We all want to travel smart and healthy — but that’s often easier said than done. Long layovers at the airport, tight connections, and tired caffeine and carb crashes can lead to making bad choices. The best tool for making the right decisions is being prepared — and knowing what is actually good for us rather than what pretends to be. Here’s how to do it.
Pre-pack snacks for your trip.
Great snack options for traveling include carrot sticks, other vegetable crudités or fruit, says Katy Bloxsom, a registered dietitian who blogs about healthy eating while traveling at Have Fruit, Will Travel. Fruit comes in its own convenient packaging and doesn’t require refrigeration. While apples and bananas are easy, think outside the box for a more exciting snack. Kiwis make exotic airport snacks that don’t require any special tools since they come with their own bowl and are super scoopable. Cut them in half, grab a spoon, and scoop away! Kumquats are another great no-mess airport treat. No need to peel, just eat as is for a citrusy, sweet, and sour snack without the mess or leftover peel of an orange.
Be sure to pre-portion almonds into plastic baggies, so you always have an easy, delicious, and satisfying snack on hand, says registered dietitian Kate Geagan. On a trip, this will help you to skip the cookie or donut purchase before boarding the plane. Another great pre-pack option is chocolate. “I am a sucker for a bit of chocolate; an ounce of smooth dark chocolate (or cacao nibs) is a great partner for crunchy roasted almonds,” says Geagan, who also keeps olives on hand. “I love the flavor, and, surprisingly, the salt helps me stay hydrated on a flight. It’s a trick I learned from the U.S. Ski team; eating a plant-based, sodium rich food at the beginning of a flight helps athletes stay fully hydrated!” says Geagan.
Be sure to drink plenty of water whenever you are away from home. Climate variations, air pressure changes, and running around take a toll on your body, says Lori Kenyon Farley, a nutrition consultant who specializes in wellness, fitness, and anti-aging. Drinking at least eight glasses of water (not-caffeinated drinks or soda) will keep you hydrated.
Make smart substitutions.
Instead of potato chips, try kale chips, says Juice Press’s nutrition expert, Alex Jay. “This crunchy and totally satisfying snack is a mixture of kale, lime dressing, nutritional yeast, braggs amino, agave, garlic, cayenne pepper, olive oil, onion powder, and chipotle. With just the right amount of kick, you’ll be coming back for more — guilt free!” says Jay.
Choose healthfully at the airport.
Finding healthy snacks at the airport can be a bit of a challenge. From frozen yogurt to trail mix, there are certain things that may appear healthy but aren’t. “Certain fruits like cherries and cranberries are very tart, often times additives like corn syrup are added in order to make this a sweet treat. The only ingredient in your dried fruit should be fruit!” says Nadia Murdock, a fitness expert and coach. As for trail mix (a travel staple), it’s important to read the labels, as they’re often loaded with extra ingredients like salt or M&Ms. And be aware of portion control: it’s easy to polish off a bag while waiting for your flight to board. “Many nuts contain a lot of fat, of course cashews are better option than a bag of chips, but it still contains fat! One ounce of cashews (about 18 kernels) is 156 calories!” says Murdock. Try consuming your trail mix with water to help you to feel satisfied.
Be savvy on road trips.
“If you’re traveling on the road, 7-Eleven or gas stations are your better bets (versus fast food restaurants) because you can get hard-boiled eggs (the ultimate clean protein snack to-go), low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks, and in some cases, single-serve packets of nut butter (like Justin’s), and whole fruit,” says Amanda L. Dale, a personal trainer and fitness expert.