For me, right food is one of the most important things that affect how I feel while travelling, especially on airports and flights. Do you know that feeling when you’re waiting for your plane and you’re getting nervous because of hunger but you know that the choice around is from poor to totally unhealthy? And you’ve made that mistake again – didn’t pack anything to eat, not even a single bar or nibbles. You’re trying to wait for your boarding gate to be announced without thinking about eating but you ultimately give up and buy an overpriced sandwich or a chocolate bar which will get you to the exact place you’ve just been in an hour. And that’s a pity because even a simple but healthy snack would calm down your hunger.
Been there a hell lot of times. These days packing my travel snacks is equally important as packing right clothes or anything else. Being a vegetarian, the airport food selection is even poorer for me and if I don’t take my own food with me I might end up with fries or a dull salad from McDonald’s.
I have several favourites I can count on on my travels and hopefully these will serve as an inspiration to someone who’s trying to solve out the same problem I had.
Great travel snacks to nibble on your trip:
1. Nuts & seeds
Anything will do what can keep your sugar levels low – almonds, cashews, walnuts… in combination with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. You can make your own mix at home and nibble whenever you’re getting hungry but there’s nothing good to choose from around.
2. Naturally sweet bars
If I have to choose a sweet bar I go for Nakd. They are raw, naturally gluten and dairy free and without added sugar which makes them healthier than ordinary sweets offered at airports. Their base is usually made of dates (which are high in fiber and good for your digestion) and nuts (good source of protein and some trace elements) plus some natural flavouring and come in a whole range of flavours. Sometimes you can buy them in airports too but why pay more if you can get them for around 80p in your local supermarket? Just one note – as I said, these bars are made primarily of dates which have a very high glycemic index so it’s better to eat them if you really can’t be without something sweet but don’t eat them very often! (it would make probably the same effect as any other unhealthy bar – you would get hungry very soon again, not to mention the amount of sugar in them)
3. Homemade granola bars / power balls
Nakd bars and alike may not be available in your country but nothing stops you from make your own healthy bars! And as you can control what you put in them they might be even much healthier than those from a store. Recipes are abundant for both, home made granola bars and power balls. Just try to use minimum of sugar (dried fruit make a great alternative to ordinary sugar) and rather add things like rolled oats, oat bran, nuts and seeds to get as much nutrients as possible.
4. Dried fruit and trail mix
If you’re not that into baking but know you’ll crave some sweets, the simplest thing you can do is make your own trail mix combining various nuts and seeds with whatever dried fruit you have at home (or can find in your supermarket). Cranberries (also great as a prevention to urinary infections), bananas, coconut flakes, dried apricots and apple rings are my most favourite ones. The great thing about a home made trail mix is that even if you don’t eat it all during your flight, you can use it to make your own muesli together with rolled oats and some tasty local yogurt next morning.
5. Oat cakes
Originally a Scottish snack now easily available around. They are high in fibre, not so high in sugar and can be bought in a gluten free version. Great if you don’t want to bake your own stuff and a handful of nuts is just not enough for you.
6. Rye crips bread
Rye breads are naturally high in fibre and have low glycemic index which will make you feel full for longer. Crisp version is suitable for airport snacking (just watch for the crumbs 🙂 ).
7. Dark chocolate
Not as a proper meal of course but a great alternative for sugar cravings. Choose only the top notch quality and at least 70% cocoa solids. Lindt is always a good choice and available in many countries, Green & Black’s and Seed & Bean are good alternatives.
There are also some general tips you can follow to ensure you’re feeling great while travelling:
- Drink plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated
- Avoid coffee and if you really need your caffeine fix, switch it for tea – tein will give you the buzz plus it has antioxidants.
If you are after all going to eat at the airport try to choose lighter meals that are easier to digest.
Lots of vegetables, hummus (very low glycemic index and unquestionable nutritious value) are great. One personal tip – the only thing I eat at the airports without guilt is this avocado & herb salad wrap from Pret-a-manger. It has avocado (healthy fats!), toasted pine nuts, baby spinach, cucumber, tomato, yoghurt dressing, basil and cheese wrapped in a tortilla – what’s there not to love? Sandwiches or wraps I tried from cheaper chains (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, WH Smiths) were either not tasty at all or made me feel bloated and uncomfortable for the next few hours. Marks & Spencer has a nice selection, too.
What are your favourite travel snacks? Do you prepare them yourself or rely on food stalls at the airport? What is the best travel snack (or meal) you’ve ever had?
You can find more tips for travel snacks also on my Pinterest board: