As a frequent traveler, I get sick of airplane and airport food quite easily. While some airports and airlines are developing more healthy options, I usually find myself in the terminal with only refrigerated sandwiches or overpriced fried foods.
The more I travel, the more I’ve started bringing my own meals and healthy snacks. This is an especially good idea for those of us who have dietary restrictions, as I no longer consume dairy products.
So before we can talk about what to eat while traveling, let’s talk about what not to eat. Avoid overly salty foods, as they can dehydrate you and exacerbate the effects of jet lag. And while a glass of red wine on an overnight flight can lull you to sleep, don’t overdo the alcohol or else you’ll be feeling a hangover on top of lack of sleep. It can lead to your first day in your destination being spent in bed, rather than exploring.
I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I want something savory to crunch on. But chips (or crisps, as some of you may call them) aren’t exactly healthy or filling. Substitute them out with roasted nuts like almonds, peanuts or pistachios. Chickpeas and corn nuts are also good for salty snacks. Popcorn and rice cakes can be bland without any butter or seasoning on them, but try your rice cakes with peanut butter and your popcorn with lime zest for extra zing without additional calories.
Just remember to drink some water and not overdo it with the salt to avoid dehydration.
I don’t consider myself to be someone with a sweet tooth, but every now and again I crave it. Granola and trail mix can be boring if you buy the pre-packaged variety, but if you build your own, you can add items you like and leave behind things you don’t. For example, I’ve made my own combination with plain granola, freeze dried strawberries, toasted almonds and chopped dark chocolate. It gives you that bitterness of the chocolate cut with the sweetness of the strawberries.
Yogurt with honey is another great travel snack, especially if you’re looking for a quick breakfast before catching your early morning flight.
There are so many healthy snacks for travel, but the easiest to find throughout the world is dried fruit. I’ve seen it in the markets in Thailand and Turkey, as well as throughout the United States. Dried mango is one of my personal favorites, and is easy to throw into your purse for later.
Energy bars are another, with brands like Lara Bar, Power Bar and Clif Bar being some of the best.
A container of peanut butter (go for the no sugar added kind) can be a life-saver on the road. All it takes is a couple pieces of bread, crackers, rice cakes and the like to make a meal. And it travels well in a backpack since it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
And if all else fails, get yourself a small bag or box of dried cereal, like Cheerios or Raisin Bran.
>> Take a look at some of our “traveling kitchen” tips for more food and travel tips.