Vacation Travel Hacks: Keeping Road Trip Snacks Healthy

Healthy Holistic Homes
Author: Healthy Holistic Homes
Vacation Travel Hacks: Keeping Road Trip Snacks Healthy
Airport or gas station junk food induced stomach ache and acne is not the most fun way to start your holiday. Here’s what to do instead to avoid these.

You’re rushing through the airport, desperate to grab a bite before your flight. You scan the terminal, but all you see are fast food chains and snack stands loaded with processed junk. Keeping road trip snacks healthy can feel like an impossible challenge. With few choices and lots of tempting fast food, it’s tough to stick to our healthy eating goals away from home. Feeling hungry with few options can make you choose less healthy foods.

We talked to Eric Edmeades, a food psychologist and nutritional anthropologist, a founder of WildFit program. The program, which helped over 50,000 people in 130 countries achieve lasting weight loss and health transformation. Eric Edmeades prepared a list of travel life hacks to help you eat healthy while traveling.

A man sitting on the cliff overlooking the ocean with big rocky island in the background.

Pack Your Own Food

Pack your own food. That’s right, the #1 travel hack for maintaining a nutritious diet on the go is to bring your own healthy snacks and meals from home. When you bring your own food, you decide what to eat instead of relying on airport or airplane food. Healthy snacks stop you from feeling super hungry and making quick, not-so-healthy choices. It means you’ll always have good food wherever you go. Here’s a few reasons:

1. Control over ingredients: When you bring your own food, you control what you eat. You can pick healthy, nutrient-packed foods and skip the added sugars, bad fats, and preservatives usually in convenience snacks.

2. Portion size control: It’s easy to overeat when you’re relying on restaurant meals or snacks from the airport kiosk. By packing your own food, you can control your portion sizes and avoid overeating.

3. Cost savings: Dining out when traveling can get expensive, especially when looking for healthy choices. Packing your own food saves money on pricey airport snacks and restaurant bills.

4. Time saving: With your own food, you don’t waste time looking for a healthy meal or waiting at a busy restaurant. You can eat when you want and get back to your adventures faster.

What To Pack

You might wonder what to pack. Choose foods that are full of nutrients, don’t spoil easily, and don’t need much room. Pick foods with lots of healthy fats and proteins for lasting energy.

Some great options include:

  • Dried meats like jerky made with pure meat and no harmful additives or preservatives
  • Steak cut into bite size portions, packed into a small cooling bag)
  • Soft boiled eggs – but don’t boil it too much, it can cause the egg yolk to oxidize
  • Carrots
  • Oranges or even apples when in season
  • Homemade energy balls and crackers without nuts or seeds

Be sure to pack enough food to cover your transit time, plus some extra in case of delays. A little preparation goes a long way in keeping your healthy eating on track.

Airplane flying into sunset

Eating Well on The Road

In addition to packing your own food, Edmeades recommends a few other strategies for eating well on the road:

  1. Research healthy food stores and restaurants at your destination before your trip. Knowing your options ahead of time makes it easier to plan for nutritious meals.
  2. Stay hydrated with plenty of water during travel. Feeling thirsty can sometimes feel like hunger, causing you to snack unnecessarily.
  3. If you’re metabolically flexible, consider fasting during travel. Intermittent fasting can be a useful tool for managing hunger and food intake on the go.
  4. Try to stick to your regular meal schedule and avoid mindless snacking. Sticking to a regular eating schedule helps control your hunger and keeps your metabolism working well.

Staying Hydrated 

One of the simplest yet most important things to remember for your health during travel is to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and even serious health problems. 

Bringing your own refillable bottle is smart, but watch out – airport water fountains often don’t have their filters changed frequently enough. Opting for glass-bottled water is the best solution, although it may be challenging to find at the airport or come with a steep price tag. 

If you can only get plastic bottles, don’t stress too much. Just remember, the harder the plastic bottle, the better.

If you don’t like plain water, add lemon, lime, or cucumber slices for a tasty twist. Herbal teas and coconut water are also good choices. 

Here’s a fun fact! You can take coconuts with water through airport security with no limits. You can bring as many coconuts as you want! The only tricky part is opening them. So, next time you’re traveling from a sunny place, grab a coconut to keep hydrated during your trip.

Coconut cut in half on the sand.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Travel

If you’re metabolically flexible and have experience with intermittent fasting, this eating pattern can be a useful tool for managing hunger and food intake while traveling. By limiting your eating window to a specific timeframe, you can avoid the constant snacking that often comes with travel.

Fasting during travel can also help you adapt to new time zones and combat jet lag. By giving your digestive system a break, your body can focus on adjusting to the new schedule.

Of course, intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. If you have a history of disordered eating or a medical condition that requires regular meals, it’s best to stick to your usual eating pattern. And if you do choose to fast while traveling, be sure to stay hydrated and listen to your body’s hunger cues.

Tips for Packing Food for Air Travel

While packing your own food is a great strategy for any type of travel, there are a few extra considerations when it comes to air travel. Here are some tips for packing food in your carry-on:

  • Check TSA regulations: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific guidelines for bringing food through security. In general, solid foods are allowed, but liquids and gelatinous foods must be in smaller containers and fit in a clear, quart-sized bag.
  • Pack smart: To avoid crumbled crackers and bruised fruit, pack your food in sturdy, leak-proof containers. Bento boxes, mason jars, and reusable silicone bags are all great options.
  • Keep it cool: If you’re packing perishable items, use an insulated bag with ice packs to keep your food fresh. Just remember to remove the ice packs before going through security, as they may not be allowed in your carry-on. But you can always try first.

Maintaining Regular Meal Times and Avoiding Mindless Snacking

Another key to eating healthy while traveling is to stick to your usual meal times as much as possible. This can be challenging when you’re crossing time zones or dealing with unexpected delays, but do your best to maintain a regular eating schedule.

Aim to eat balanced meals with a mix of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to keep you feeling satisfied and energized. And when hunger strikes between meals, reach for the healthy snacks you packed rather than mindlessly snacking on whatever is available.

If you find yourself tempted by unhealthy snacks or oversized portions, try practicing mindful eating. Take a moment to check in with your hunger levels and ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or just eating out of boredom or stress. Savor each bite and pay attention to your body’s fullness cues to avoid overeating.

Water glasses on white surface

Key Takeaways

Staying healthy on the go doesn’t have to be hard. Just remember the top travel tip: pack your own food. With a bit of planning and awareness, you can keep up your healthy habits and feel great. 

Here are a few things to remember: 

  • Pick nutrient-packed snacks and meals that are easy to carry and won’t spoil.
  • Stay hydrated, try intermittent fasting if it suits you, and stick to your usual meal times.
  • Be mindful of what you eat and pay attention to when you’re hungry or full.

With a bit of planning, you can stick to your healthy eating routine wherever you go. So go ahead and book that ticket – your taste buds will thank you. And don’t forget to check out more nutritional facts and travel snack tips in our interview with the food psychologist Eric Edmeades before your next vacation. Have a great trip!