The Ultimate List of Healthy Travel Snacks

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:

applesauce to go

Squeezable Applesauce by Go Go Squeeze:

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.

trail mix

Trail Mix:

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).

dried fruit

Dried Fruit (banana chips, pineapple, mango, strawberry):

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.

fruit leathers

Fruit Leathers:

Another way to eat fruit without having to carry the real thing. These come individually wrapped and are great snacks.

freeze-dried foods

Freeze-Dried Foods from REI:

These non-perishable backpacking foods are light-weight and easy to cook on the go.

cocoa almonds

Cocoa-Dusted Almonds:

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.

Justin's nut butter

Justin’s Nut Butter:

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.

tuna packets

Tuna Packets:

A good protein option, these single-serve packets are perfect for traveling. Hopefully those around you won’t mind the smell of tuna!

beef jerky packets

Beef Jerky Packets:

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…

nuun tabs

Nuun Tabs:

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.

instant oatmeal

Instant Oatmeal:

For emergency warm breakfasts, all you need is hot water!

bonk breakers

Bonk Breaker Energy Bars:

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.

lara bar

Lara Bars:

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!

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.

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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.

Related: 5 Pills for Traveling: Preventing Sickness on the Road

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!

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7 replies on “The Ultimate List of Healthy Travel Snacks”

Your blog has been extremely helpful already!!! Thanks for sharing the tips and secrets. I really really appreciate in particular links to products you use or recommend.
We’re to embark in a two weeks trip to Europe next year going over five different cities in four different countries including Eastern Europe. We have two kiddos who will be 2 and 4. The four of us are lactose intolerant and drink almond milk at home. Hubs and I can deal with cow’s milk doings while we travel but we don’t wanna deal with kiddos upset stomachs while away from home.
I am doin research to find out milk alternatives in those countries and or if by giving the kiddos probiotics we can alleviate the discomfort.
Any suggestions?

Thanks Gilda! Glad you are enjoying my posts. As for milk, I believe you will be able to find lactose-free milk, possibly even almond milk, in most developed countries. You might be amazed at some of the selection even in small convenience stores. Shelf-stable probiotics and enzymes are a good choice for the change in diet in general, but I do think you’ll be able to find milk that your family can drink. And if and when you do, please come back and let us know!

Gilda, this might be too late as you may already be traveling, but I wanted to let you know they do actually make powdered almond milk. Though I’m sure, as Jackie said, you will be able to find milk alternatives in your travels, you could always bring along a small supply of powdered almond milk!

Don’t forget a good dose of shelf stable probiotics while traveling, especially if you are traveling to a malaria zone and taking anti-malarial medication that will kill all the good bacteria. From that recent experience in Africa, I’m still trying to recover from that and realize it was a huge mistake not to take those good lil bacteria pills with me as my trusty friends!

Is there a certain shelf stable probiotic you recommend? I take a probiotic now but it is refrigerated and know there are so many varieties to choose from!

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