Bathing suit? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Beach-worthy book read? Check. Your bags are packed with all the essentials you need for a great summer vacation. Then you get to the airport and realize you’re stuck in a terminal with one small newsstand and nothing to eat. We’ve all been there. Whether its an airport terminal or highway rest stop, finding healthy food while on the road can be a challenge. Skip the overpriced (and underwhelming) travel food and pack your bags with these foods that travel well.
- Homemade muffins with a piece of fruit. Muffins are great for traveling because they don’t require refrigeration or take up much space. Pair with a piece of hand fruit like an apple or orange (or other fruit that can withstand a few bumps in a bag) to round out your meal. If you need some inspiration, try one of these 12 healthy muffin recipes. Most muffins freeze well so you can make them ahead of time.
- Instant oatmeal packets with fruit and nuts. When traveling on a plane, you can ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water or grab it from the airport coffee shop before you board. Choose plain oatmeal to limit added sugar.
- Whole wheat pancakes. When traveling, we call them “handcakes” because no one’s going to judge you if you eat them with your hands. Whip up some extra before your trip and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to go. Pack a stack in a container or travel-friendly Stasher bags (to reduce waste) along with an individual nut butter packet to spread on the pancake when you’re ready to eat them. (The nut butter is optional but adds a lot of flavor and a boost of protein and fat.) For a nutritious option, we like these get banana chia seed pancakes made with oats and whole wheat flour.
- Hard Boiled Eggs: For a high protein, satisfying breakfast or snack, pack peeled hard boiled eggs with some fresh vegetables or fruit. Though we do recommend eating these before you get on the plane to avoid any side eyes from your seat mate.
- Sandwiches. This might sound like an obvious option, but pack your own instead of relying on the sad slimy turkey on soggy bread options you’ll find along your travels. Skip the (perishable) meat and cheese and go for something like sunflower butter and banana on whole wheat bread or a vegetable-filled wrap with beans and avocado.
- Salad in a jar. Start with a grain (or not) on the bottom along with your dressing of choice. Layer on beans or other protein, vegetables, and lastly some leafy greens. Putting the dressing on the bottom keeps the greens and vegetables from getting soggy and then you can shake it all up when you’re ready to eat. Here’s a quick how-to guide for ideas.
- Leftovers. There’s no reason you can’t pack the leftovers that are sitting in your fridge, though this works best if they don’t need to be reheated (and if they’re not highly pungent or perishable). Save old take-out containers or jars so that you can recycle the container when you’re done eating.
- Roasted chickpeas. Make your own or grab a bag from the grocery store. Roasted chickpeas are hearty enough to travel well in your bag and they satisfy a sweet or savory and crunchy craving while on the road.
- Fresh or roasted vegetables: For a lighter snack, vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and snap peas withstand the jostling of being in a bag and stay fresh unrefrigerated for a couple of hours. For extra flavor and staying power, bring along some hummus for dipping.
- Homemade energy balls. They are compact, nutritious, and still taste good even if they become a little misshapen in your bag (we’re just being real here). Try our tahini, apricot, and sea salt bites.
Of course there is nothing wrong with tossing your favorite bar or a ready-to-go trail mix in your bag for an easy snack. But, we highly recommend trying out some different options to keep your body well-fueled and taste buds satisfied on your travel day.