Summer is coming … we in Seattle can feel it. It has been a long winter. Finally the days are longer and we are dating. More importantly, many of us are planning trips, excursions, picnics, etc. What do these things always imply? FOOD of course!
With all this movement, eating healthy can be tricky. Many of us end up snacking more than normal as we end up in different environments with less access to our usual foods. The temptation to enter a gas station mini-market or fast food becomes even more tempting. Unfortunately, these places rarely have healthy options and even when they do, who buys them? Be honest here.
The key to solving this problem? Planning! Plan, plan, plan. Did I say plan already? You HAVE to plan ahead. Yes, it might take the spontaneity out of things, but there are plenty of other opportunities for exciting foodie adventures besides what you can find by driving down I-90 or on a 5-hour plane ride. Plan some snacks, pack them with you, and stay healthy and energetic during your trip.
What to wear on the road? I’m glad you asked. Here are some simple, car-friendly, and flight-friendly options to get you through until you can enjoy your next exciting meal. These can also be great meal replacements in a pinch when healthy meal options don’t exist.
Walnuts are your friends. They contain a lot of calories, therefore provide accordingly, but they also contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Pick your favorite and pack it in plastic bags or just take the whole damn bag and share it with your fellow travelers.
Yes, I know that nuts have carbohydrates. They have a lot of carbohydrates. But they also have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. If you distribute them correctly, you should not be afraid of nuts. He is also your friend and is a great travel companion. They pair great with nuts or other protein options.
Vegetables / Dried Vegetables
Dried vegetables? In fact, I’ve seen more dry vegetable options in stores these days. From kale chips to crispy beets and baked chickpeas, there are more flavorful, drier options that are travel-friendly. While some may contain oils and flavorings that may be less than ideal, we’re still doing better than French fries, candy, and fast food, right?
Bars can be dangerous. I always doubt and clarify when I recommend bars. Many are loaded with sugar and fortified with cheap protein fillers and poor-quality vitamins. With that said, there are actually some decent options with high-quality ingredients and real nutrition. What am I looking for? First, I check the ingredients. Is the list 4 lines long and contains many unpronounceable words? Put it back. For me, the fewer ingredients the better.
Also check the nutrient label. How is the calorie count? Protein content? Fat? In a perfect world, I’m looking for 200 kcal or less (could be more if I substitute a meal), 8 g of protein or more, and a fat content that doesn’t seem obscene (less than 15 g, maybe?). Then I’m looking for simple whole food ingredients that I know provide my body with nutrients and don’t require the manufacturer to add a lot of artificial vitamins to make sure it’s well balanced. I like to see nuts, seeds, cereals, fruits, etc. Some might add whey or plant-based protein to increase the total protein content, which is fine. Avoid soy protein isolate.
Now, there are a trillion bar options and I am not an expert on all of them. I will list a few options that I like here, but I realize that this list is by no means exhaustive. If you find a bar that meets your personal criteria and you like it, go for it! Here are a few that I have found that I will travel with in a pinch. I think most of these avoid common allergens as well, making them great options for those with dietary restrictions.
And if you have time, make some bars yourself! On my last trip abroad, I planned ahead by making a batch of protein balls and packed them in my carry-on. They made a great gift when the food cart arrived and there were very few acceptable options for eating. Homemade gourmet for victory!
I hope these ideas help you better plan for fun and sunshine this summer!