Such seems to be the common rotation of food groups I have turned to for sustenance while traveling – those long hours in the airport staring at strangers or doing crosswords in the newspaper, those periods of boredom on-board once you’ve tired of your book, your iPod has run out of batteries or the movie is over. Sometimes you eat just to eat…even if you’ve already consumed an entire tray-table’s worth of salad/entree/dessert/roll combo (which as a general rule I do not find to be as terrible as people whine about…airplane food is fine). But over time I’ve learned the hard way that nothing I have packed myself has been a). sustaining, or b). healthy. By the time I reach my destination I usually feel particularly sluggish…because I’ve been sitting so long and eating salty or sweet foods that don’t do much other than fill the space for a short period of time. Plus I always end up buying them at the airport shops, where food is marked up about 160%.
So with some trial and error I’ve come up with a few air travel staples that boost energy, satisfy longer and general contribute to overall health rather than make one feel fat. These are going in my carryon this week as I pack for a transatlantic flight, and are especially important since I arrive at 7am, have a work meeting with upper management at 3pm and somehow have to stay spry and bubbly until then.
Obviously these aren’t going to make you waltz off a plane looking like Victoria Beckham, but then again, I don’t have my own makeup artist and hairstylist, do I? Plus let’s be real – I’m usually in coach. So here we go!
Seems obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many people eschew these babies for a bag of salted trail mix that is half M’n'Ms and call it beneficial. Maybe because they are so proliferous in California but I swear these are the world’s most perfect snack – tasty, filling and über-healthy thanks to a high fiber content and low cholesterol.
2). Apples & Bananas. Or yes, Grapes.
High in fiber, vitamin B and potassium, low in fat and calories. Apples and bananas both seem to stave off hunger pangs pretty quickly and require no preparation or even bagging. Grapes do, and I don’t think they have a ton of nutritional value (so I’ve been told, possibly erroneously because I’ve always believed otherwise) but they are certainly better than Gummy Bears. Only 2 things I have to remember – make sure they don’t get squished and have a place to get rid of the peel/core. Better for the airport than on board, I guess.
3). Oatmeal cookies
OK so sometimes I just need a sweet. Instead of a candy bar, which is full of empty calories and will put you on a sugar high that is sure to fail you 30 minutes later, oatmeal cookies are essentially grain-based, so there’s some fiber to sustain you, and hey a little chocolate (or dried cranberry..mmm) never hurts. They really hit the spot – just don’t eat the whole bag in one sitting.
4). String Cheese
Generally I shy away from anything that needs refrigeration but these are okay for a bit. I mean, hey, we used to bring them to school in our lunchboxes in the morning and eat them hours later and we all lived to tell the tale. String cheese packs amazingly (small and already-wrapped!), has calcium and protein to satisfy, is very low-cal, and if you buy the Light kind, extremely low in fat. Sometimes I throw in some whole grain crackers…they go excellently with the cheese…and with that split of wine I’ll be having on-board :)
I could list more, but I only have so much room in my purse, don’t I? What do you bring for healthy snacks when you travel? Sound off in the comments!