Traveling is a blast, but it can be hard to eat inexpensively and healthy. With my recent weekend trips, I quickly got past the joys of buying all my meals (and coffees) out each day after my first weekend trip. As I prepared for my longer flights, I tried to think through what sounded good to snack on, and what would give me healthy real food fuel to spend most days exploring on my feet.
I know many of you think about the same things that went through my head: bringing your own snacks or food means saving money, eating healthier, and limiting impulse snacking or desperate purchases. So let’s brainstorm together!
When Noah and I ended up ravenous on our way home from Seattle, I was happy to have fruit, a KIND bar, and almonds in my bag since our departure terminal had a bagel shop, a fast food restaurant, and a picked-over Starbucks selection.
Today, I’m sharing with you how I was successful in packing and some of my favorite items to bring along! If it’s a short drive or flight, I might keep some of these items in my bigger bag, but the majority reside in my carry-on or larger purse for easy access and options when hunger strikes.
This post is sponsored by KIND Snacks. I was compensated for my time.
Healthy Travel Snack Ideas
When thinking about what to pack, I like to prioritize diversity of flavors and textures while balancing the carbohydrates, fat, and protein I’m enjoying. Since airplane travel and road trips are quite sedentary, I also think about the amount of food I could keep in my bag for another day if not enjoyed during travel.
Ask yourself these questions as well as your answers may be different than mine, but this is what I keep in my bag!
- What kind of healthy, convenient packaged snacks will I want to have on hand?
- I pick out bars based on their ingredient list – looking for wholesome ingredients I can see and pronounce, like the KIND Nuts & Spices, with 5 grams of sugar or less (naturally) per bar.
- I love packing single serving packets of almond butter or oatmeal (you can bag this yourself at home for even more savings! just remember airline regulations for flying).
- Mints or gum are a great refreshing option too if you’re not truly hungry but wanting to clear your mouth of a different taste.
- What fruits and veggies would stay fresh and be tasty to have as snacks?
- I try to pack smart with fruits to avoid a mess, so I generally stick to clementines, bananas (not super ripe ones), or apples.
- Many veggies can go awhile without refrigeration and still be crunchy, so I like to pre-slice and wash things like celery, carrots, red pepper, baby tomatoes, and radishes.
- I use little portioned baggies (pictured) to keep everything organized.
- Will I want things besides water to drink?
- Bringing my own instant coffee packets, tea and honey on the airplane is easy since they can provide hot water!
- I also sometimes stash vitamin C packets when traveling during the winter to avoid everyone else’s sniffles.
- Make sure to bring that water bottle along – empty for the airport, where you can usually refill it at a water fountain or a coffee shop.
- Am I traveling long enough to pack a meal or do I want to rely on multiple snacks?
- It’s easy to pack leftovers for lunch at work, but I do the same when I travel! I love having real food with me for meal-time options when I’m sick of snacking on longer days.
- What time of day will I be traveling?
- This definitely determines my snacks further – I tend to go for different fruit and snack options depending on the time of day. Check out some of my ideas below!
Morning Travel Snack Ideas
- Early morning bite: I love grabbing a subtly sweet bar with nuts or fruit in the car on the way to the airport, as I have to eat right away in the morning. An extra bar or two are always enjoyed later in the trip since they keep well!
- Mid morning ideas: Bring an oatmeal packet for the plane (they are happy to give you hot water!), fresh fruit and veggies for munching, and tea to perk you up.
Day and Night Travel Snack Ideas
- Lunch or dinner time bites: When I know I’ll be traveling over a meal time, I try my best to have leftovers to bring with me in the car or on the plane. As long as they’re not liquid (like yogurt), you have lots of options for this. Some of my favorites include…
- Roasted veggies and grains leftover with a hard boiled egg in a sealed container
- Cooked chicken into a baggie or container (with spinach if you’re eating it within 2 hours)
- A quinoa salad (cooked quinoa, chopped veggies, beans) with some type of utensil
- Sides of fruit, chopped vegetables that will keep well, savory roasted almonds
- Dessert option of a sweeter bar
- Afternoon or later evening ideas: If I’m traveling between meals, I try to keep things lighter so I have an appetite when I reach my destination – because there’s always a new restaurant to try! Again, for when I’m feeling snacky, some fresh fruit, sliced veggies, and a bar usually do the trick.
I hope this post gave you some new ideas for your next trip, whether it be by car, train, bus, or plane. I never regret dedicating space to Healthy Travel Snacks and packing some of my own food – even if I end up back home with a leftover apple or bar. Exploring with snacks in tow is the way to go! I am happy to be grounded here in Denver for awhile since I’ve exhausted my hit-the-ground-running attitude, but these tips will be used again and again as I make my next travel plans.
Share with me in the comments where you’re headed next, whether local or not, and what your favorite travel snack is!