Aaron DiManna
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The Worst Car Snacks Nobody Talks About, Pt. I

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Delicious, but terrible car snacks
These are bad car snacks
Photo: oatsy40 via CC

We may try to deny it, but most of us secretly love snacking in the car. Maybe it’s the potent combination of only being able to look in one direction and not being able to use your hands for much more than gesturing at other drivers and flipping on your turn signal, but eating while you drive is a guilty pleasure that’s hard to resist.

Have snack-leavings in hard to reach places? Chevy’s got you covered

Sometimes that snack is something you only want to eat from the isolating safety of your driver’s seat, like a greasy burger crafted with apathy by an underpaid 16-year-old. Sometimes it’s a bag of one of those unnatural potato chip flavors that you’re scared of but strangely attracted to. If you’re a healthy person, maybe it’s a bag of mini carrots or some grapes.

No matter what your snack of choice is, there are a few that are completely untenable. Here’s one of them.

The Problem: Sunflower seeds

I’m unashamed to admit that I love eating sunflower seeds, and that the only correct way to enjoy them – outside of a salad or as some sort of garnish – is in the shell. However, as delightful as the shell-equipped snacking experience may be, eating them anywhere other than the great outdoors is a logistical nightmare and a first-class faux pas.

If you choose to chow down on those salty seeds at home, the best-case scenario is that you live by yourself and have a surplus of disposable plates. The next best situation is that your roommate or significant other doesn’t mind watching you clumsily discard a messy wad of wet shells into a red solo cup. Now imagine taking this experience on the road.

What are you supposed to do, toss them out the window one by one? Leave a sloppy mess in one of your few precious cupholders? Save up your leavings before trying to chuck them out the window as they defiantly cling to whatever vessel you spit them into?

No. It’s 2020, and we need to be better than that. So what’s the solution?

The Solution: Shelled pistachios

These pistachios are good car snacks
These are good car snacks, especially without the shell
Photo: Daniella Segura via CC

When you examine the situation from multiple angles, it becomes clear that shelled pistachios are the perfect nut (technically a drupe) to eat while driving.


This one is obvious: you don’t have to fumble with a shell while you’re supposed to be acting like a responsible adult operating a motor vehicle. Moreover, if you put a pistachio (shell and all) into your mouth, you need to reevaluate more than your choice of road trip snacks.


Pistachios are delicious, which is a great quality in a snack.


They’re good for you and the environment. Pistachios are rich in both protein and fiber, and one full serving (which totals 160 calories) consists of 49 nuts. They’re also more environmentally friendly than almonds, as they require less water. Additionally, their shells can be burned to generate electricity, and their hulls can feed cattle.


A shelled pistachio will never force you into a situation wherein you try to make appreciative eye-contact with another driver who kindly moved over to let you merge, only to visually assault them with your grim visage as you slowly spit refuse into a cup or desperately try to flick moist shells from your fingers onto the street.

Please don’t drop nasty shells in this one: The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette