These days, gluten and dairy intolerances, sensitivities, and simple diet preferences (among other food allergies) are becoming more and more common. So how does a world traveler deal with food issues like these on the road? To tackle this subject, I consulted with a friend of mine who was eager to share her ideas and help others in situations similar to hers.
Megan is a frequent international traveler and also happens to have completed an IRONMAN triathlon, so she knows her stuff when it comes to nutrition and eating healthy on the road. Unfortunately, Megan also suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and has grown up in a family with various GI diseases. She has gluten and dairy sensitivities, which are prone to change over time, so her ultimate goal is to find a good, healthy balance. While traveling, this can prove difficult, not to mention expensive.
Listen to our podcast about healthy travel snacks!
She has been exploring the world of packable, healthy foods to take with her on international trips for the last 10 years. After a challenging, frustrating trip to several grocery stores in preparation for a three-week trip to Africa in late 2013, she was ready to share her expert tips with me in hopes of inspiring and encouraging others in similar situations to stay healthy on the road.
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Best Healthy Snacks to Travel With
In an effort to find light-weight, money-saving, space-saving, non-perishable, and healthy foods all at the same time, Megan has come up with this refined list of healthy travel snacks:
There are a variety of flavors and they come in 3.2 oz packages, which passes TSA requirements. These are all-natural, healthy, easy to pack, and have resealable tops for less mess.
Divide it into small packages so it’s easy to stuff into spaces in your backpack (single serve is the best way to pack snacks).
Real fruit would be better, but it makes a mess in your luggage and doesn’t pass border-crossing inspections. You can always dry your own fruit or, if purchasing, check the ingredients to make sure it has no added sugars or evaporated cane juice.
Another way to eat fruit without having to carry the real thing. These come individually wrapped and are great snacks.
These non-perishable backpacking foods are light-weight and easy to cook on the go.
For the sweet tooth. Real chocolate makes a mess in your luggage when traveling to hot places. These ones come in perfect packets for traveling.
Peanut butter is a given. These ones come in single-serve 1.15 oz packets and a variety of flavors to eat plain or with crackers or whatever you like.
A good protein option, these single-serve packets are perfect for traveling. Hopefully those around you won’t mind the smell of tuna!
Another good protein option that comes in single-serve packets, perfect for traveling. These are especially handy in vegetarian-based cultures (if you are not vegetarian), or perhaps in places where you shouldn’t eat the meat on the menu…
A sugar-free, electrolyte supplement with many flavor options. These are the best for combating dehydration whether it comes from health-related reasons, flying, climate, or being hungover.
For emergency warm breakfasts, all you need is hot water!
These are great for working out and traveling. There are some protein-based bars, and all are gluten-free. Avoid the protein almond flavor, it’s very bland.
These are Megan’s favorite granola bar to travel with. They have a variety of flavors, from chunky fruits to nuts and even cookie dough for the sweet tooth!
Dried beetroot, dried snap peas, or other dried veggies are another fabulous idea for healthy vegetarian options.
With all of these great suggestions, we are hoping you will discover something that fits your food sensitivities, your palate, and your travel habits. It may take a while to figure out exactly what works for you, but perhaps this list can inspire you.
Packing Your Snacks for Travel
Once you have gathered the healthy travel snacks that you plan to take with you, here are a couple more tips to help you pack them up:
- Make sure to have snacks with you at all times to avoid the crankiness that comes with hunger!
- Don’t pack all your snacks in your carry-on and run the risk of eating everything on the plane before you even get to your destination.
- Make sure any liquids over 4 oz get packed in your checked luggage.
- Remember that single-serve is the best way to pack snacks, and they can be stuffed wherever there is extra space in your bag.
- One last thing to pack for staying healthy abroad: get yourself some anti-diarrhea pills and fiber pills at the store, you never know when you might need them.
We Want Your Opinion
This is a type of list that can be ever-evolving, especially with new products coming out on the market every day. Through this list, Megan introduced me to foods I hadn’t heard of. What can you add that maybe we haven’t thought of yet? Have you had any food-related experiences abroad that you can tell us about for the benefit of others reading this post? Please comment and share!