Traveling and Snacking HOW-TOs

Summer—time to travel. And whether it’s a road trip, an Amtrak adventure (I do this lots), or a flight, traveling and snacking seem to go together. When in-transit we can get so hungry. But you know how easy it is to pack on the pounds when traveling, and snacking is at the bottom of this. So let’s look at some tried-and-true traveling and snacking HOW-TOs that will help us stay on the healthy weight and diet wagon.

Flying first: Maybe you’ve experienced this: A two-hour flight turns into six hours of waiting along with the traveling. And when that happens, the resulting stress brings on the urge to snack. And then what happens? We become subject to the high price of airport food. Grrrr. So to beat that scenario, here are some healthy snack ideas Fitness Magazine writer, Charles Platkin (also known as the Diet Detective), suggests we start stashing in our carry-ons. Consider:

  •   Water: Buy it after the security checkpoint. Dehydration can cause or exacerbate hunger, jet lag, fatigue, and crankiness.
  •   Cereal: Kashi or granolas are handy portable choices.
  •   Beef jerky: Especially if you're a low-carb fan (not so good though, if you're watching your sodium).
  •   Fruit: Apples, pears, and grapes are durable, and almost any other fruit can be stored in a container.
  •   Rice cakes: Be selective, since calorie and fat content vary widely.
  •   Energy bars: Although they tend to be high in calories and fat, they are generally better than a slice of pizza or a candy bar at the airport.
  •   Nonfat yogurt: Yogurt is a great portable snack (although it is perishable). You can pack a 3-ounce container or less in an insulated bag or take a small cooler, but understand that this might be counted against carry-on bag limitations.
  •   Sandwiches: Pre-cut them into portion-controlled sections so you can pull them out at different times during the trip without making a mess. Chicken, turkey, cold cuts and cheese (on 100% whole wheat bread) are all great options for sandwiches on the go.
  •   Veggie chips: These are yet another portable, low-cal, high-fiber snack.

One caution to all the above, however: Be sure to check with the Transportation Security Administration for the latest in-flight rules on bringing food and water.


Road trips next: We like to “blue line” when we go road tripping. Using a map, we dodge the interstates and follow the blue lines—highways and bi-ways that lead to all sorts of wonderful adventures and sites that are always missed when zooming down a freeway.

But whatever route you take, you know the routine…stopping for gas at a typical convenience store means loading up on all sorts of expensive, calorie-loaded, and stupidly nutrient-empty snacks. The Pepsi + Snickers + Cheetos model is my husband’s favorite. Me, I go for Swedish Fish, Fritos, black licorice of any sort, and a can of coconut water to legitimize this insanity.

Well thanks to Fitness Magazine, our next road trip (in July—to Bellingham, WA then to Jackson, WY) is going to have a much different snacking approach. I’m bringing a cooler and following Fitness suggestions:

  •   Vanilla Greek yogurt and fresh berries
  •   Home-popped popcorn (in coconut oil)
  •   Cans of coconut water, mineral water, and cherry and cranberry juices (for the Pepsi guzzlers in the car)
  •   Cherry or grape tomatoes
  •   Whole grain crackers and cheese slices
  •   Raw nuts mixed with dried fruits
  •   Medjool dates rolled in unsweetened coconut
  •   Chia seed energy chunks (found in most whole foods stores)
  •   Veggie chips (like Doritos, only made with vegetable powder and baked instead of fried)

What’s your routine when snacking as you travel? Pass on your suggestions—we need ‘em; it’s time we spread the HOW TOs about how to successfully travel and snack!


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author!

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