There’s no reason to get stuck eating junk food just because you’re on the road.
The holidays are right around the corner, and chances are you’re going to be traveling somewhere via plane, train, or automobile. It can be hard to get a nutritious snack in transit, but with a little foresight and preparation it’s possible to ensure there are healthy snacks available during travel days. We asked our nutritionists, Brierley Horton, MS, RD, and Jamie Vespa, MS, RD, how they eat healthy on-the-go—here are their favorite snack hacks.
“I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s Blenheim variety,” says Horton. “In my opinion, they’re much more flavorful than Turkish varieties.” For easy portion control, pre-pack your dried fruit in a zip-top bag.
“I love Annie Chun’s seaweed crisps,” says Vespa. “They taste like sushi so it makes me feel like I’m eating something more satisfying than brown rice crisps. They’re also super low-cal, so I can polish off half a bag without feeling an ounce of remorse.” ($29 for 10 bags, Amazon)
If you like to mindlessly munch while driving, plain popcorn is a low-cal snack that’s easy to eat on the road. The best part? These single-serving bags from Rocky Mountain Popcorn are easy to toss in your bag and act as built-in portion control. ($20 for 12 bags, Amazon)
Granola and Yogurt
Vespa swears by this trick for when she’s traveling in the morning. She says, “I’ll pack a little baggie of Purely Elizabeth granola and buy a cup of Greek yogurt at the airport to mix it into.” (Purely Elizabeth Granola, $29 for 3 bags, Amazon)
Horton says, “If I’m hungry, I’ll reach for beef jerky. Not Slim Jim-style, but the real deal. It’s high in sodium, but it’s satisfying and easy to find at well-stocked gas stations and rest stops.” You can also plan ahead by buying portion-size pouches online. ($22 for 10 bags, Amazon)
You can buy trail mix, but it’s easier to make your own—and then it only has the things you like. Vespa says, “I usually throw together a mix of dried cherries, dark chocolate, walnuts, almonds, and flax or sunflower seeds. It’s super filling and satisfies my sweet tooth.” Pack trail mix in snack-size zip-top bags for portion control and portability.
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Starbucks Eggs & Cheese Protein Box
The ubiquitous coffee chain is in nearly every airport and at rest stops across the country. Thankfully, they have healthy snacks, as well. This protein box has grapes, eggs, cheese, a multigrain muesli roll, and a single-serve size of Justin’s peanut butter. The entire box has just 460 calories and 23 grams of protein, making it a healthier alternative to other fast food options. (Starbucks)
Bare Apple Chips
Just a few of the reasons Horton goes for these is that they are crunchy, high in fiber, low cal, and healthy. And as a parent, she loves that they’re entertaining for the kids, not too messy, and not sticky. “It checks all the boxes for a family-friendly snack,” she says. Hard to beat that! ($32 for 6 bags, Amazon)
Horton says, “On a roadtrip, I love to indulge a little and get a latte. I tend to get carsick, and it’s so nice to sip slowly while I’m driving or being a passenger.” Vespa also loves treating herself to a little caffeine boost. She says, “I always carry a few packets of tea with me because you can ask for a free cup of hot water pretty much anywhere, and drinking something warm always calms my nerves.
Fruit and Nut Butter
“Sliced apples and single-serve packs of Justin’s almond butter are always a savior,” says Vespa. Pro tip: Squeeze a mixture of lemon juice and water on your sliced apples to keep them from browning.