Traveling is happening! Just in case you are traveling for the holidays or have a trip planned sometime soon, it’s best to be prepared with healthy travel snack ideas that can keep you feeling healthy and satisfied. Having a stash of healthy snacks that travel well will help you avoid the temptations of processed, greasy and expensive (!) airport food.
Below is a list of healthy snacks while traveling - although these are listed for plane travel, they will also be great options for road trips, bus, or train travel. Most of these are paleo travel snacks, along with some healthy vegan travel snacks. Some require a bit of prep and planning, while others are ready-to-eat.
How to Select Healthy Travel Snacks
We want to pack foods that are high in fiber and protein, but lower in sugar. We are looking for mostly whole-foods with high nutrient and antioxidant content. Gotta stay healthy and support the immune system with the stress of travel!
Of course, you want to make sure the foods work for YOUR body. If that’s still something you are not sure about, try working with a Nutrition Therapist to help you develop strategies bioindividual to you!
Plane travel throws another wrench into the situation since we need:
TSA approved snacks that can be taken as a carry on.
Tidy snacks so our fingers stay clean and we don’t make a mess.
Items that can keep for quite a few hours, especially if you are looking for snacks for international travel.
How to Pack Healthy Snacks While Traveling
There are tons of small containers that travel well, and since you are loading up your carry-on, you want to focus on silicone, stainless steel and plastic (plastic is usually a material to avoid particularly for heating food, but it’s very convenient to use when traveling!).
Some travel-friendly container ideas include:
Stasher Bags are perfect for storing cut veggies, trail mix, hard-boiled eggs, tea bags, or anything else that you want to stay organized! There are tons of different sizes and colors. They are pricey, but they last forever and are freezer and dishwasher safe.
Small dip containers
I have been absolutely loving these OXO Baby Food Containers - scoop hummus or any other dips in these. They are also freezer safe, so you can bring frozen dips for longer trips!
Stainless steel bento-style boxes
U-konserve makes great stainless steel containers with silicone lids. These are lightweight and have a nifty adjustable divider that can separate foods if that’s your desire.
15 Healthy Travel Snacks for Airplane Travel
Alright, let’s get to the good stuff. This is my list that I keep handy whenever I have a trip coming up. I set aside some time the evening before a trip to prepare a few things - wash and slice veggies, scoop sauce into containers, throw together a trail mix… And yes, I’m usually the person whose carry-on bag is *mostly* healthy snacks that travel well. Here’s our list!
1. Pre-sliced vegetables and hummus
Let’s start with the Plain Jane of travel snacks. Carrots, celery and jicama travel really well. Cucumber and bell pepper slices are good, just make sure you don’t crush them in your carry-on. You can scoop your dip (hummus, olive tapenade, mashed avocado) into an OXO Baby Food Container.
Always a satisfying option! Apples travel well and can take a beating in your carry-on bag. Bonus: bring a nut butter packet so you can have some healthy fats to spread on each bite (see below).
3. Nut butter packets
Spread these on an apple or celery, or just eat straight from the packet! These often come loaded with oils and sugar - make sure to check the ingredients. I like Artisana nut butter packets since the only ingredient is nuts. I love how easy these are for travel - they take away the hassle of the jar.
Oh yes, I bring an entire avocado, along with a plastic spork with serrated edges so I can cut it in half and scoop it. If you’re up for it, bring along a seasoning option, or grab a salt packet from any airport restaurant.
5. Packaged olives
Many grocery stores will sell small bags of olives, ready-to-eat. Olives are a fantastic snack and superfood! Check out this blog post I wrote to learn more about the benefits of olives.
6. Mixed Nuts or Trail Mix
You can buy a pre-made mix, or make your own. If you buy a pre-made mix, check for inflammatory oils (canola, sunflower, soybean, etc.) or added sugars! The trail mix ingredients should be ONLY nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
I like to throw a variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruit into a Stasher bag - I use whatever I have in my cabinet. Sometimes I like to add some dark chocolate chips, too (wink wink).
7. Hard-boiled eggs
Ahh, this is a slightly stinky option, but hey, just be quick! You can pre-peel the eggs and place them into a container to make your life easier and to be conscious of your fellow passengers (as long as you know you’ll be eating the eggs relatively soon).
8. Bars (protein bars, meat bars)
This is a tough one - there are SO MANY bars on the market now, it’s so hard to decipher which ones are healthy! Most of them are heavily processed and are high in sugar. Try to stick to bars that are under 5g of sugar. Certain sugars can cause digestive issues (sugars that end in -ol like xylitol), so just watch to see if you have any problems. For protein, you want to aim for at least 10g in each bar. I like to focus on organic ingredients, and grass-fed animals if you are looking for meat bars.
Here are some good options, just check the labels to make sure they follow any of your dietary restrictions and preferences (vegan, paleo, grain-free, etc.): Perfect Bars, Aloha, Dang, Primal Kitchen, Bulletproof, Epic Bars, Wild Zora, Chomps.There are tons of bars on the market, so find the healthy ones that you like!
9. Tempeh cubes
If you are plant-based and want a protein-packed snack, marinate some organic bite-sized cubed tempeh for at least a few hours or overnight. Once marinated, cook the cubes in a hot pan and let them cool before storing in a travel container. If you are able to eat soy, this is a DELICIOUS and satisfying travel snack!
10. Canned tuna in olive oil
Ok ok, so this is a messier one. I recommend avoiding this one ON the plane, since it may be a little potent for your fellow passengers, and a bit messy for you. Make sure you have a spork, paper towels, and maybe some crackers to spice it up (see below). Also, ensure you don’t need a can opener.
11. Canned smoked oysters
I know, have you ever seen anyone do this? Hey, if you’re on a long trip and want a fantastic source of protein and zinc, try smoked oysters on crackers with a splash of hot sauce. Find some hot sauce at a restaurant and you’re good to go.
13. Kale chips
Even if you don’t like kale, once kale is dehydrated into crunchy chips and tossed with seasoning, it is truly delicious! Check the label of the package to make sure the brand uses high-quality ingredients.
14. Healthy granola
Granola is a satisfying sweet treat, while still being relatively healthy. If you’re up for it, you can make your own, but I like the gluten-free Purely Elizabeth granola which is both vegan and has paleo-friendly & grain-free options.
15. Tea bags
Not exactly a snack, but I love bringing a thermos and asking a coffee shop for hot water. I drop in my favorite tea bag and have (almost) free delicious tea, rather than paying an arm and a leg for tea at an airport.
And honorary #16: Spork and paper towels, just in case you need them for anything.
Safe, healthy and fun travels! <3