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Healthy Holiday Travel Tips: Food for planes, trains, road trips… :)

Posted Dec 21 2010 12:00am

The holidays are here! And for a lot of folks that means great food, no work, seeing family, and LOTS of travel! Because of that, I was inspired to write a post about tips on healthy snacks/food to eat while you’re traveling. :) So here are some of my suggestions on how to avoid eating the overpriced, unhealthy, fast-food at airports when you can, and how to navigate those food courts when they’re your only option! Hope this is helpful to all of you in your travels, and I hope everyone has an amazing holiday!!

To start, I’d like to introduce my Healthy Holiday Travel Cardinal Rule: ALWAYS pack food and take it with you to the airport if you can! Don’t worry – if you can’t it’s not a big deal – you can still find healthy options at the airport. But if you can, this is a great way to guarantee your healthy meals and save money too! Here are some of my favorite travel snacks/mini-meals that I always pack for my trips :)

Peanut or Almond Butter Sandwiches on Sprouted Wheat Bread with Blueberry Preserves: This is a great one-dish meal that doesn’t spoil, travels well and is super easy/fast to make!

Sandwich on sprouted grain bread made from 2 Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges, 1 roma tomato (sliced), salt & pepper: another great go-to sandwich – slightly more perishable than the PBJ, but a good option for a shorter flight or if you know you’ll be eating the sandwich within a few hours of boarding the plane!

Fresh fruit: apples, bananas, berries: Any fruits that are easy to eat, not too messy and don’t get squished easily are perfect options. I usually stick to Fuji Apples because they’re high in fiber and filling as a snack – and they don’t spoil and don’t get squished!

Steamed Mixed Vegetables, seasoned with salt & curry powder or salt & freshly ground black pepper: This is a great snack and a way to make sure you’re eating veggies when you travel! I like to steam the veggies in the microwave, season them, and pack them in a disposable plastic container to take on the plane.

Packets of instant oatmeal (plain), or your favorite healthy cereals (I like Kashi Heart to Heart and Barbara’s Puffins Original) in a ziploc bag: This can be a great snack or breakfast – you should be able to find boiling water in any airport (or even on an airplane) to cook the oatmeal, or low fat milk to eat the cereal with.

Lara Bars or other low glycemic protein bars (like dried fruit/nut bars): A great 150-200 calorie snack with at least 3-4g fiber and 3-4g protein!

Trail Mix: Make sure you get the kind without any added oils or sugar (I like a combination of raw cashews, raw walnuts, raw almonds and raisins in the “Go Raw” Trex Mix from Trader Joe’s). And I like to separate them out into mini portion sizes (1/4 cup each).

Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds: Great for satisfying your sweet tooth, with a bit of protein, fiber and an anti-oxidant punch!

Now, if you aren’t able to pack food and have to rely on the maze of fast food options at the airport – here is my list of healthier restaurants at the airport!

  • Subway is a great pick (choose wheat bread, tons of veggies on your sandwich and go easy on the mayo/oil)
  • Starbucks is another good one – a non-fat tall latte has only 90 calories and tons of protein, and Starbucks also offers healthy meals – e.g. oatmeal for breakfast, whole grain wraps/sandwiches, etc.
  • Delis that allow you to customize your sandwiches are great – think of them as a good alternative to Subway
  • Au Bon Pain can be found at many airports, and they have customizeable sandwiches (think the Subway strategy here) or great salads / soups too
  • Taco Bell – opt for the bean burrito or anything on the “Fresco” menu
  • Mexican Restaurants like La Salsa or Baja Fresh have great options – look for soft corn tacos, or the “bowl” option filled with black beans, veggies, salsa for a satisfying treat (try to limit the sour cream/guac!)
  • Even McDonald’s and Burger King have been offering a few healthy options – you can get apple slices and salads (make sure to order the dressing on the side and use it very sparingly)
  • Some airports have all natural frozen yogurt – like Red Mango or Pinkberry. The small size of this with fruit mix-ins are a great option for a healthy snack or dessert!

I hope these tips and tricks are helpful for you during your holiday travels. This will be my last blog post until after the holidays – so before I sign off, I’d just like to congratulate Anu who won my last giveaway !

Anu – just send me your mailing address and your chocolates should arrive soon! And with that, I’d just like to wish everyone a very happy holiday and a great new years!! Happy eating, and I’ll see all of you in 2011! :)

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