Staying healthy on the road, especially for work travel can be a pain. Most airports (almost all I’ve visited) serve overpriced, commercial junk. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in a city that offers healthy options, you will certainly pay for it because everything in the airport needs to be double the price of the rest of the world Don’t even try boarding the plane if you’re starving with no food. Your options will really be crap. Jet Blue, in my experience, has been the better of the airlines I’ve flown. I remember enjoying complimentary sweet potato chips, KIND granola bars and Craisins. Not the best, but better options than pretzels, Chex Mix or packs of inflammatory-oiled peanuts. However, just a little bit of planning can go a long way! Since I travel often, I like to think I have some of this stuff down to a science. Here are my top tips and favorite snacks to help stay paleo on your next trip!
- Yup, that’s right. Just one avocado. Why? Well, it’s nature’s most perfect creation, that’s why! Pack a plastic knife and spoon. Cut the avocado in half and BOOM. Eat the avocado with your spoon (if you forget, you can find one at the terrible food places in the airport) using the skin as a bowl. I like to sprinkle packets of salt and pepper. The combo of healthy fats along with carbs usually has me running for a long time after that. You may want to bring a napkin or some Wet Ones 🙂
- Variety of Fruits
- Kinda duh, right? But oftentimes, I think we overlook them and opt straight for protein bars. I find sticking with simple fruits like apples and bananas are easy to travel with and like the avocado, the skin provides a natural protection. Apples are a great source of fiber, keeping you full until you land and bananas are a great source of potassium, boosting your energy. However, try to limit banana consumption if you are watching sugar intake as they have a good amount of it. I also like to pack small applesauce packages. You will look super cave-manish if you don’t have a spoon and just lick the sauce out of the package.
- I’ve told people this before… the bulk section in your grocery store should be your best friend. Products there are always better priced than the packaged stuff but most importantly you can buy the amount you need. Stick with the healthier nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts and make sure you read the ingredients list. Does it have processed oils like cottonseed oil, soybean oil or peanut oil? Then keep away. My rule of thumb for nuts and seeds is it should have at the max, 3 ingredients. The nut, salt and maybe another seasoning like cayenne pepper. I also avoid peanuts. They make my stomach hurt and research has shown that peanuts contain a mold that produces aflatoxin, a known carcinogen. It’s also a legume which is anti-nutrient. That could be a whole other blog, but the point is, if you can choose nuts/seeds vs. peanuts you will be making a better choice. Of course, if options are lacking, use your best judgment. One more note… make sure to portion control. One of my problems is that I tend to throw down more than I should and let’s be real, cavemen were not downing handfuls of almonds in a short amount of time. That stuff took work because those suckers were hard af to crack open.
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Another super simple, cost-efficient, power food to pack (and sometimes smelly to my wife). I’m sure I don’t need to discuss with you the health benefits of eggs. Just try to keep them pasture-raised and organic (I don’t skimp on my quality of eggs – they are that important!) All you need is 15 minutes to boil the egg. Do this the night before your travel if you want them to be cold by the time you take off. I recommend peeling the shell and putting in a container before you take off but you don’t have too. Keeping them in-shell is perfectly fine as well. It just makes for less of a mess on the plane or wherever you may be.
- Nut Butters
- Here is why I love nut-butters… you can eat them by themselves out of the packet (I use them when I am training). We usually pack Justin’s Nut Butters since they have a wide variety of options and are relatively cheap. One packet will be anywhere from $1.00 – $1.25. You can whip out those apples or bananas I talked about earlier and combine the two. The high fat content along with the protein will help keep you satisfied for a while. And your carbs won’t be naked and afraid 😉
- Health bars
- They are great convenience wise but I’d rather spend my time and money on the above. I get it, that stuff takes time so if you are going to pick up some bars, I prefer to stay away from anything granola. My favorite is Epic Meat Bars. They tend to keep me going until I get to some real food. If I don’t have access to Epic, I usually focus on nuts/almonds and fruit bars with no added sugar. Larabars are my go-to. I recently had an RX bar which I really enjoyed. The main protein in that was egg protein which I loved and there brand messaging is “No BS.” Love that ya’ll!
- KIND bars are good too. Some have added sugar but compared to others, they have solid nutrient make up of fat and protein and at a fair price.
For the hardcore traveling cavemen/women: Sardines, seaweed packages or grass-fed cheese
- Sardines: Please don’t eat the sardines on the plane. But if you find yourself in a safe spot around the airport or after like in your hotel room, these are a GREAT portable snack. The easy peel can just make for a good travel companion. Your taste buds may not agree but it’s a wonderful option.
- Seaweed: Seaweed is an acquired taste and sometimes hard to find… But if you can find it, you should be eating it. Here is a good write-up on the benefits of seaweed.
- Grass-fed cheeses: If your stomach allows you, it’s not a bad option and easy to pack.
One more tip… once you land or get wherever you need to, search for and head to the nearest juice bar. Grab a juice with turmeric and/or ginger. Most places have some sort of “defender” shot. You want to take an immune booster after your trip. Travel can take a toll on your body.
Ok. Last tip, I promise. Map out your closest grocery store (bonus if you organized your stay around a store beforehand, because I don’t). Instead of eating out all the time, it’s best to bring the snacks back to your room that you can keep with you everywhere. Even better for you if you stay at a place with a fridge.
Henry, I didn’t have time to prep. What do I do now?
- It happens. First, go through what you have now. Grab anything you can. You might be surprised and find some extra bars or fruits in your fridge/cabinets.
- If still nothing, and you find yourself at the airport starving, your best bet is to find a place that can make a bowl for you. For example, Pappasitos in Houston Hobby can make you a fajita bowl (think Chipotle). Customize it with just veggies and an animal protein.
- Some of the Hudson News places are beginning to carry healthy snacks too like coconut chips and plain nuts/seeds. They are on the pricey side but can be a last resort before you head onto your flight.
You can easily leverage these ideas for road trips as well.
So, what about you? Any good tips to share? What has been your most creative snack to pack for a flight or road trip?
Peace, Love, Bacon Grease