Regardless of how well you eat when you are at home, it’s easy to fall into the trap of eating junk food and other processed foods when you are on the road. The most convenient options are generally not the healthiest options.
In this article, you’ll learn 10 of the best foods to bring with you during travel. None of these items require refrigeration, so they are extremely portable and convenient. They also provide lots of nutrients and natural energy for your body and brain.
- Fresh fruits or vegetables. If you want a natural, simple way to get some essential vitamins and minerals when you are on the go, look no further than some quality produce. Opt for firmer fruits (like apples) and firmer vegetables (like carrots).
- Nuts or seeds. If you are looking for a portable snack that is high in fiber, heart-healthy fat, and plant-based protein, then nuts and seeds are a great choice. Choose from a variety of options, including almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and more.
- Roasted edamame. If you are looking for a vegan snack that is high in protein, high in fiber, and gluten-free, then roasted edamame (soybeans) is a great choice during travel. The “Lightly Salted” edamame made by Eda-Zen is one specific example of this snack.
- Organic, grass-fed jerky. Another high-protein snack that works well during travel is jerky. Just recognize that all kinds of jerky are not created equal. Many are high in sodium and artificial ingredients. Opt for an organic-grass-fed jerky, if possible. One specific example is the “Classic” jerky made by Think Jerky.
- 100% coconut water. Most sports drinks and energy drinks contain as much sugar and as many artificial additives as soda. A healthier option is 100% coconut water. It’s a great liquid to use in protein shakes or when you are in the mood for a drink other than water.
- RX Protein Bars. Most protein bars and drinks are fake health foods. For example, Gatorade makes a protein bar with more sugar and a longer list of ingredients than a Snickers bar! RX Bars are a much better option, as they are made from egg whites, dates, nuts, and other natural ingredients like blueberries.
- Unflavored protein powder. A quality protein powder can really come in handy during travel. Beware of flavored protein powders though, as they typically contain added sugar and artificial preservatives. Opt for unflavored protein powder instead. You can whip up delicious protein shakes on the road by blending in coconut water and fresh/frozen fruits. (You’ll have to get the frozen fruits at a supermarket when you arrive at your destination.) If you plan to make smoothies during travel, bring along a Magic Bullet blender. It’s much smaller than a typical blender, so it won’t take up much space in your luggage.
- Fish oil capsules. Did you know that your brain is nearly 60% fat? Fish oil is very high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for optimizing the health of your body and brain. Unless you plan to eat salmon or another oily fish when you are traveling, fish oil is a good alternative. As the name implies, fish oil is available in liquid form. However, capsules are also available and much more practical when you are traveling.
- Multi-vitamin or powdered greens supplement. Less than 15% of the U.S. population actually meets the minimum recommended daily intake of most vitamins and minerals. A quality multi-vitamin or powdered greens supplement can help make up for some of the nutrients that you might not be getting when you are on the road. If you bring a powdered greens supplement, you could mix it into your protein shake too (see above).
- Vitamin D pills. This vitamin is extremely rare in foods, so it’s virtually impossible to meet your recommended daily intake from whole foods alone- even if you drink milk or other beverages fortified with Vitamin D. Consider bringing along a few Vitamin D pills during travel as well.
The Perfect Travel Snack or Meal
My #1 snack or meal during travel is a homemade trail mix that I prepare in advance with natural ingredients. It tastes great, provides quality nutrients, and no refrigeration is required.
While most trail mixes contain M&M’s and other artificial items, you can create a healthier, homemade trail mix that packs a much stronger punch. Mix and match some or all of the following ingredients:
- Organic, grass-fed jerky
- Roasted edamame
- Cocoa nibs
What if you don’t want to bring food with you?
If you do not want to bring food with you when you travel, another option is to purchase some healthy items when you arrive at your destination. Visit a local supermarket or drugstore (or a salad bar or another healthy eatery) and grab some of the items listed above, in addition to some perishable items to be stored in your hotel room’s refrigerator or freezer.
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About the author: Pete Leibman is the creator of StrongerHabits.com and he’s the bestselling author of Work Stronger; Habits for More Energy, Less Stress, and Higher Performance at Work. Before writing Work Stronger, Pete worked as an executive recruiter for Heidrick & Struggles, a leadership advisory firm who serves the majority of the Fortune 500. In his free time, he teaches one of the largest group exercise classes in the Washington, D.C. area, and he has competed in the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Championships.