Whether for fun or work, traveling is an excellent opportunity to expand your palate and try the local cuisine. But being on the road doesn’t have to derail your health and wellness goals. Eating healthy on the road is possible! That’s where healthy snacks come into play.
Healthy and filling snacks can help you stay on track with your nutrition while traveling. Packing snacks can help you make nutritious choices in a pinch and keep you going as you embrace all that traveling has to offer. This article provides a round-up of healthy travel food ideas for the whole family to enjoy, whether you’re traveling by road, air, or train!
20 Nourishing Travel Snacks Ideas You’ll Love
It’s easy to lose sight of well-balanced nutrition when traveling, but we can set ourselves up for success by planning our snacks ahead of time. To maintain stable blood sugar levels, it’s essential to bring multiple options, so you don’t go more than four hours without eating. Prioritize snacks that are good sources of protein and fiber to help keep you full, and don’t forget to hydrate!
Healthy Travel Snacks for Road Trips
Snacking on the road can be tricky, but being prepared with nutritious snacks can keep you from hitting the fast-food drive-thru in a pinch. Check out these healthy road trip snack ideas for adults and kids alike:
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt can be an excellent travel snack if you have access to a cooler or refrigerator. It’s low in calories and packed with protein.1 Stick to the unsweetened versions and add your own toppings, like dried fruits or nut butter. Pro tip: if traveling by plane, you can’t bring containers larger than three ounces through security, but you can usually purchase yogurt from within the terminal.
2. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs can be an efficient way to get protein on the go, and they’re easy to prepare ahead of your travels. One large hard-boiled egg provides six grams of protein and less than 80 calories.2 You can boil several eggs the day before your trip and pack them on ice so they stay fresh until you’re ready to eat them. Consider peeling them ahead of time to make snacking in the car as easy as possible!
3. Hummus and Celery
If you crave a crunchy snack, hummus and veggies are more nutritious than typical high-sodium options like chips or pretzels. Look for pre-packaged hummus to make traveling easy, and consider pairing it with high-fiber vegetables like crispy celery, bell peppers, and baby carrots. Not a hummus fan? Try pre-packaged cups of almond butter or guacamole.
4. Fresh Fruit
Fruit is a refreshing and easy-to-pack travel snack. It’s rich in micronutrients, supporting many aspects of health. You can shop for pre-cut fruits or cut your own ahead of time, and try to pair your fruits with a protein source to help you stay fuller for longer. If you run low on time, opt for applesauce pouches with no added sugar.
5. Cheese Sticks
Single-serve cheese sticks are a great way to get protein while on the road. Options include mozzarella, Colby jack, and cheddar, among others. Consider pairing your string cheese stick with a carb source to increase the nutritional value of your snack.
6. Single-Serve Tuna Packs
Tuna is a versatile snack for road travel. Packed with high protein, it can be a satisfying snack on its own or elevate your lunch on the go. Add it to a salad or put it on a wrap with some crispy veggies to enjoy a delicious, well-balanced meal. Plus, it doesn’t need to be kept cool!
7. Protein Bars
Low-sugar protein bars can be an efficient way to meet your protein needs while on the go. Protein bars are easy to grab and eat when out and about. Plus, they can help keep blood sugar levels stable between meals. Nutrition facts will vary between brands—look for bars with less than 10 grams of added sugar and at least three grams of fiber.
8. Peanut Butter Sandwich
A peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread can be an efficient and nutritious snack to pack in the car. The whole grains in bread are an excellent source of fiber, and the peanut butter provides healthy fats, which help keep you full as you travel. Use gluten-free bread if you have a gluten sensitivity, but be mindful of added sugars in these bread varieties.
9. Cheese Crackers
Cheese crackers are a satisfying snack. Plus, they’re high in protein! You can buy the pre-packaged options or prepare your own ahead of time by slicing the cheese into small squares that fit on top of your crackers.
When driving in the car, you may not notice your thirst like you would at home. It’s easy to overlook when traveling. Pack water and have it accessible to stay hydrated on your road trip.
Healthy Travel Snacks for Plane or Train Trips
Planning snacks for plane and train travel takes more forethought. Trains and airlines have TSA restrictions that affect what you can bring aboard. Consider these train and plane snack options:
11. Baked Chickpeas
Baked chickpeas are a delicious source of fiber and plant-based protein. One half-cup of roasted chickpeas provides almost eight grams of protein, 22 grams of carbs, and more than six grams of fiber.3 Plus, they pack easily in a carry-on bag!
