Once a year I get to roam endless aisles of food and beverage booths at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. This year I was dazzled by the numerous plant-based and regional food products. As a travel writer, I’m always on the hunt for healthy travel snacks that keep my energy levels up and my tummy feeling full. I confess that chocolate and sugar are my downfall. When I find something that tastes good and meets my nutritionist’s approval, I pounce on it like a fox on a mouse. I found 7 healthy travel snacks to share with you, and a few indulgent snacks for good measure.
Some of my favorite parts of the gourmet food show include discovering emerging trends, finding new brands and supporting new businesses, especially if I can visit the companies on my travels!
1. I’m particularly excited to learn about Biltong air-dried beef and Roam Bison Bites. With 16 grams of protein and zero added sugar, Biltong seasoned and air-dried U.S. beef is a savory adventure in a 2 oz pouch. Tracing its origin to South Africa, the air-dried meat is lighter than typical beef jerky (there is no heat, as you don’t cook the meat) and the garlic, herbs and spices make it a tasty on-the-go snack.
“Biltong is South Africa’s version of jerky. It’s got a really soft, tender texture and an amazing nutritional profile. Higher protein than jerky and no sugar! I travel a lot for work and always have a bag of Biltong with me,” Made by True co-founder James Evans
2. Roam Bison Bites are going to be a big hit in the jerky product category. I met Founder Brittany Masters from Western Montana in the new product area of the Fancy Food Show. Her family owns a 300 acre Bison ranch within the Flathead Reservation of Montana. Brittany created the recipes for Roam Bison Bites including the original version, Moroccan Heat, Thai Chili Ginger and Wood Fired Pizza flavor, all 100% grass-fed Bison and sugar-free.
3. I specialize in equestrian travel, so when I find a protein bar that tastes good and fits in my pocket, I’m a happy camper. The G2G Protein Bar offers a wide variety of flavors and is very popular in Orem, Utah where the company is based.
4. The brand new Wolo Protein WanderBar was created by Amanda out of a need to find a great-tasting, all natural snack that she could take along on her travels. Currently there are four WanderBar flavors. My personal favorite was the Peanut Butter Road Tripper. With 11 grams of protein and only 4 grams of sugar, this gluten-free bar is a keeper.
5. Becca’s Petites and her Bouchees Original Snack Mix are winners on several fronts. I met Becca Salmonson at the Winter Fancy Food Show because I was searching for a healthy travel snack, but it also had to be vegan, grain free and dairy free. These were not my personal requirements. My friend’s son was recently diagnosed with acute leukemia. He has started the long road of chemotherapy treatment and has to be very mindful of what he eats. As a board certified holistic nutrition practitioner, Becca has first-hand experience in creating a nutrient-rich snack that also tastes good to someone going through chemo treatments.
While Becca’s friend didn’t survive his cancer, she donates all the proceeds from her snack business to support his son’s college education. Cheers to Becca’s efforts to nurture the world one healthy person at a time!
6. Continuing with my healthy travel snacks theme, I give you California-based Giddy Up Nuts. Founder Kristy Mangia was driving home from California’s Mammoth Mountain and stopped to pick up something to snack on. Seeing no healthy travel snack, she invented Giddy Up Nuts and began selling them at California Farmers Markets. With six flavors to choose from, I like the Lemon Zest gourmet spiced almonds best.
7. As a former horse owner, I’ve munched on my fair share of carrots while searching for my horse in a 100 acre pasture. Since my youth, my taste for carrots has never waned. I love them raw and cooked. At the Winter Fancy Food Show I discovered Organic Carrot Sticks from Rhythm Superfoods. With 11 grams of fiber, these naked carrot stocks are dried, not fried, and they are delicious. They are also an excellent source of potassium. At 140 calories for an entire 40 gram bag with 6 grams of sugar, I’m all (bunny) ears for this superfood from Austin, Texas.
These last three travel snacks are not on the “nutritionist-approved” list, thus they do not count in my 7 healthy travel snacks total. If you want to continue reading, do so at your own risk, as they contain cheese, chocolate and brownies.
Cheese is a weakness of mine and Arcada, California-based Cypress Grove Cheese is one of the best goat cheese producers around. I look forward to seeing their cheese cake display every year at the Winter Fancy Food Show. This year, I watched them create Humbolt Fog Brûlée (delicious) and I learned about their Fresh Goat Cheese Cups. Snackable, fresh goat cheese in resealable cups fit into my healthy travel snacks round up.
Authentic Mexican Chocolate from Vanuato Ka Kaw is indeed the chocolate of the Gods, but there’s a surprise that comes to life in the packaging. When you download the app from the chocolate maker, you’ll learn of the Monarch Butterfly migration that is featured on the cacao maker’s packaging.
Last, but not least, I met Will Rhys-Davies, aka “The Brownie Man” from The Bake Shed in Cardiff, Wales. Brownies are one of my absolute favorite foods and Will’s brownies live up to their reputation. Will came all the way to San Francisco from the United Kingdom to give us a taste of his brownies. When I visit Wales this Spring, I’m going to track down these bad-ass chocolate brownies.
The Winter Fancy Food Show is a trade-only event and only open to qualified buyers and food industry professionals (18 years of age and older) and is not open to the general public. For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown and Specialty Food Association on Instagram and Twitter.