One thing I know to be true for myself and many other women I talk to is that healthy eating is often the first thing to go when life gets busy. As such, one of the core tenets of my programs is that it’s essential to make healthy eating EASY. As in, meals planned and prepped in under a few hours a week, max. Knowing how to eat just as healthfully at restaurants as at home, so it’s not a big deal if most work lunches are always out, or most weeks are spent rushing between errands and outings.
It’s such a little thing, but having healthy snack options in your purse, office and car make a BIG difference in keeping you full and satisfied until your next meal, versus diving headfirst into a wedge of cheese when you get home. Below are a few packable, snackable healthy travel snacks if you find yourself always on the move, needing the fuel to keep your energy and hustle going strong.
THE BEST, MOST PACKABLE, HEALTHY TRAVEL SNACKS
Nuttier nuts. I know, I know, everyone’s most boring go-to snack option. But before you skip to the next item, I urge you to take a closer look the next time you’re about to reach for a basic bag of raw almonds. There are so many seasonings these days — sea salt, horseradish, cinnamon, raw honey, real maple syrup — that upgrade this standard snack to one that will excite your tastebuds again. Part of eating healthy for the long-haul is staying inspired by new options, so take a closer look next time you’re in the nut aisle and see how you can make your go-to flavors a little nuttier.
Jerkies. Beef jerky has been around since I was a child, when it seemed like my dad would always have a package in his truck that we could dig into on car rides. But these days jerkies aren’t your average 80s jerkies. Several brands like Wild Zora and Epic are coming out with cleaner, nitrate-free, preservative-free options that are even packed with veggies and interesting flavor combos like Parmesan Beef with Kale or Apple Pork with Kale, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.
Real-food bars. I’m wary of most protein bars or so-called health food bars. If you take a closer look at the ingredients, most are filled with chemicals, artificial ingredients, and words that sound more like fireworks than actual food. But LÄRABAR and RX Bar stand up to the test, with whole-food ingredients that are easy to pronounce, and therefore easy for your body to digest and turn into fuel.
Seeds. Who would’ve thought these little specks could pack so much staying power. Seeds are a plant-based source of healthy fats, so they will keep you full and give you a long-burning source of energy. Many varieties also contain heart-healthy, inflammation-reducing omega 3 essential fatty acids. The most transportable seeds are bigger versions like pumpkin or sunflower.
Kale, beet or seaweed chips. That’s right: these days you can get your crunch fix in so many ways beyond just potato chips. Try other varieties like kale, beets, or even seaweed for more minerals and vitamins from every bite. Seaweed is actually a surprisingly good source of protein gram for gram when compared to more top-of-mind protein sources like chicken or beef. Plus it’s got oodles of fiber, which will make you feel full for longer and help digestion move along nicely, too.
Roasted chickpeas. Another new entry to the chip/nut field are roasted chickpeas and green peas. I’ve seen these popping up in health-food stores lately, and recently picked up roasted peas with horseradish as a snack to have on-hand as a snack around home. Legumes are a natural winning source of protein and fiber, so they help regulate appetite and give you plenty of bulk, crunch and salty satisfaction. They’re kind of like an upgraded corn nut.
Seed crackers. This one’s especially great for the gluten-free folks out there, but everyone can get behind this trend. Seed-based crackers make a welcome alternative to more processed flour-based crackers, which are easy to inhale but don’t do much to satisfy hunger. My favorite brands are Mary’s Gone Crackers. Because they’re made almost exclusively from seeds, they have WAY more protein and fat than your average cracker, making you feel full and satisfied faster and longer. There are also lots of flavors out on the market, so you can beat health-food burnout by mixing up your varieties.
Dark chocolate. Say whaaat. Yep, dark chocolate is another worthy snack. I include it in this roundup because if you choose a richer version (like 70% cocoa or above) it’s actually a solid source of healthy fats, antioxidants and craving-busting minerals. Pair it with some fruit and you’ll feel oh-so-fancy in your airline seat.
Individual packs of peanut butter, guacamole or hummus. A final honorable mention goes to single-serving packs of nut butters, guac or hummus. These are not always a viable option, depending on the kind of trip you’re on and/or how close you’ll be to refrigeration most of the time. But if you have a hotel refrigerator you can store these in, or something you can scoop ’em up with, these little individual-serving packs can be life-savers in a hotel room at the end of a long day. Or even just running between meetings, when you need a little something but are trying to avoid a sugar-packed, energy-busting coffee-shop pastry. Depending on which you choose, these packs pair well with veggies, fruit or olives.
Ultimately, the most important thing to pay attention to is the back of that food label. Snacks are PRIME opportunities for the food industry to sell something as healthy (all-natural! gluten-free! low-fat!) but fill it with added chemicals, flavors and preservatives that bog you down. It really comes down to those ingredients, and is why a lot of the foods above are simple, one-ingredient foods. When in doubt, check the food label to ensure your healthy travel snacks will give you the fuel and energy you need to feel your best — wherever life takes you, jet setter!