Salad in a cup
Mason jars or recycled iced coffee cups make a great salad shaker. Place the salad dressing on the bottom, then layer with your favorite greens, fresh veggies, grains, nuts and seeds. When you are ready to dig in, give it a shake! The best part is, you can tailor these to each family member’s tastes.
Though they often sell these on the plane, the items inside are rarely high in the nutrition department. Make your own instead. In a plastic container, lay out a 2 -3 oz. of cheese, fruit pieces like grapes, berries and apples, or maybe even orange segments, as well as whole grain crackers, and unsalted nuts or seeds. No need to skip the sweet stuff either, but go for cocoa nibs instead of sugary chocolates. The antioxidants and polyphenols are great for your health AND taste-buds.
Rolled pancakes - These are tasty and finger friendly! Opt for replacing some of the flour with whole wheat or oat flour. Serve with fruit like blueberries, apples or strawberries.
“We want fries!”
If fried foods are just calling your name, then consider making a selection of baked veggies at home. Cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, sweet potatoes and even chickpeas are fantastic oven roasted. Of course, don’t forget the potatoes! And, since the oven is on anyway, toss in a couple of cored apples. Then, sprinkle with goat cheese and add to the lunches. Nobody will want those high-fat fast-food apple pies today!
Goat cheese sandwiches work great with this method. Grilling them seals them up, making them easy to slice into small finger sandwiches. These can be paired with small salads and fruit for complete meal.
Don't have time to grill, no problem! Substitute a panini for a whole wheat pita. A great way to shove all kinds of yummy foods into a pita pocket! A bit of roasted chicken combined with delicious Pico de Gallo salsa and dark green leafy greens makes a quick crowd pleasing packable lunch.
Just Snack Time
Maybe the meals are not really a concern because you have an entire food map laid out for the whole trip, I mean, who doesn't love to explore new restaurants and food?! So it’s just about snacks. We all know that opening a big bag of nacho chips can be dangerous, especially if you are stuck in the car or plane with it. Consider switching out the chips for Garden of Eating chips or some freshly popped corn. Portion out reasonable servings into smaller bags or containers and put the big bag out of reach (in the trunk if necessary!). Complement it with carrot and celery sticks or sliced fruits. If you get the munchies after the chips are gone, all you got left is the good stuff till the next rest stop!
Some Assembly Required
If you are going by plane, the whole ‘no liquids’ thing can be a pain. So you can assemble the rest of the meal around what you know you can get at the airport (or convenience store). For instance, pack a container of fruit and granola or favorite dried cereal; then purchase 2 % Greek yogurt (no fruit added) or milk to make a healthy breakfast. Grain bowls are safe to get through airport security. Remember to bring your empty water bottle so you can fill it up once you get through security. It is important to stay hydrated when flying. Check your local airport website before you go to learn their food restrictions and what foods you are allowed to carry past security.
Convenience Store Commando
If you are just too rushed to prep something at home, then go commando in the convenience store. (This is better for road trips.) Think outside of PB&J. Like, hunt out pre-cooked eggs, mustard packets, a small side salad and a loaf of whole wheat bread. Grab a plastic knife, spoon and extra cup, and -voila- nutritious egg salad sandwiches! Or, replace the eggs with hummus and/guacamole for a veggie sandwich.
Seek out fruit with skin- that will prevent it from deteriorating, such as oranges, bananas, apples, grapes, and peaches
No doubt your creative juices are seriously flowing right now and you are already plotting your first Convenience Store Commando. As you can see, there are plenty of healthy and tasty food choices that travel brilliantly. Remember, when selecting “foods-for-the-go,” opt for items that are hand-held, not full of liquid and won’t spoil quickly. Like most things, it’s a trade up of time vs. money. Hopefully, these Quick Food Travel Tips can help you save both!