20+ Healthy Foods to Pack When You Travel

by in Dining Out, July 22, 2013

whole-grain crackers
Hitting the road this summer? Whether traveling by car or plane you can still make healthy choices.

By Car
By the time you turn the corner, everyone in the car is begging for food. The last thing you want to do is bring a never-ending supply of junk. Instead, pack a few good-for-you mess-free meals and snacks. To keep things fresh, bring a cooler (the traditional kind or one that plugs into the car).

Meals:

  • Whole-grain pasta salad or quinoa salad
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  • Hard-boiled egg and cheese in a whole-wheat pita

Snacks:

  • Sliced fresh fruit like melon and berries
  • Snack bar
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese and whole-grain crackers

If you end up having to hit the quick mart anyway, look for the smarter choices:

  • Whole-grain pretzels
  • Hummus cups
  • Coffee or tea (nothing fancy)
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Small bowl of oatmeal

By Plane
These days, most flights don’t provide food (or they sell mostly junk), so if you want to stay on track with your healthy eating goals, advanced planning is a must. If you’re counting on purchasing food at the airport or on board, you’ll pay a pretty penny, plus not all airports carry healthy fare. Instead, pack a few sandwiches and snacks such as:

Sandwiches:

  • Cucumber and whipped cream cheese on whole-wheat bread
  • Peanut butter and jelly on rye
  • Grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato and mustard in a whole-grain wrap
  • Hummus with sliced tomato, pepper and cucumber in a whole-wheat pita

Snacks:

As you can’t bring liquids (or ice!) into the airport terminal, place the food in a small insulated pouch and bring empty resealable plastic bags. At the airport fill the resealable plastic bags with ice to make your own ice pack.

At the Hotel
Traveling always makes me hungry, and the last thing I want to do is check into my hotel and run to the vending machine. Instead, I ask ahead if there is a supermarket nearby and if the room has a refrigerator and microwave oven.

At the supermarket, I pick up easy finger foods that require little or no prep, such as fruits, pre-cut veggies or baby carrots, dry roasted nuts, Greek yogurt, and whole-grain cereal and milk.  If I know there’s a microwave, I will pre-make several brown bags with popcorn kernels to pop in the microwave.

TELL ME: How do you eat healthy while traveling?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (7)

  1. [...] Cucumber and whipped cream …read more [...]

  2. [...] Cucumber and whipped cream …read more [...]

  3. susan says:

    The suggestion to pack nonfat greek yogurt and hummus cups when traveling by plane is ridiculous. These items are considered a liquid and will be confiscated by TSA.

  4. Thomas says:

    Hmm, interesting I think I should try this because every time start traveling I feel like I just gained 20 pound. I just forget that I need to eat healthy and just just pack on all these delicious and unhealthy foods, especially on planes or trains.

  5. Mark Coy says:

    Whenever I travel for more than 4 hours I usually take a tuna sandwich and some snacks. I have my own rituals when it comes to this, I book the flight in advance on http://www.skylightdeals.com/velux.aspx then I prepare myself the delicious travel meal and then just go.

  6. Donna Purrs says:

    I'm a passionate raw vegan so my favorite snacks to bring with me when I explore the world are nuts and dried fruits. I also love sweets, so I pack plenty of cereal bars and honey and sesame bars. I also bring a chocolate, though I'm not sure it's the healthiest snack ever.

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