I’m not usually one for health tips – anyone who reads this blog on the reg knows that. I believe non-fat anything is disgraceful, I am eating or am thinking about eating about 80% of the time, and believe that wine + popcorn is a suitable dinner. This is a blog about traveling and eating after all, I wouldn’t want to give the impression that we shouldn’t enjoy it!
That being said, eating while traveling can be a bit more of a challenge for me. I mean, it’s hard to find healthy travel snacks while on board a plane, and stopping a rushed road-trip for a bite of local fare is sometimes frowned upon. Couple the extra travel with with rich holiday foods, a healthy dose of homemade holiday fudge, and of course, cocktails, and you have a recipe for disaster (read: adult holiday meltdowns).
In order to keep sane, I pack these healthy travel snacks before a trip. The trick is to pack things you’re excited about eating that will also satisfy you on a (sometimes unpleasant) long journey. This means a variety of sweet and savory, lots of protein to fill you up, and enough water to make up for all that dehydrating time in the air.
Green Tea. I’m a drinker of green tea all the time, but during holiday travel I make a conscious effort to choose it over sugary coffee drinks or ahem, eggnog lattes. It’s full of antioxidants, doesn’t add unnecessary calories, and works as a warming treat for those blustery cold mornings. I pack a little baggie full of teabags, and add water once the service cart comes around. And, while it might not quite qualify as a snack, it is healthy and can travel.
Breakfast. If I have a day of travel ahead of me, I try and make a point to have a healthy breakfast at home. It may be the last homemade meal I’ll have in a while, so I want to pack in all the nutrients I can. I stick to veggie and fruit loaded options in case I don’t have a chance to eat something healthy again. My favorite is a beet and cranberry smoothie, blended with spinach and orange juice for a seasonal twist. Also high on my list? Steel cut oats with toasted kale, Parmesan cheese and a fried egg.
Sea Salt and Vanilla Toasted Nuts. I make a big batch of these toasted nuts a few days before a big trip, and snack on them almost constantly. They make a perfect healthy travel snack because of the perfect blend of savory and sweet. This snack feels a little indulgent, but also serves to fill you up. If you wanted something with a little more kick, try roasting them with red chili flakes and pepper.
Dark Chocolate. Everybody needs a little chocolate when they travel – it warms the soul. In an attempt to avoid the sugar-loaded hot chocolate tempting me at the airport, I pick out a special bar of the stuff to bring with me to savor on the plane.
Apple Slices. These are one of the easier fruits to pack, and no one can deny the wonderful luxury of already sliced apples! Give them a squeeze of lemon juice if the brown color bothers you. Another plush? They freshen your breath!
Carrot Sticks with Peanut Butter. Another super – easy, welcome snack for the plane. Never tried carrots and peanut butter before? Sounds like you never went to summer camp. If you want to get really crafty, cut the carrots into coin-shaped rounds, add the peanut butter and make a little sandwich. Voila, perfect healthy travel snack!
Walnut Millet Muffins. Really any muffin would do, but I am particularly fond of millet muffins when I’m traveling. They are easy to eat (as in, they won’t make a huge mess) and are so much better for you than the ones you’ll find at the airport.
Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast. I’m a big fan of regular old popcorn (see above wine + popcorn = dinner comment) but for special occasions, like plane rides, I like nootch popcorn. Oddly enough, I’ve been calling this extra-special-secret popcorn nootch forever, but recently found a recipe for it, and the blogger calls it nootch as well. Must mean we should be friends! Nootch is short for nutritional yeast. Which sounds nasty, I’m aware. It is not nasty though, it’s amazing. It’s kind of cheesy and savory, and full of, well, nutrients. Basically, you make a batch of popcorn on the stove top, then add a tablespoon or two (or three!) of nutritional yeast (which you can buy at a health food store, or a well-stocked bulk section). I’ve included a recipe from Gimme Some Oven, in case you’d like more details.
Water bottle. I know, I know, this is not a food. But it’s kind of a food, right? Food or not, I’m including it anyway, it’s that important. I always bring a big, empty water bottle through security when I fly. If I can’t find a drinking fountain, I politely ask a vendor to fill it up for me before I board the plane – nothing beats fresh (non-airplane) water once you hit cruising altitude.
Have more ideas? Let us know in the comments below!