Tips for Traveling by Plane
I am not going to be the first to state that airlines are pretty stingy in the food-beverages they provide in-flight these days. In traveling across the country (4-5 hr flight), we were offered complimentary beverages only. Not even some peanuts! Buying food in an airport is also downright expensive! The mark-up is incredible and even more so on some of the healthier options. No, I do not want to buy a $4 carton of yogurt that I can get at the grocery store for a $1, nor do I wish to waste my $$ on a $6 fresh fruit cup!
The good news is, with a little planning, you can pack your own food fare, eat healthier in the process and save some precious moolah. Here are a few tips:
-Pack (mostly) non-perishables
-Fresh fruit is natures "fast food"
Top tip: If you'll be traveling for a while, clear the fridge of foods that will spoil in your absence and pack a lunch to go! Shown above, I combined some leftover spinach and blueberries with a handful of walnuts and some raspberry vinaigrette dressing to fuel our cross-country travels in lieu of having to buy a meal on the plane or having to rely on too many processed foods. Spinach, blueberries and sugar snap peas all travel pretty well without refrigeration (for a day at least), which is why they for a great lunch to go.
Traveling by Car
During our trip, we traveling over 1000 miles by car (from Seattle to San Francisco and then some). You betcha I was keen on stocking our car with plentiful snacks to keep us well fed during our long days of travel. There's nothing worse then being hangry while pent-up in a tiny vehicle, and a well-fed Kristen is a happy Kristen :) That being said, I wanted to be health conscious in our selections so as to prevent up from filling up on junk food. I did not pack a cooler, so we bought mainly non-perishables, but I've included ideas for both here.
The magic is all in the pairings, so try to pack a variety of foods. In our case, we ate a pretty hefty breakfast, consumed lunch on the road via packed snacks and sat down for a nice dinner. If you have a cooler, dinner leftovers travel well. If you don't, try combining a granola bar with fresh fruit and some travel-friendly veggies. Without a cooler, you can pack some homemade granola and consider picking up some greek yogurt (most nicer gas station food marts will carry it). Another option to consider is to seek out a grocery store along the road and restock on healthy yet perishable food items as you go. Seems inconvenient, but it's no more time consuming than eating out and often is much more cost effective.
Dining Out While Traveling
Second to our airline tickets, food costs from eating out was a second major expense during our trip. Even with just the two of us, it was easy to spent $30 or more on one meal! Here are a few tips to cut calories and the expense of eating out alike:
-Cut your cost in half by splitting an entree with your significant other or with a friend, when possible. If not that, consider packing half your meal to-go for another meal.
-Choose lunch specials and skip the appetizers
-Some appetizers are both filling and healthy, so consider making them your main entree
-Balance out fine dining with quicker, less expensive options (like subway or panera)
-Skip the restaurant all together and grab a to-go meal from a local grocery store. Make a picnic out of it!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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