Nothing screams summer quite like spontaneously packing up the car and the family and heading off for an adventure. Traveling-you either love it or hate it and for those who love it, nothing turns a trip sour like a hangry travel buddy. Sure, you could stop at a gas station or airport convenience store and fill up on overpriced processed snacks, but chances are those snacks won’t keep you full for very long and before you know it you’ll be back buying more before you know it.
Everyone travels at some point or another, but summer seems to be prime time for stressed-out workers and parents to reward themselves with a much-needed hiatus from everyday life. A recent study found that, “59% of respondents said that they have or will take a vacation”(Pilon). Traveling involves stepping out of your element, so even if you rarely touch fast food, you might find yourself standing in the McDonalds breakfast line because nothing else in the airport is open at 5:30am.
Most people are familiar with the term meal prep, but what about snack prep or travel prep? Buying snacks on the road might have you compromising nutritional value for convenience and can add up to be costly. Whether you’re planning on traveling on a plane, train, boat or car, it’s inevitable you’ll need some fuel for your adventure and vacation is no time to settle for subpar snacks. We’ve put together what will be your new go-to guide for happy snacking while on the away from home. Whether you’re flying halfway across the world or just hopping on the train to see grandma, well make sure you never have to settle for a tasteless gas station granola bar again
Let’s start with the car, probably the most popular form of travel and transportation. Maybe you’re driving down to the shore for a much-needed beach vacation or heading up to the mountains to escape the city, at some point or another, you’ll be hungry. Let’s face it, driving can be one of the most boring activities, especially when you’re sitting in traffic just waiting to get to your destination. Many people find themselves overindulging on car snacks or fast food from pure boredom. It’s something to do with your hands and definitely a lot safer than scrolling through your phone, but beware-mindlessly eating while driving can pack on the calories faster than you think. Snacking healthily while driving can be a tricky one, your options of what you can eat while trying to drive the car and keep everyone alive might be limited. But before you lose hope and crack open that 300 calorie coffee drink, consider a few things. Try packing easy to consume snacks like nuts or cut up fruit. Nuts contain an abundance of healthy fats that will keep you feeling sharp and focused for the rest of your road trip. While nuts are extremely nutrient dense, they can be high in calories. Instead of hauling a big bag with you, try using old spice containers or other small containers to make sure you don’t overdo it. And who doesn’t love a little something sweet? Fruit is typically lower in calories and high in vitamins, so if you must mindlessly snack while driving foods like blueberries, apples or watermelon chunks might be your best bet.
Calories Don’t Count in the Sky, do they?
Unfortunately so, calories are all the same no matter what altitude you consume them at. Flying, like driving, can be a dangerous opportunity for the bored traveler with no Wifi to entertain themselves with food, “Flyers inhale an estimated 3,400 calories between check-in at the airport and arriving at their destination,”(Hill). Worried that this sounds like you? There’s a scientific explanation behind why flyers can’t seem to stop snacking, “The lower cabin air pressure, dry cabin air, and the loud engine noise all contribute to our inability to taste and smell food and drink…[Therefore] the food we consume needs 20-30% more sugar and salt to make it taste like it would on the ground.”(Hill). From the breakfast sandwich you picked up on your way to your terminal, to all the free peanuts and pretzels the airlines throw at you, you might not realize how much you’re consuming. Not to mention how little activity your body is getting from sitting on an airplane for countless hours, your body might be getting a little too much fuel for the actual amount of energy it is exerting. Ditch the tasteless dried up airplane lunch boxes and try these easy to pack airplane lunches and snack boxes.
Don’t want to hop on the processed food train?
Trains are such an underrated form of transportation. You typically have more space to get comfortable than an airplane, usually have cell phone service or wifi, and for those with a fear of heights or flying in general, that’s taken care of. The only problem is that trains rarely feed their riders. While some trains that travel longer distances serve food, it isn’t uncommon to be on a 6-7 hour train ride without any options besides a vending machine. And since trains are tight quarters like planes, no one wants to bring an elaborate meal with a stench that could disturb their neighbors. Besides the fact that no one actually carries cash or coins anymore, there’s no need for vending machine meals here! Try these delicious 3 ingredient flaxseed crackers! Vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free, and perfectly crispy these crackers will satisfy that salty craving. Pack some cheese or hummus with these crackers and you’ve got yourself one fine snack!
-1 cup of ground up flaxseed
-½ cup of hot water
-In a bowl combine flaxseed and hot water. Mix together then let sit for 10 minutes.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350
-When crackers are done, add hemp seeds on top. Let sit before cutting into crackers.
You’ve Made It! Now What?!
So you finally made it. Whether you took a plane, train or automobile, you’ve made it to your destination and you’re ready to get into full vacation mode. We’re huge believers in vacations are that a time to rest, treat yourself, and do what you need to do to feel relaxed and recharged. But sometimes the excitement of a vacation can lead us to get carried away with the whole “treat yourself” concept. Vacation calories can seriously add up if you’re not paying attention, “A study published last year in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that Americans who go on vacation for one to three weeks at a time gain roughly ⅓ of a pound while they’re there. And while that number may not sound like a lot, the researchers think that it may contribute to weight gain of 0.9 – 2.2 pounds per year”(Hill). While a third of a pound isn’t anything too concerning, it’s something to consider when you’re away from your everyday regime. Looking for something to sweet to eat after a dinner out but don’t want to break the bank at the overpriced gelato shop? Try making these 5 ingredient millet cookie dough bites! These little bites of goodness with satisfy your sweet tooth without all the empty calories and chemicals most sweets have.
Millet Cookie Dough Bites
-1 cup of millet flour
-¼ cup of honey or maple syrup
-¼ cup of almond butter
-a handful of chocolate chips
-In a bowl, combine ingredients. Mix well.
-Roll into balls and freeze.
Not to worry though, this by means is a good reason to stock up on meal replacement bars and not enjoy the food around you while you’re on vacation, especially if you’re traveling somewhere with foreign cuisine you don’t find at home. One of the best parts of vacation is eating what the locals eat and trying new foods, just remember to not go overboard. Portion control is one of the biggest keys to success when traveling with the goal of health in mind. Restaurants are notorious for serving up portions that are 3-4 times more than the serving size, and when you’re on vacation, chances are you’ll be eating out here and there. Try taking home leftovers or sharing an entree with someone, this not only saves calories but it stretches the dollar further saving money! On the go but don’t want to overdo it on the snacking? Check out this super handy portion control chart to help you better portion out food when you don’t have a scale and just need a quick but accurate estimate!
No matter where your travels take you this summer, always remember to fuel your body with food that will give you the energy you need to make this vacation the best one yet. Whether you’re a beachgoer catching some rays or roaming up and down the streets of the city, don’t take a vacation from taking care of yourself! Happy travels!
Hill, C. (2017, May 22). Frequent flying is making you fat. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/frequent-flying-is-making-you-fat-2017-05-22
Pilon, A. (n.d.). Vacations Survey: Mid-Summer a Popular Time for Travel. Retrieved from https://aytm.com/blog/vacations-survey/