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Healthy Tip: Travel With Good Food

By Alana Sugar, December 20, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
airplane2 With Christmas and New Year's just around the corner, many of us will be packing our bags and heading off to celebrate. Unfortunately, most airports, train stations and roadside stops offer the standard American junk-food fare. The good news is you can bring your own food! While there are specific rules about what you can take through security onto a plane (no creamy, saucy foods allowed, for example), there are foods that you can pack to eat well, which will keep you feeling better on your trip.

Foods for Planes or Trains

Check the TSA website for food and liquid restrictions on planes. You can also purchase food and water after clearing security.
  • If you have an early morning flight or train, you can't beat packets of instant organic plain oatmeal along with a baggie filled with nuts and raisins! The attendants will have hot water and cups for mixing.
  • Trail mix is perfect. Nuts, dried fruits, unsweetened coconut flakes and whole grain cereals make a filling, no-mess snack.
  • Mini cracker sandwiches made from cream cheese or hummus and sliced tomatoes and bell peppers make a refreshing, crunchy snack.
  • Fruit bars, nut bars, protein bars and other shelf-stable goodies are a must.
  • Individual packages of yogurt, applesauce, fruit cups, organic corn chips and vegetarian bean dip are great. (Some of these aren't allowed through airport security, but good for the train.) Add some sliced carrots, celery, cucumber, radish and bell peppers.
  • For a meal, pack some sandwiches. Peanut or almond butter with fruit-sweetened jam or bananas; hummus or guacamole with veggies, cheese and tomato; or a turkey, tuna or egg salad sandwich that you know you can keep cold and eat within a couple of hours.
  • Take or purchase a bottle of cold water and pack it in an insulated bag next to stuff you want to keep fresh and cold.
  • Many airports have restaurants where you can order a sandwich on whole grain to take with you on your trip. Best bets: Turkey, grilled chicken, hummus (if they have it), and plenty of raw veggies even if only lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.
  • Remember to stay well hydrated, especially while flying. Get water on the plane or carry some on.
  • If eating a meal provided by the airline, call ahead and see what special diet options they have (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.). These meals may have more vegetables, fruits and whole grains than their standard fare.

Car and Cooler Foods

cooler Your chances of finding healthy food along a highway are pretty slim. But with a little pre-planning, you can make the trip a whole lot tastier. Essential for the car: A large cooler! Here are some ideas:
  • Pack sandwiches, yogurt, assorted cheese, cold drinks, fresh cut veggies, sliced deli meats, fresh fruits, and even special treats such as oatmeal cookies.
  • Make ahead snacks are perfect: Whole grain dishes such as pasta, brown rice or quinoa salads, prepared with veggies, nuts, tofu, or tempeh are delicious at room temperature.
  • All natural cup-o-soups made from legumes, grains and dehydrated veggies are easy to pack. They're light-weight and don't need refrigeration. Just add hot water and stir. A large insulated thermos keeps water piping hot for hours. This works for the soups as well as for a cup of tea … just don't forget the teabags!
  • Again, fruit bars, nut bars, protein bars and other shelf-stable goodies are perfect to have on hand.
  • If you stop at a roadside restaurant, choose oatmeal or cream of wheat over pastry for breakfast. Another good option is a vegetable omelet. Choose a side of fresh fruit over hash browns and toast.
  • At a convenience store, look for whole grain cereals, low fat milk, packaged nuts or any fresh fruit - they may even have a bran muffin or a protein bar. This is much better than pastry, donuts, sweet rolls or chips.

At Your Destination

I think we've all been there: staying with relatives or friends who aren't as conscious about good food choices. Here are a few suggestions that may help:
  • Bring along healthy foods as gifts.
  • Offer to help in the preparation of meals or cook a meal for your hosts.
  • Do a bit of the grocery shopping to help out. Scope it out in advance to locate the closest natural food store. (You can search for our stores here.)
  • At a conventional grocery store, shop the perimeter of the store as much as possible. Look for whole wheat bread, fresh veggies and fruits, and whole grains such as brown rice.
  • If faced with a less-than-optimal meal prepared by others, load up on raw salad, veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins as much as possible.
  • Remember those fruit bars, nut bars and protein bars? Pack an assortment and keep them handy in your room for a healthy snack/replacement meal.
Everybody wants (and deserves) a break over the holidays. For many, that means not worrying so much about what to eat. I offer these suggestions not to steer you away from enjoying yourself, but rather as a way for you to maintain your energy and to feel well while traveling. What good food do you like to eat while traveling? I'd love to hear!

 

7 Comments

Comments

Food Makes Fun Fuel says ...
I bring trail mix. Dried fruits and nuts are a great way to carry a lot of nutrition in a tiny packet
12/20/2009 11:11:19 AM CST
elyse eisenberg says ...
Favorite healthy eating snacks for the road: pita wraps (easy to hold; not messy like a sandwich), Goji Berries, apple cinnamon granola bars, dark chocolate, clementines or satsuma tangerines)
12/20/2009 12:44:33 PM CST
cathy dunphy says ...
I shop at Whole Foods, mainly because I am a vegan and I am able to find more things for me to purchase, But the other day when I was shopping I noticed a 1/ 2 gallon of orange juice was $14.99 name of juice is "Evolution", as well as other items I have purchased,i find that your pricing the food very high I am wondering why, so much? What with the avacodo's are $4.99 each. What up with your increase
12/21/2009 5:08:35 PM CST
The Healthy Apple says ...
Great post; I have many On The Go Snack posts on my blog, The Healthy Apple..be sure to take a looksy at some of my healthy snacks and treats when you are 'on-the-go'... Happy New Year!
12/30/2009 6:47:27 PM CST
elizabeth says ...
I always pack snacks that are gluten-free since my whole family can't eat anything at the airport. We bring things like fruit, gluten-free wholegrain crackers, hard boiled eggs, celery and carrots with hummus, gluten-free wholegrain chocolate chip coconut cookies (from The Pure Pantry :) ) and Labrar bars or some type of bar that can endure any kind of travel situation.
01/20/2010 11:04:44 PM CST
Laura F says ...
I love the single serving almond butter and honey packages you carry. They're perfect for healthy travel snacks.
01/29/2010 1:56:32 PM CST
sadhikar says ...
Just wondering,if eating whole food is better than eating protein bar? If yes, how much approx. you think they are in ratio wise
05/10/2011 9:02:23 AM CDT