It’s summer road trip time, meaning you might make a lot of stops for snacks. And one of America’s favorite stops is 7-Eleven.
Founded in 1927 in Dallas as the nation’s first convenience store, 7-Eleven says it now has 81,000 locations in 18 countries, under both the 7-Eleven banner and affiliated brands, including Speedway. In the United States and Canada, you’ll find 13,000 of them.
Customers have been drawn to 7-Eleven for its proximity but also for its innovations. By the 1950s, the chain had added gas to its offerings. In 1963, a location in a Texas college town stayed open 24/7 to the delight of students, and the round-the-clock hours then spread to other stores. Want something to drink? In 1965, 7-Eleven introduced its now-famous Slurpee and coffee in a to-go cup.
So just what are some of the best things to buy as you hit the road and need a pick-me-up? We asked Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com, for her thoughts — and added one of our own.
Gluten-free and just 39 calories a cup, SkinnyPop is a fun indulgence during your travels — starting at $1.89.
“This is a decent road trip snack as it’s healthier than standard chips that you usually see at many convenience stores,” Ramhold said. “And you can typically find it in original and white cheddar flavors, so you can mix it up a little.”
Ka-POP! Rosemary & Garlic Ancient Grain Popped Chips
A different twist on the typical road fare are the Ka-POP! products. The popped chips start at $1.49.
“This is another alternative to standard potato or tortilla chips that usually don’t have any kind of nutritional value to them, and they come at a reasonable price, too,” Ramhold said. “Not all healthy options are so affordable so this is a good one to see if you’re looking for something more than just another bag of Doritos.”
“This is a great sub for sodas, and different brands have different flavors,” Ramhold said. “For instance, Aura Bora sparkling water comes in flavors like Watermelon Peppermint or Lavender Cucumber, and you can get a 12-ounce can from around 99 cents. Other brands like Bubly are also available in 20-ounce bottles from $1.49, or you can opt for 7-Eleven’s own brand 7-Select in 16.9-ounce bottles for around $1.59.”
Smartsweets Sourmelon Bites
Here’s a healthier spin on candy, starting at $3.49 for a 1.8-ounce bag.
“Being able to find healthier versions of candy at 7-Eleven automatically puts them on a higher tier than standard convenience stores,” Ramhold said. “These sour watermelon candies come in the perfect pouch for one serving and have no artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols or added sugar. And if you’re not into sour candies, 7-Eleven has a handful of other Smartsweets products available, too.”
7-Select Organic Cold-Pressed Juice
“There are four different flavors to choose from, and they’re a great alternative to the typical bottled drinks you find at convenience stores, including other juices which may have added sugar,” Ramhold said. “Even better, you can see right on the front of the label which fruits and veggies make up the drink.”
The juices start at $2.99.
So the Slurpee isn’t the healthiest option on the list, but it is an American classic and a summertime tradition. A 12-ounce Slurpee costs $1 and comes in a variety of flavors, such as blue raspberry, pineapple whip and cherry.
A small blue raspberry has 150 calories, 41 grams of carbohydrates and 40 grams of sugar, according to 7-Eleven’s nutritional labels. If your diet allows, maybe treat yourself to just one.
If you envision a lot of 7-Eleven stops on your summer travels, download the app and join the 7REWARDS program before you hit the road. You’ll save money on gas — 11 cents a gallon on your first seven fill-ups — and earn points on nearly every dollar you spend in store. You can redeem those points for future free snacks.
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