Almost everyone loves to travel to new destinations—to experience new adventures—on the road, in the air, or on the sea. Road food, though, can get expensive—and unhealthy.
“What food to pack for travel that won’t take up a huge part of my budget?” you may wonder. Here are some ideas that can help you eat well, yet stay on budget, so you can splurge on your destination’s best street foods and eateries once you arrive.
What Are Good Snacks to Take on a Road Trip?
When you’re on the road, you don’t have to worry about security restrictions on what food and beverages you may pack. The challenge you face when you need snacks for your road trip is twofold: your budget and your health.
Today’s roadways are jammed with fast-food eateries and gas stations who serve snacks packed with fat, sugars, and additives. You’re hungry and in a hurry, so you drop half your wallet’s contents on feeding the hungry horde in your backseat.
Resist the temptation. Instead, take a little time to pack at home before you head for the road, and pack something whose ingredients you know. Something that won’t steal all your travel budget.
Dried bananas: A great source of natural sugars, potassium, and fiber, bananas can give you an energy boost while reducing the chance of leg cramps on long drives. Although fresh bananas can make a huge mess in the car from sticky fingers, dried bananas have all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks of fresh bananas. While you pack and prepare for your trip, let your food dehydrator do all the work for you. You won’t have to buy them at the market—and you’ll know they don’t contain any additives, like store-bought dried fruit often does.
Bottled water: Staying hydrated while traveling can cause irregularity as well as dehydration—both of which can make for grumpy travelers. Instead, make sure that everyone in the car gets their two liters a day. Skip the sugary sodas, cut down on coffee and tea, and make bottled water a part of your travel snack stash.
Nuts: Nuts are a great source of protein, yet don’t spoil easily like freshly cooked meat or cold meat sandwiches. Ask your household what kinds of nuts they like and pack each person a bag of their favorites. Be sure to buy nuts without shells, since shelling nuts inside your car can be a recipe for a mess. Roasted nuts have a more intense flavor—so if you have time, buy roasted ones or use your oven to roast your own. The less salt you use, the better. Too much salt can make you thirsty—not what you want while you travel.
Healthy chips: Don’t head for the snack machine, where salty potato chips, neon-orange Cheetos (what’s in that stuff, anyway?), and additive-laden Doritos await the hungry traveler. Instead, take a little time to prepare your own healthy alternatives. Kale chips—the dried version of today’s trendiest superfood—are easy to make when you use your home dehydrator. Sweet potato chips, too, contain loads of vitamin A—to help nourish your tired eyes during a long day of driving. With homemade chips, you can also control the salt level in your travel snack choices.
Picnic food and wet wipes: Who doesn’t love a picnic break at a scenic rest stop when you’re on the road. Pack a cooler full of fresh sandwiches, vegetables and dip, as well as cut-up fresh fruit to enjoy during your excursion. Make sure you have plenty of wet wipes available to clean up afterwards. Sometimes the most scenic spots are the most primitive—with no restrooms available to clean sticky fingers after eating an al fresco lunch.
The Best Snacks for Plane Travel
Can you bring your own snacks on a plane? That depends on what you bring. Learn what TSA-approved snacks are before you pack your bags—and you can be on your way to a great trip. Pack the wrong snacks, though, and they’ll go into the trash bin at the security gate.
One note, however: If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to check the customs requirements at your destination. Many countries won’t allow you to bring fresh fruit, meat (even jerky), or other products they deem agricultural through customs. Eat those items before you get off the plane. Discard cores and wrappers in the plane’s trash bin before you leave.
Here are some ideas for healthy travel snacks in the air:
Dried and fresh fruit: If you plan to bring fresh fruit, use firm fruit what won’t stain if it gets smashed. Whole apples, yellow cherries, or dried fruit–good. Fresh raspberries—not so. Your seatmate might not know that your carry-on has fresh fruit in it—until she accidentally steps on it on the way to the restroom and squishes your box of berries into a red, sticky mess—right on top of that sleeveless blouse you planned to change in when you reached your tropical destination.
Roasted chickpeas: Good for you and packed with protein, roasted chickpeas sure beat that stale pack of salty peanuts or pretzels the flight attendant tosses your way. Find a low-salt variety so you won’t get too thirsty on the trip. Air travel tends to be even more dehydrating than road travel, so ask for water often—and skip the sugary sodas the crew offers.
Nut butter: Be careful when you pack this protein-loaded favorite. TSA rules—and many other nations’ rules as well—consider nut butter a gel or liquid. Make sure the container is 3.4 ounces or smaller and fits within the plastic bag you use to pack your other liquid items. Needless to say, better if the container is sealed to keep your trademark fragrance from spoiling its flavor.
Cheese sticks: Choose cheeses that travel well and don’t have an overwhelming odor. Your body will thank you for the protein and calcium boost, and your seatmate will thank you for your discerning choice in snacks.
Fresh vegetables: Cut slices of your favorite fresh veggies to munch on during your flight. Their water content will help keep you hydrated, while their vitamin-packed nutrients will help protect you from catching your seatmate’s cold. Make sure that you cut round vegetables, such as carrots or grape tomatoes, lengthwise to avoid choking hazards.
With these essential travel snacks, you’ll arrive at your destination refreshed, renewed, and ready to explore. To discover more snacking shortcuts and tips, check out the food preparation tips at Dehydrated Foodz today.