – 0mg
– Sodium – 230mg
Pop Tarts, Frosted Hot Fudge Sundae – This childhood favorite has migrated from the pantry to the convenience store, sold in single serving packages to travelers looking for a quick snack, and perhaps a taste of their youth. The package states these are “A Good Source of 8 Vitamins & Minerals,” neglecting to mention they’re also a great source of saturated fat and sodium. – Serving Size: 2 Toaster Pastries
– Calories – 380 (Calories From Fat – 90)
– Total Fat – 10g (Saturated Fat – 3.5g)
– Cholesterol – 0g
– Sodium – 380mg
Nutter Butter Bites – Going by the serving size (10 cookies), these aren’t exactly horrible for you (though they’re not exactly good for you either). But I guarantee if you put this Go-Pak of peanut-butter cookies in your cupholder, the entire package, along with a third of your daily value of fat, will be gone before you get to your stand. – Serving Size: 10 cookies
– Serving Per Container: About 4
– Calories – 140 (Calories From Fat – 50)
– Total Fat – 6g (Saturated Fat – 1.5g)
– Cholesterol – 0g
– Sodium – 115mg
Gardetto’s Italian Cheese Blend Snack Mix – Another popular on-the-road munchie that at first glance gives the appearance of an alternative to ultra-fatty snacks. But again, closer examination reveals a suggested serving size of just ½ cup, which is really just enough to get you started on finishing the whole 5.5 oz. bag in one day’s drive. – Serving Size: ½ cup
– Servings Per Container: About 5
– Calories – 140 (Calories From Fat – 45)
– Total Fat – 5g (Saturated Fat – 1g)
– Cholesterol – 0g
– Sodium – 330mg
Pepperidge Farms Goldfish On The Go – These tiny 2.5 ounce packs of the tasty cheese-like snacks wouldn’t last more than a mile in my truck, so if you figure the cpm (calories per mile), the little fish doesn’t look so innocent anymore. – Serving Size: 55 pieces
– Calories – 140
– Total Fat – 5g (Saturated Fat – 1g)
– Cholesterol – <5mg
– Sodium – 250mg
Hostess Ding Dongs – Another convenience store staple from Interstate Brands Corporation, one serving packs in a whopping 65% of your daily value of Saturated Fat. I think these snack cakes are named after the last sound you hear when the Grim Reaper rings your doorbell. – Serving Size: 2 Cakes
– Calories – 360 (Calories From Fat – 170)
– Total Fat – 19g (Saturated Fat – 13g)
– Cholesterol – 10mg
– Sodium – 230mg
Palmer’s King Bing – Candy bars are one of those guilty pleasures we all enjoy now and then, often when there’s a long road ahead of us. I chose this one because my Dad’s blind bag was never without a Bing. – Serving Size: ½ bar (Seriously, who eats half a candy bar?)
– Servings Per Container: 2
– Calories – 210 (Calories From Fat – 110)
– Total Fat – 12g (Saturated Fat – 4.5g)
– Cholesterol – 0mg
– Sodium – 40mg
Baken-Ets Hot’N Spicy Chicharrones – I’ve always wondered why a good bag of fried pork skins make me weak in the knees. Now I know it’s from the 80% of daily value of Sodium I ingest when I eat the whole “Hunger Grab” bag, which incidentally is supposed to be shared with three of your friends. – Serving Size: 9 Pieces
– Servings Per Container: About 4
– Calories – 80 (Calories From Fat – 45)
– Total Fat – 5g (Saturated Fat – 2g)
– Cholesterol – 20mg
– Sodium – 470mg
Funyuns – A road trip staple when I was a younger man, Funyans are, well, I’m not sure what they are other than “Onion Flavored Rings.” From the ingredient list, they’re apparently made from all things corn: Enriched Corn Meal, Corn (and/or Soybean) Oil, Corn Starch and Corn Flour, among a host of other things that make them high in Total Fat and Sodium. – Serving Size: 1 oz. (About 13 pieces)
– Servings Per Container: About 2.5
– Calories – 140 (Calories From Fat – 60)
– Total Fat – 7g (Saturated Fat – 1g)
– Cholesterol – 0mg
– Sodium – 240mg
Chili Cheese Fritos – A quick poll of my hunting buddies revealed these as a go-to grab bag of empty calories when they’re on road. Like Funyuns, Fritos pack a lot of corn into a little package, along with a lot of Fat, Saturated and otherwise. Again, it’s suggested you share with three other people, or at least eat one bag on four different days. – Serving Size: 1 oz. (About 31 chips)
– Servings Per Container: About 4
– Calories – 160 (Calories From Fat – 90)
– Total Fat – 10g (Saturated Fat – 1.5g)
– Cholesterol – 0mg
– Sodium – 260mg
Monster Energy “BFC” – This monstrous can of energy drink even says on the side “Wimps, Health Nuts and Busy Bodies need not apply.” If that’s not enough to give you pause before consuming 2,500mg (per 8 oz. serving size) of something called “Energy Blend”, then maybe the two other warnings will: “Consume Responsibly – Limit 1 Can Per Day”
“Not Recommended For Children, Pregnant Women or People Sensitive To Caffeine.” – Serving Size: 8 oz.
