Penny’s Guide to Healthy Travel Snacks
I don’t deny that part of the pleasure of travelling is, of course, experiencing the local cuisine; be it snack foods, dinners, street food or delightful desserts. However, even just a couple of days indulging in a few too many croissants, patisseries, camembert, curries and gelato throughout the day can certainly take its toll on an avid traveller’s stamina, waistline and let’s not forget the wallet.
When travelling for long periods of time and especially when travelling for work it’s important to maintain our health. Additionally, when trekking and taking day trips where you’re not sure what kind of food will be available, how much it will cost or whether it will be clean and safe; it is always a good idea to be prepared.
Here I share with you some of my favourite, healthy snack ideas for travelling.
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First and foremost, your number one companion when travelling (and in life) should be a handy water bottle. Filled with drinking water. Aim to drink at least 2 litres* a day. Staying hydrated will not only help you to stay alert and aware but also aid digestion and prevent you from confusing hunger and thirst.
* For a more precise hydration level, aim for 1L water for every 30kg of body mass as a base amount of water. Then drink more if you’re exercising and when it’s hot/humid. For example, if you weigh 90kg, your minimum water intake should be 3L per day plus more for exercise and hot weather.
2. Staying close to the source
For those wanting to stay as close to nature as possible then some of the BEST and HEALTHIEST snacks I love to travel with are:
Nuts & seeds
The protein and healthy oils in these will help satisfy those hunger pangs and keep you full, tying you over to your next meal. Almonds and Cashews are usually pretty easy to find in most places but any kind of nut or seed (think pepitas, sunflower kernels) will satisfy.
Carrots, cucumber, zucchini, apples, oranges, mandarins.
These fruits and vegetables, and even Beetroot (although be careful about everything becoming purple) travel really well, don’t need to be kept cold, are quite resistant to bruising and generally quite easy to come by wherever you are. Combined with some nuts they provide a surprisingly refreshing and filling snack option – even a meal if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Use zip-lock bags or containers to carry snacks around in. For the fruit and vegetables, containers or wrapping in some clothing/cloths will help prevent bruising.
3. Packaged foods
Depending where you’re travelling or if you’ve come prepared, there is a vast array of snack bars, protein bars, muesli bars available on the market. When it comes to packaged foods, I personally prefer bars to things like crackers/crisps/chips, which tend to get crushed in baggage while travelling. Although I’ve found that natural popcorn travels quite well.
When selecting protein bars make sure there’s nothing in them that you can’t tolerate; quite often the protein used is a blend of several different kinds (Whey, Casein, Soy, Pea, Rice) so ensure you’re satisfied with the contents so that it won’t make you feel sick/uncomfortable while you’re travelling and wanting to enjoy your holiday! Try and avoid long lists of ingredients, especially those you can’t pronounce, and look for a good balance of protein, fat and carbs so you’re getting a nutritionally balanced snack.
Similarly for muesli/snack bars, opt for the ones with the most natural, whole ingredients with a decent amount of nuts and seeds (helping to fill you up and feel fuller longer) and minimal added sugar (even in the form of honey/rice malt syrup etc.).
Protein powder is another option, it’s easy to carry with you, all you need to do is add some water and you’ve got a filling snack! As with protein bars make sure you read the label and choose a protein blend is right for you, minimize excessive ingredients and look for a good balance of protein, fat and carbs (ie. not JUST protein) so you’re getting a nutritionally balanced snack.
4. If you’ve got facilities and time to prepare snacks.
If you’ve got time to make some homemade snacks then you can’t go past Bliss Balls. Bliss balls have to be one of the simplest treats to make that also last forever in the fridge and can travel for a day out of the fridge! Full of proteins and low-GI carbohydrates to keep you going, they’re really tasty treats to snack on.
Keep the big batch stored in a fridge at your hotel then just pack a few each day to take with you in a small container or zip-lock bag.
Some of my favourite Bliss Ball Recipes are:
- Zesty Pistachio and Cranberry Bliss Balls
- Caramel Vanilla Bliss Balls
- Apple Pie Bliss Balls
- Apricot and Coconut Bliss Balls
- Peanut Butter and Caramel Bliss Balls
- Choc-Peanut Butter Bliss Balls
5. Depending on how much rubbish you want to deal with and if you can keep things cold.
Tinned tuna combined with some carrot/cucumber is a really filling and nutritious snack, even lunch option. A fantastic natural source of protein and omega 3’s it will fill you up and keep you going for hours. It’s also super easy to carry around in your backpack.
If you can tolerate dairy and are happy to travel with a cool pack then snack-sized tubs of natural or Greek yoghurt, and even slices of cheese, are a great option. Dairy is a great naturally balanced source of carbohydrates, fat and protein that will help you feel full and energized. Top the yoghurt with some nuts/seeds if you like, and accompany the cheese with some carrot/apple/cucumber/zucchini.
Just don’t forget to pack a plastic spoon or fork!
As with anything, preparation and planning are key. Do some research about what stores are available at your destination so you know what you may or may not need to take with you before you leave home. Pack a few zip-lock bags and plastic/glass containers (just fill them with socks or undies so they don’t take up extra space in your luggage) so that you have the provisions to carry your snacks with you.
At the same time, be wary of being pre-occupied with preparation. Live in the moment a little. DO indulge and try some of the local cuisine (assuming it’s clean and safe) and stay balanced with healthy snacks and lots of water.