Single-serving bags of unsalted nuts, like peanuts, cashews, and almonds, can be a delicious and easy snack to travel with. They don’t require refrigeration, and they pack a punch nutritionally. Nuts contain healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. And with such a rich flavor, they can help satiate cravings until you can get to your next meal.
13. Trail Mix
Trail mix is an easy-to-pack snack that can satisfy both salty and sweet cravings. The typical trail mix combines healthy fats and proteins from nuts and sunflower seeds with carbohydrate sources like dried fruit and sweet additions like dark chocolate. Be mindful of added sugars, and watch your portion sizes when traveling.
14. Fresh-Cut Veggies
Fresh veggies are allowed through security at airports and train stations. Packing fresh-cut vegetables, like cucumbers or snap peas, in your carry-on is a great way to ensure you meet your fiber needs. Additionally, the crispiness of a fresh-cut veggie can help satisfy cravings for crunchy snacks.
15. Oatmeal Cups
Oatmeal cups are an airport-friendly, nutrient-dense snack. You might even consider bringing a few extra cups to enjoy at your destination. Whether you’re making breakfast in a hotel room or need a snack between meals, oats can give you a boost of nutrition. Oatmeal cups are packed with fiber and protein, making them a satisfying snack. Plus, most oatmeal cups are low in added sugar.
16. Unsweetened Beverages
Hydration can easily be forgotten in the chaos of traveling, and research points to increased dehydration risk while flying.4 While you cannot take beverages over three ounces through security, buying an unsweetened beverage at your gate may be beneficial. Unsweetened drinks can support hydration without causing an unwanted blood sugar spike. You could also pack an empty water bottle and fill this up once you pass through security.
Granola is an easy-to-pack snack that is allowed in your carry-on bag. It offers a satisfying crunch and a delectable sweet taste. However, some granola bar brands are high in sugar, so it’s important to be mindful of your portion sizes.
Dried meats can be an excellent snack when traveling by plane or train. Jerky is a low-carb snack that provides decent protein and fat to keep you satisfied until your next snack or meal. Look for brands with simple ingredients and low sodium.
19. Dried Fruits
Consider packing dried fruit instead of reaching for processed baked goods to satisfy that sweet tooth. Look for options without added sugar when possible, and opt for dried fruits that don’t contain extra ingredients—just the fruit themselves.
20. Protein Powder
While you may not be able to bring a protein shake through security, you can bring protein powder. Pack your protein powder in a permitted container and bring an empty shaker bottle. When you get to your gate, look for a water fountain to fill up your shaker bottle and add your protein powder to get a boost of protein before your flight.
How To Pack and Keep Cold Travel Snacks: Tips
Packing the car for a road trip can feel like a game of Tetris, trying to fit everything in as efficiently as possible. Packing snacks and keeping them fresh can take time and effort. These tips can help:
- Ditch the packaging: Once you’ve bought your snacks for traveling, pull everything out of its store-bought container and re-package it in smaller, stackable containers. This helps you pack the car efficiently, and it keeps your snacks accessible.
- Bring a snack tote: Instead of tossing your non-perishable snacks in the backseat, put them in an open tote so they’re organized and accessible.
- Don’t forget other necessities: Be sure to bring paper towels, hand sanitizer, and utensils. You might even bring baby wipes and a trash bag to help with clean-up as needed.
- Pack the cooler in order: If you plan to bring a cooler, pack it with snack times in mind. Pack the snacks you intend to eat first on top, so they’re easy to grab. You don’t want to be digging around a cooler while driving.
Learn More About Healthy and Balanced Nutrition while Traveling with Signos
Staying on track with nutrition can be challenging while traveling, but you don’t have to abandon your health goals while away from home. Healthy travel snacks can keep you nourished while on the road, giving you more flexibility to enjoy the local culture on your trip. And continuous glucose monitoring can support your efforts here, there, and everywhere.
Signos CGM provides real-time data to help you understand your food's impact on blood glucose levels and overall health. Signos can improve your health and empower you to make educated decisions about your nutrition. Learn more about nutrition and healthy eating habits on Signos’ blog, and find out if Signos is a good fit for you by taking a quick quiz!
Topics discussed in this article:
- US Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Yogurt, Greek, plain, low-fat.https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170903/nutrients
- US Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173424/nutrients
- US Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, Bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173757/nutrients
- Zubac, D., Stella, A. B., & Morrison, S. A. (2020). Up in the Air: Evidence of Dehydration Risk and Long-Haul Flight on Athletic Performance. Nutrients, 12(9), 2574. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092574