– Servings Per Container: About 4
– Calories – 100
– Total Fat: N/A
– Cholesterol: N/A
– Sodium – 180mg
Double Gulp Coca-Cola, 7-11 – Put down one of these 64-oz. beasts and you won’t just increase the number of bathroom breaks, you’ll also ingest a full cup of sugars from the high fructose corn syrup. That equals 744 calories. On the plus side, Fat and Cholesterol are absent, so drink up.
Bob Evans Sausage Gravy & Biscuits – When I saw a sausage gravy dispenser in a local convenience store my first thought was “Freaking awesome.” My second thought was “And this is why America is fat.” Seriously, push a button and get sausage gravy. Have we really come to that? – Serving Size: 1 biscuit, half a cup of gravy
– Calories – 330 (Calories from Fat – 170)
– Total Fat – 19g (Saturated Fat – 9g)
– Cholesterol – 20mg
– Sodium – 1,040mg
The Mountaineer, Tudor’s Biscuit World – South of the Mason-Dixon line, an on-the-road breakfast means biscuits, and in West Virginia, biscuits mean Tudor’s. Of all the offering on the menu, the Mountaineer is the most heart-stopping with country ham, potato (in the form of a fried hashbrown), egg and cheese between a big ol’ country biscuit. Interestingly, a bill requiring fast-food establishments to make calorie counts available to customers was defeated in the West Virginia Legislature. Nutritional info not available.
Large French Fries, McDonald’s – Let’s face it, a list of bad-for-you road food could be made up completely of McDonald’s menu items. And while no one goes there just for the fries, they are an important part of why the big yellow arches are America’s favorite and most ubiquitous fast-food chain. – Serving size: 5.4 oz.
– Calories – 500 (Calories From Fat – 220)
– Total Fat – 25g (Saturated Fat – 3.5g)
– Cholesterol – 0g
– Sodium – 350mg
Bacon Cheesburger Toaster Sandwich, Sonic – I admit it, one of the reasons I go to Sonic is the secret hope one of the carhops will go skates over slushie. Alas, it never happens. As payback for my misanthropy, Sonic tries to kill me with a burger disguised as a sandwich, complete with onion ring garnish. – Calories – 671 (Calories From Fat – 350)
– Total Fat – 39g (Saturated Fat – 14.4g; Trans Fat – 1.5g)
– Cholesterol – 92mg
– Sodium – 1,444mg
Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Wendy’s – If conventional wisdom is right, chicken is healthier than beef, so a chicken sandwich is better for you than a burger, right? Think again. This staple of Wendy’s menu packs in 1,330 milligrams of sodium in one heartburning and heart-stopping spicy sandwich. – Serving Size: 1 sandwich (233g)
– Calories – 460 (Calories From Fat – 150)
– Total Fat – 16g (Saturated Fat – 3g)
– Cholesterol – 60mg
– Sodium – 1,330mg
Deli Express Chuckwagon – I don’t know how many of these I ate in college, usually late at night and under the influence, but I think the owners of Deli Express owe me for some fat bonuses they made in the early 90s. If nothing else, they owe me an apology for taking years off my life with these certifiable gut bombs. – Serving Size 1 sandwich (128g)
– Calories – 360 (Calories from Fat – 140)
– Total Fat – 16g (Saturated Fat – 6g)
– Cholesterol – 55mg
– Sodium – 1,070mg
Corn Dog, Dairy Queen – I have a friend who will drive out of her way for a good corn dog, like those made at Dairy Queen. Ideal for eating on the road, this meal-on-a-stick is packed with Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. – Serving Size – 1
– Calories – 460 (Calories from Fat – 170)
– Total Fat – 19g (Saturated Fat – 5g)
– Cholesterol – 80mg
– Sodium – 970mg
Chinese Buffet – As my friend Mark puts it “Any town, anywhere, anytime. A Chinese Buffet is always in play for me and you can find one in almost every town in America.” It’s true. I’ve eaten Chinese in Kotzebue, Alaska; Kingsville, Texas, and innumerable small towns in between. If the calories from the feeding frenzy don’t get you, the sodium will. For example, one serving of chicken chow mein can have up to 2,500 mg of sodium.

Road trip! Kennel the dog. Slide the shotgun behind the seat. And don’t forget the snacks; you’re bound to get hungry on that long drive to hunting camp. Before you load that cooler with chips and cookies or make your initial stop at the Golden Arches, take a look at our rogue’s gallery of 25 of the worst foods you’ll find along the way to woods.