When you travel, you may think fast food is your only option – you probably aren't thinking of packing healthy and portable snacks! However, you can still eat healthy, delicious food no matter where you may go. There are many ways to keep things cold or warm, even if you are going to be traveling for hours! Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fast food if you really want it (life is about balance!) but you don’t need it for every meal and snack. Here are some healthy and portable snacks that will help you stay on track during your travels.
This is one of my favorite healthy and portable snacks. Smoothies can be tweaked for travel depending on the duration of your trip and consumption time. If you are going to have your smoothie in 3-4 hours, it is a good idea to blend it up, put it in a jar with a lid on, and put it in your cooler. If it will be a little bit longer before you consume it, make your smoothie the night before you go, put it in the freezer overnight, and put it in your cooler the next day and it will slowly thaw (you can keep it out of the cooler if needed). There are also many places that sell pure fruit smoothies with no sweeteners, and I love the brand Sambazon’s protein smoothies. They make a filling meal replacement or snack, and taste fabulous!
2. Energy Bars
Energy bars are non-perishable, portable, and easy to eat. What could be wrong with that? Well, if you buy an overly processed brand that includes added sweeteners, colors, and preservatives, you will blow your healthy snack right out the window. I love the brand Larabar, because they only contain a few ingredients and are all natural. They are addicting though, so I must warn you. However, you can also make homemade energy bars by combing 10 dried dates, 3T unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/4c. raw almonds, and juice of ½ lemon in a food processor.
3. Hummus and Vegetables
Although vegetables are perishable, you can still take them along for a healthy snack if you know how. All you have to do is cut up your fresh vegetables ahead of time (to spare yourself of some messy car cleanup…not fun!), put them in a Tupperware container, and put into a cooler with ice. They should last a day in the cooler, but it will vary with the temperature and how fresh your produce was to start. Now for the hummus – you can do one of two things. You can make homemade hummus and put it into travel-sized containers, then place it in your cooler. However, brands like Wild Garden and Sabra make pre-made, travel hummus you can take with you.
4. Trail Mix
You can buy a pre-made trail mix (just watch out for added sugar and salt) or you can make your own mix of combinations you like. It is so easy to take with you and delicious enough for your entire family to eat, not to mention fairly cheap if you buy in bulk bins! You can always just have plain raw nuts or dried fruit, fruit leather, and fruit snacks without added sweeteners. The brand Panda makes delicious licorice that is all natural and portable. Another great travel food is Ginger People’s ginger chews, which have helped me with my digestion from the stress of traveling. You can either have them plain, or add them to a trail mix for a chewy sweet treat.
5. Fresh Fruit
When you are traveling, it can be difficult to stay hydrated. That’s why it is important to pack extra fresh fruit that is high in water content. Just slice up some nourishing fresh fruit, place it in a covered container, and put it in your cooler. Some fruit doesn’t stay fresh very long, so plan accordingly, or try putting lemon juice on some of your fruit to keep it fresh longer. Another alternative is to freeze your pre-cut fruit in zip lock bags overnight before your trip and let them thaw during the duration of the trip (frozen fruit tastes delicious too if you can’t wait for to thaw). You can use already frozen fruit in bags for ultimate convenience as well.
6. Kale Chips
Vegetable chips are about as portable as you can get. They are extremely healthy too, as long as you get them without any trans fat, fried oils, or “natural” flavors. Kale chips are probably the healthiest, because most packaged brands are raw and contain organic ingredients. Not to mention kale is rich in vitamins and nutrients your body needs, making it a great option. You can make them at home too, by baking kale (or other vegetable) with olive oil and sea salt until crispy. Other good vegetable chips include sweet potato, beet, and carrot chips.
Who says you can’t have a salad for a snack? Okay, so maybe you don’t want to have a salad for a snack, but hear me out! Life is about balancing the choices you make, and if you have a salad now, it should balance out going out to eat at night. Of course, I’m not telling you to stuff yourself at night because you had a salad for a snack, but you can help stay on track for the times when you do indulge by eating healthy in advance. To keep salad freshest, wait to mix the dressing with the vegetables (unless it’s a kale salad, in which case the longer that marinades with the dressing, the better it will taste). Try a salad in a jar by layering your favorite vegetables in a mason jar, which is extremely portable and will keep your salad fresh.
This is a great option for dipping vegetables in on the go. Alternatively, you could serve with some organic tortilla chips for a tasty snack. The only problem with bringing guacamole is that it is perishable homemade. You can buy pre-made, natural guacamole that is only perishable once you open it. However, if you want a more fresh option you are going to have to bring your own avocado, cut it up, and mash it in your car just before you eat it. This is easy to do, but not the most convenient choice. Something I like to do is just eat the avocado flesh with some herbs and sea salt without mashing it, so that’s also an option.
There are usually sandwiches available for travel lunches, but what about snacks? Depending on how hungry you are, half of or a whole sandwich can make a convenient snack. Just make sure you are buying 100% whole grain bread, not just “multigrain” because that usually means there are added fillers. Top it with healthy options like almond butter, bananas, strawberries, or savory things like hummus, guacamole, leafy greens, tomatoes, sprouts, and mustard. This will taste amazing, and it is also kid-friendly because most kids (at least the ones I know) enjoy sandwiches!
Another thing that isn’t a snack I thought I would add is an insulated water bottle; it will keep your water cold so that you can stay hydrated and healthy. You could also bringing Kombucha (fermented tea) if you are looking for a soda substitute. If you take some of these healthy snack options with you on your next trip, you won’t be as tempted to indulge and gain weight as many people do on trips. Do you pack healthy snacks when you travel?