Are you traveling this holiday season? It’s a darn shame, but most airports, train stations and roadside stops offer little more than standard American junk food fare. The good news is you can bring your own food and it doesn’t have to be complicated! Try some of our favorite tips and share your own in the comments below. With a little forethought, you can pack foods to help you and your family eat well, which will keep you feeling better on your trip. If flying, make sure to check the TSA website for food and liquid restrictions. Remember, too, that you can purchase food and water at the airport, after clearing security. Train travel is less restrictive and car travel adds the option of packing a cooler. Some possibilities:
- Packets of instant organic plain oatmeal along with a baggie filled with nuts and raisins! Get hot water from flight attendants or gas station coffee bars.
- All natural cup-o-soups made from legumes, grains and dehydrated veggies are easy to pack. Just add hot water and stir.
- Trail mix is perfect. Nuts, dried fruits, unsweetened coconut flakes and whole grain cereals make a filling, no-mess snack. Try this Popcorn Trail Mix or this crunchy Granola Trail Mix.
- 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. If you want to make your own, try these Cherry Orange Oatmeal Outdoor Bars or these Chocolate Earth Balls.
- 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.) 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. These Apple Tahini Sandwiches are easy to make and travel well.
- If flying, take or purchase a bottle of cold water after you get through security and pack it in an insulated bag next to food you want to keep cold.
- If ordering from an airport or roadside restaurant, go for a sandwich on whole grain. Best bets: Turkey, grilled chicken, hummus (if they have it), and plenty of raw veggies even if all they have is lettuce, onions and tomatoes.
- Remember to stay well hydrated, especially while flying.
- 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.
- Don’t forget some healthy additions of special treats such as natural oatmeal cookies or whole wheat graham crackers. Try these amazing Oatmeal, Coconut and Sunflower Seed Cookies.
- If you are stuck picking something up at a convenience store, look for whole grain cereals, 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.
- Pack an assortment of fruit bars, nut bars and protein bars in your luggage so you have them handy in your room for a healthy snack/replacement meal. You never know what your hosts will be serving!
- Don’t forget that travel delays are common during the holidays. Pack some extra shelf stable food to help see you through just in case.