While going on trips can be fun and exciting, when you have food sensitivities and/or are easily prone to digestive issues from restaurant foods, traveling can also be stressful, both mentally and physically. I do love food and trying out new restaurants, but I also like to be prepared in case I’m in a situation where there aren’t too many options (or when I have an irrational fear that I’ll starve to death on a 2 hour flight… which is every time). Especially in places like airports or train stations, you never know what ingredients and hydrogenated oils are hidden in the overpriced foods you are getting, and you are often left to choose between a fast food restaurant or the vending machine. To ensure that you are prepared with better options to munch on, I think it’s smart to pack some healthy food essentials when traveling. These are some of my favorite portable items that I like to bring with me on trips.
1. Good quality dried or dehydrated meats. Beef jerky and salami are great sources of protein and fat that are easy to snack on. My current favorite salami is anything from the Olli brand, and I’ve been loving the 100% grass-fed Epic Bison, Bacon & Cranberry bars. These are great filling choices that do not take up much space in your carry-on bag.
2. Crunchy snacks. I always get salty cravings on flights, especially when I see the flight attendants handing out pretzels and peanuts. While you may think peanuts may be a healthier choice, you’ll be surprised to see that they are usually cooked in harmful oils. I like to avoid these and pack delicious salty treats like Gimme Roasted Seaweed Snacks or Wonderfully Raw’s Brussel Bytes. Kale chips are also a great option.
3. Powder gelatin. You’ve heard me talk about the amazing benefits of bone broth. Traveling can be stressful for the body and can lower the immune system. Since it doesn’t make sense to carry a jar of bone broth everywhere you travel to (even though it sounds very tempting), Great Lakes Gelatin is an amazing powder you can mix into warm drinks to get the similar benefits as drinking homemade broth. I even drink power gelatin at home during the rare times that I run out of bone broth.
4. Sprouted nuts. Nuts are a popular go-to travel snack because they so portable and delicious. Make sure they are soaked and/or sprouted in order to get their full benefits!
5. Natural sleep aid. I don’t usually sleep well while traveling, and it’s so important for me to sleep well if I want to enjoy my trip and do everything I need to do. When I start packing, melatonin is the first thing I grab because I know how much sleep will impact the quality of my trip. Magnesium is also a good supplement to take if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
6. Fresh or dried fruits. I don’t love dried fruits because they are too sweet for me, so I usually go for the fresh variety like apples, bananas, or oranges. If you do pack dried fruits, I would eat them with a source of fat like nuts and limit their intake so you don’t stress out your body with the high sugar intake. Also, if you are packing a trail mix, check the ingredients list and make sure it doesn’t contain added sugar or unhealthy oils like canola, sunflower, and safflower.
7. Reusable water bottle. My Hydro Flask is my best friend and I take it with me everywhere. It’s insulated, light, and sturdy. Besides the importance of reducing plastic, bringing your own reusable bottle allows you stay consistently hydrated, which is crucial in an airline cabin where the humidity level can fall to as low as 1%. Also, the amount of water they give you on flights is not even close to the amount you would need even if you are on land for the same length of time.
8. Probiotics. Traveling can be tough on your digestion and your immune system. Especially if you are in a place where you are trying out new foods, probiotics are essential to keep your gut healthy and kill any harmful bacteria that may cause food poisoning or any other digestive upsets. Probiotics also reduce your body’s inflammatory response, which strengthens your immune system and reduces your risk of catching a cold while on the road. Garden of Life Primal Defense is the brand I take regularly and it really makes a difference.
9. Raw cheese slices. I’ve recently started including more raw dairy into my diet and I love it. If you can handle dairy, raw cheese slices are a great source of protein and fat, and they last a long time without being refrigerated. They are especially delicious with a handful of nuts and quite filling, so a small amount goes a long way.
10. Boiled eggs. If you are traveling with other people in a small space, like on a plane or a train, I would suggest soft boiled eggs. Not only are soft boiled eggs much more tasty in my opinion, they don’t give out the strong sulfur smell that hard boiled eggs do. Partially cooked yolks also provide more nutrition to the body than when they are fully cooked.
11. High quality salt. It’s a popular belief that we need to decrease our salt intake. However, this is not true when you are eating a whole food diet. Processed and restaurant foods are high in refined table salts that do not benefit our health. However, unrefined sea salt pink or gray in color contain healthy minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, and iron, that are crucial for our well being. I like to carry a small container of Real Salt to sprinkle on my food on the road, or I’ll sometimes add it to my water if I’m feeling fatigued.
12. Organic tea bags. Instead of getting coffee or tea on flights, which are usually low in quality and high in pesticides, I ask for hot water and steep an organic tea bag that I bring from home. I love calming herbal teas like chamomile, ginger, and peppermint that keep my anxiety level in check while traveling, while aiding in digestion. This is also where I like to pour in some powder gelatin for an extra health boost.
- If you are sensitive to hydrogenated oils, pack your own travel sized oils (like olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, or almond butter) that you can add to salads and foods. Butter also travels well and doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- Book with Airbnb to find a place to stay with a full kitchen. Most places provide spices and basic cooking essentials, and this makes it easy to cook your own food at least once a day!
- Do your research before the trip! The first thing I do is look for a Whole Foods or an organic grocery store around where I’m staying. I also search or ask around about any restaurants that cater to food restrictions or that support local and organic meats and produce.
- Finally, unless you have food allergies, cut yourself some slack. You can’t eat perfectly while traveling, and relaxing and enjoying your surroundings will provide more health benefits than if you are eating perfectly while stressing out over every little ingredient. On my recent trip, I enjoyed some foods that I don’t usually consume at home like gluten-free beer, wine, dessert, and some instant rice. While I didn’t feel great after eating these things, I was okay with my decision and moved on with my day. Letting go of control and perfectionism will make your travel much more enjoyable and worthwhile.
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