The new year is filled with weight loss resolutions, gym memberships, workout promises and the best of intentions to eat healthy. Yet temptations abound. Let’s think like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared with healthy snacks when we travel.
Healthy eating on the go
1. Water is top on my list of healthy travel snacks. While I realize that water is a beverage, it is a necessary item on my travel list and life in general. Anyone who has suffered from dehydration knows the importance of proper hydration. Water – it is good for you and calorie free.
2. Almond butter. Packed with protein (14%) fiber (14%) and iron (8%), I discovered Barney Butter at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Made with California almonds, an 0.6 oz tube of natural almond butter is only 90 calories and fits easily in a backpack or purse.
3. Greek yogurt. Low in calories and flowing in calcium, yogurt is a filling, healthy travel snack for breakfast or anytime of day. Greek yogurt has the edge over regular yogurt in that it packs less sugar and up to double the protein. This healthy snack has got to be a dietitian’s delight!
4. Granola mix and nuts. Apologies in advance to those who suffer from nut allergies. For the rest of us; knock yourself out with nuts and go a little crazy by tossing in dried fruits, granola and some chocolate chips to create trail mix. This is certainly a healthier alternative to that candy bar in the gas station mini market or vending machine. While cashews are my favorite nut, walnuts, almonds and pistachios offer more nutrients than the lowly peanut.
5. Hummus and carrots. I buy the 17 oz party size Sabra brand at my Costco store, as our family tends to blow through the hummus. I pair my hummus with organic baby carrots.
6. Bars. Whether you are an athlete, a hungry traveler or a bariatric weight loss patient* in need of a high protein meal, there are snack bars for every occasion. I enjoy KIND bars and Luna bars. Although not low in sugar, my teenage son, a varsity water polo player, lives on Builder Bars and Cliff Bars. *Sarah Glynn, RD, Nutrition Services, at John Muir Hospital would not recommend, as the bars are high in sugar.
7. Oatmeal. My favorite healthy snack for an early morning flight or budget breakfast in a hotel room: Umpqua Oats or Quaker Real Medleys. At 14 grams, summer berry flavor is relatively low in sugar*. Buy them on sale in the grocery store and stash one in your purse for travel – just add hot water and you have an instant healthy snack for the road. *Sarah Glynn, RD, Nutrition Services at John Muir Hospital would not recommend pre-packaged oatmeal, as it is high in sugar.
8. Veggie snacks. I love snacking on steamed edamame and have been known to order a plate of these legumes at The Cheesecake Factory. I was delighted to discover Crunch a ma me, an edamame veggie snack that I found while shopping at Whole Foods Market. The Berkeley-based company says that their 90 calorie snack bags of freeze-dried edamame offers more protein than an egg, the same fiber as an apple and taste great. I like the fact that the product comes in several flavors and is free of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms.) Another California company producing edamame is Seapoint Farms in Huntington Beach. The largest importer and manufacturer of edamame in the U.S., Seapoint Farms sells dry roasted edamame in several flavors.
9. Kale chips. My health conscious daughter likes kale chips. What are your favorite brands?
10. Dried fruit is a winner in the natural foods category*. Some people dry their own fruit to make fruit leather strips. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s carry bags of dried fruit and Costco carries big bags of dried fruits such as mangoes, but beware, they are high in natural sugar. *Sarah Glynn, RD, Nutrition Services at John Muir Hospital would not recommend dried fruits, as they are high in sugar.
What are your favorite travel snacks that you can’t live without?
Article and photos by Food and Wine Writer Nancy D. Brown