Finding yourself traveling more than usual during the holidays? Whether you’re flying from in and out of airports or doing a road trip even just a few hours away, you want to be prepared to avoid temptation and the feeling of being stranded for real food while traveling.
This is the first series on traveling tips, where I will focus on how to avoid hunger and stay nourished by keeping healthy snacks and food on hand while on the go. In part two, I will be discussing and giving tips on how to prevent common problems people face with traveling, such as motion sickness/ nausea, immunity, jet lag, avoiding weight gain and addressing common traveling digestive concerns such as, constipation, diarrhea and indigestion.
So lets dive in! When traveling with food, you are obviously limited in what you can bring, especially without a cold pack or refrigeration. For those of us flying with limited space, what we choose to bring not only has to be conveniently packaged, temperature stable, but also nutrient dense. I know this word gets thrown around a lot, but what I am referring to is food that has the most bio available nutrition even in small quantities.
Here are some examples of travel friendly foods:
1. Canned sardines, salmon and mackerel
These are great for a snack or as a meal. They are very satisfying, loaded with readily available nutrition, and are portable and travel well. Fish are the only abundant food sources of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Tuna and wild salmon are also the richest food sources of vitamin D, important for bone-building and anti-cancerous. Astaxanthin is a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant that is found in wild Salmon, and is also what gives it its red-orange color. Fish is also loaded with Selenium, an essential mineral and antioxidant that protects against the damage that any presence of mercury can cause. I love the variety VITAL CHOICE has. Check out the Spiced Sardines in olive oil!
2. Toasted Seaweed
Sitting at the airport, I usually crave something salty, crunchy…do chips come to mind? These were my go to snack until I discovered what was actually in them. Toasted seaweed brings that same texture and flavor that chip lovers crave, but are a much healthier option. Not that I am focused on calories, but one sheet of nori contains only 10 calories and a healthy dose of iodine, which almost everyone is deficient in and can benefit from. Best of all, they are easy and and quick to make. The whole process takes less than ten minutes. With a brush, sweep Nori sheets with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pop into the oven at about 250 degrees for no more than 5 minutes. Sheets should be slightly toasted and crispy when done. Take out of oven and cut into strips and then squares. It’s that simple! If you still prefer to buy them, Sea Snax make great travel friendly convenient packages made with olive oil!
3. Dehydrated Sweet potato chips
These are also another easy and and great snack alternative to chips or crackers and travel just as well. Sweet potatoes are chalk full of antioxidants such as vitamins A and C. They also contain manganese, potassium, and are a great source of fiber, just be sure to remove the skin to get rid of the lectins potatoes contain. Sweet potatoes have been shown to help stabilize blood sugar and insulin resistance. They are very satisfying and are loved by kids!
4. Coconut Chips/ Flakes
I cannot say enough good things about coconut, and the research that has recently been published is more supportive than ever regarding its health benefits. 30% of the fat in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids, largely lauric acid, which has gained reputation as a heart protective fatty acid. MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil is known in the healthcare industry for treatment in digestion and absorption issues. A large amount of MCT oil can be taken up from the digestive track without much metabolic work, meaning its a great source of energy, and because its a fat, its a long lasting energy with no crash! It’s also great for weight loss and maintenance, and is perfect for traveling since it does not require refrigeration. Coconut flakes can be eaten alone or combined to make your own trail mix with crispy nuts. If you have more time to prepare, you can also make coconut flour muffins to take on your journey.
I recently started to implement these more in my diet; I absolutely love them! They are so versatile and taste very similar to real noodles. Kelp, like most sea vegetables, is nature’s richest sources of iodine, which without Thyroid hormones cannot be made. Sea vegetables also contain a cetain carbohydrate called fucans, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and inhibit tumor growth. Sea veggies are also naturally high in trace minerals, iron, calcium, magnesium, folate and even tryptophan which helps to promote sleep. Kelp noodles are extremely low in calories; around 12 calories for 1 cup, making it essential for weight management. These are great to travel with if you are planning to eat them the same day. This is my favorite recipe I created with the last of ingredients I had on hand (its amazing what you can come up with when you think you have no food left): Cilantro Thai Kelp Noodles . Perfect for lunch on the go! Just mix tahini, miso , sesame oil, garlic, and water to thin consistency for the sauce, stir in kelp noodles. Add green onions, carrot, cilantro to mixture and top with roasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!
6. Fruit/ Veggies- fresh or dehydrated
This is an obvious one, but sometimes its overlooked. I always prefer fresh fruit, although when your traveling it’s easier for bruising, punctures, and messes to occur. I once had a peach turn into what looked like applesauce in my purse (not fun to clean up), that’s when I decided to start carrying hard fresh fruit or dehydrated fruit. There is a difference between dehydrated fruit and typical dried fruit, which usually contains added sugar. Make sure and read labels, or better yet, invest in a dehydrator and make it yourself. These crunchy cinnamon apples are some of my favorite. You can also slice cucumbers (I like mine with lemon and sea salt), bell peppers, celery, carrots…the crunchier vegetables tend to be the more travel friendly ones as they don’t turn to slime as quickly. Again, just make sure and eat these within the same day of packing, unless you have access to a refrigerator once you arrive at your destination.
7. Beef Jerkey/ Pemmican Sticks-
This is more of a well known travel snack but still satisfying and filling with a great source of protein to crave hunger pangs and cravings for sweets. If you haven’t found a source of high quality grass fed jerky, US Wellness Meats has my favorite beef sticks and Beef Pemmican flavored with Honey and Cherry. No refrigeration needed.
8. Crispy Nuts/ Seeds –
This is a popular one, but a must. Nuts are probably the most convenient snack on the go. They can be flavored, eaten alone or added into a trail mix of dehydrated fruit, coconut and even some high quality dark chocolate pieces. I would like to caution to not overdue them. Nuts are high in phytates, even though a large percentage of them can be deactivated by soaking, but also very high in omega 6. Make sure and get a variety of different nuts and seeds in your diet (don’t just stick to almonds), and consume no more than a handful a day. Try to go out of your comfort zone and try other snacks. Sprouted seeds like these are great to carry around.
9. Fermented Vegetables
These guys are wonderful to travel with because they don’t require refrigeration. They naturally are preserved. Though they may not be the best to open in a public place (you may get strange looks for smelling a bit funky). Pickled veggies and sauerkraut make a great snack, especially paired with sliced avocado (my favorite). They are also great for helping with cravings and dealing with stress. They provide an array of minerals, enzymes, and even probiotics. I make my own using these cultures.
Looking for other travel friendly snacks, look here to find my recommendations from everything to real protein bars, coconut treats and grain free granola.
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