I write this as I pack for a weekend trip, with a variety of snacks laid out nicely on the counter, ready to be packed away into my carry-on. If only I had done this for another recent trip during which I was unexpectedly stuck at the airport for 17 hours sans healthy dining options. Lesson learned: always pack more snacks than you think you’ll need (just like underwear, right?).
Here are a few quick + easy travel snack ideas to help prevent grumbly tummies and unnecessary spending on junky food at the airport convenience store.
Note that these tips are for air travel during which refrigeration is not practical. If you’re going on a road trip and can keep a cooler and refresh the ice appropriately, you’re open to a whole other world of snack ideas–stay tuned for a healthy road trip food post!
Nuts are the quintessential travel food. Being nutritionally dense, nuts pack a lot of calories and nutrients for their volume and weight (thus their mainstay status in trail mix).
Nuts make excellent snacks–their fat, protein, and fiber combo helps stave off hunger and the crunch can satisfy your snack craving. They’re also a great addition to a meal that may be lacking substance.
You can buy them in bulk and pack your own servings or buy the convenient (read: pricier) pre-packaged products. My favorite are almonds + cashews with some dried cranberries!
Fruit is quite possibly the most convenient food out there. Raw and delicious, fruit offers a quick, natural source of energy. Bananas are an all-time favorite staple of mine.
Eat fruit on its own or pair with nuts or nut butter!
Apples, clementines, and berries are great options too. Cherry tomatoes make for delicious snacks as well.
One of my favorite on-the-go breakfasts while traveling is a latte and a whole grain bagel with nut butter. Unfortunately nut butter isn’t available everywhere bagels are sold, so I like to travel with individual packets of nut butter like the one’s from Justin’s and Earth Balance. They’re also perfect for squeezing onto a banana.
Sometimes being prepared for travel isn’t about packing all of your own food, but trying to visualize what might not be available to you while traveling and filling in the gaps.
Perhaps the easiest travel food, bars have a great reputation for being easy + non-perishable. Depending on the bar, they can even replace almost an entire meal.
Fact: bars are processed. Truth: it’s OK to eat some processed food. There are loads of different bars out there. If you’re interested, read the labels and try those that sound good to you.
Once you know what you like, it’s nice to keep them on hand for travel or just-in-case scenarios. I really enjoy Good Greens bars–they’re chocolaty and delicious while packed with plant-based protein and nutrition. Zing Bars (developed by registered dietitians!) and Larabars are also good options.
A total convenience item and not at all a necessity, protein powder can be a great supplement to your diet while traveling.
I like to maintain my workouts while traveling and that often means lifting in the hotel fitness center. I usually like to eat a meal right after I work out, but that isn’t always feasible when traveling.
I like to bring some Vega One and a shaker bottle to make sure I have a nutritious source of plant-based protein for post-workout or to help fill in my nutrition gaps during a period of travel with unreliable food (Vega One moonlights as a sort of multi-vitamin/mineral).
These are just a few tips for healthy snacking while traveling–what are yours? Share in the comments below.