21 July 2015 Are We There Yet? Fun Healthy Snacks While Traveling

Whether traveling this summer by trains, planes or automobiles, planning ahead with tasty and sensible snacks and beverages can help prevent you from impulsively grabbing expensive and unhealthy snacks at gas stations and airports. After living in Spain for the last year and traveling 12,500 miles by car, flying to the Canary Islands and taking the train to Spanish villages, I would like to share some healthy snacks to pack based on the five food groups.

Pack to Go

Of course, it depends on what type and how long of a trip you are taking; however, sometimes just packing a plastic bag with a few pieces of fruit (apples and mandarin oranges travel well) or vegetables, like peeled carrots, will suffice. Since fruits and vegetables are often far and few between in restaurant meals, focusing your snacks on these two food groups can help you meet the recommended five fruits and vegetables each day.

In a backpack or cooler, put napkins with a small bottle of hand sanitizer or wet wipes to help prevent food poisoning while traveling. Packing a spork which is a spoon-fork makes it easy to eat a yogurt or other items you might buy along the way.

Great snacks based on the five food groups

In order to obtain the variety of vitamins and minerals that your body needs every day, plan to pack and eat your snacks based on the five food groups.

Fruits: Great sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber and antioxidants
Fresh fruit, wash before you pack. Dried fruits. Canned fruits with an easy open lid

Vegetables: Great sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber and antioxidants
Wash and prepare before you go, for example, peel carrots. Red peppers, Cucumbers

Breads and Whole Grains: Great sources of B vitamins and fiber
Whole grain crackers, Popcorn, Pretzels

Meat and meat alternatives: Great sources of protein, iron and zinc
Beef jerky, Nuts, Cans of tuna or chicken, Nut butters

Dairy or dairy alternatives: Great sources of calcium and vitamin D
UHT (ultra high temperature) milk boxes that do not have to be refrigerated, Cheese sticks

Buy local, seasonal and extra flavorful

While traveling, be on the look out for locally grown fruits and vegetables sold along the road or at local farmers’ markets. Before you leave, search on the internet for what day and time the local outdoor market is in a town along the way or in the city of your destination. Wash the fruits and vegetables in a bathroom at a local gas station or buy extra bottled water to wash them.

Plan one meal a day as a picnic

To help decrease the price of meals eaten out and control types of foods and portions, plan to eat one meal each day as a picnic. Find a local park with a picnic table and a playground. To add exercise to your vacation, pack an empty backpack, which can be easily filled with picnic items for a quick hike. Some of our favorite family vacation memories are “meals with a view” in the middle of a national park or on a hike around a lake.


Label one water bottle for each person. Remember to empty your bottles before going through security at the airport and then refill them with water in the bathroom at the airport. Add a twist to hydration by adding cut up wedges of lemons or limes to your bottle of water.

Though you may not be traveling in your car for 12,500 miles this summer, you can still eat healthy and meet your weight loss goals by planning your snacks ahead of time around the five food groups. Happy trails!

Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Meal Planning & Diets/Snacks Travel/"Planes, Trains, & Automobiles"

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