One of the best things about summer are vacations! We just got back from our vacation to the Pacific Northwest and Olympic National Park. Add it to your list! Because, it is incredibly beautiful out there.
As much fun as vacations can be; it can be somewhat tough to eat healthfully while traveling. But, with a little bit of planning ahead it can be made easier. Here are some tips to help you on your next adventure.
First, we need to take some factors into consideration.
Time. What time of day will you be traveling? This question is important to ask yourself because it will determine how much you need to pack as well as for when. For example, If I am traveling mid-day, I know I will need to pack something for lunch as well as at least 1-2 snacks (for those in-between times).
People. How many people are you traveling with? Again, this helps determine how much. Are you traveling solo or with family? Make sure you pack enough for everybody.
Type of Transportation. This is important because this determine how you pack. If you are traveling by car, you can most likely pack a bit more due to having more space. Plus, you can pack a large cooler full of goodies. I you are traveling by air, you will have to be a bit more strategic with your packing. You can bring food and a small cooler. But, ALL liquids have to be 3 ounces or less. Still have TSA approved food questions? Check this out.
Eating Necessities. What will you need to eat? Pack ahead any silverware/plasticware, straws, napkins, ice, and trash bag with you. Trust me. Have all this with you will make eating on the road (or air) so much smoother. Also, think ahead to how you will transport the food. For road trips, I always pack a cooler for the cold items then another bag or cooler for the shelf stable items. Makes for easy and organized packing and eating. For air travel, I typically will put all of my snacks into a gallon sized plastic bag and throw into my carry-on for the flight and a soft sided cooler (or insulated reusable grocery bag) into my checked luggage. These fold flat and don't take up much room in my bag. Then, I can head to a grocery store once I land to pick up additional foods for the trip.
Now, let's get to the food! Here are some great foods ideas to pack.
(items that need to be chilled will be marked with an (*) asterisk.)
Trail mix. Make your own! Combine your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits and some dark chocolate. Have fun with this one and create combinations with foods you love! They can be sweet, spicy, salty, or a a combination of all three. My favorite: walnuts + almonds + dark chocolate chips + dried blueberries. If you are prone to nausea while traveling, add some candied ginger to your mix to help alleviate the nausea plus add an amazing spicy zing.
Raw vegetables + Hummus. This is a great way to get vegetables, protein and fiber while on the go. Slice your vegetables before you go and store in plastic baggies or small tupperware. Veggie ideas: grape tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, bell pepper and celery. Pre-pack the hummus using this tip. You can also buy the individual snack size containers typically located in the deli section of your grocery store.
Fruit + Nut Butter. Pack your favorite nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc) in a small plastic container with your favorite fruits such as bananas and apples (or vegetables like celery and carrots). You can also find many prep-portioned nut butter packs in most grocery store like this brand.
Hard-boiled eggs*. Hard boiled eggs are a great snack on the go. Eggs are a nutrition powerhouse. They contain high quality protein and 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including iron. You can even pre-peel the eggs for ease. Then, store in a plastic bag or container and throw in the cooler.
PB&J. This is a classic, but oh so good! This is such a great food on the go because it is easy to put together, delicious and you can customize it to your liking. Choose your favorite whole wheat bread + nut butter + jelly. Don't like jelly? No problem! Try adding sliced fruit such as strawberries or a fruit compote or jam like a blackberry flavor. YUM!
String cheese + grapes*. This is a simple, but delicious and healthy combination. You get protein from the cheese and carb from the grapes - it's perfect! There are also many varieties of string cheese nowadays such as classic mozzarella, pepper jack, colby jack and more.
Yogurt*. Try topping the yogurt with the trail mix you made for an added crunch. Don't want to deal with a spoon? No worries! Grab a yogurt tube like this one. Delicious food has no age limit.
Fresh Fruit. Fresh fruit is a easy and healthy snack. And a lot of them come in their own container for easy tossing into your snack bag such as clementines (cuties, halos, sweethearts - different names depending where you are), bananas. For other fruits, pre-cut and store in a plastic bag or container. Fun tip: add cinnamon to sliced apples. The cinnamon helps to slow down the browning process. Plus, it adds great flavor!
Homemade air popped popcorn. Popcorn is awesome because you get a lot of bang for your buck. 1 serving = 3 cups of popcorn! That's a lot! But, we have to be careful not to get doused in butter, which most of the ones in the microwavable pouches do. I love to make my own and it is super easy! You can get creative here and try many different combinations with spices, herbs, nuts and even chocolate. Popcorn is a blank canvas - works with both sweet and salty. By making your own, you are in control of what goes in it and how much.
Reusable water bottle. I know this isn't a food, but it is so important to drink water when you travel. Traveling, especially air travel, is dehydrating. So, it is important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This is will also make you feel great while away. Bringing your own bottle you can continuously fill it up without any additional charges. (If traveling by air, make sure it is empty! You can fill it up once you get through security.) Get more ideas on how to drink more water here.
What are your favorite foods to take on your road trip? Let us know by sharing below!