Sticking to your regularly scheduled healthy(-ish for some) eating plan is tough when you're traveling. First, you're on vacation mode. I don't know about you, but I am a big fan of treating myself to a glass of wine and pizza (or burgers, pasta, anything fried) at any crappy airport restaurant when I'm going on a trip. It's my way of rewarding myself for setting my out of office and also getting through the TSA line.
Second, most of the time, you're looking for something convenient and easy to transport. When a food court, rest stop, or drive-thru is right in front of you while you're en route to your destination, you're more likely to just go for it than search out an alternative.
And hey, sometimes convenience is all you can manage. Maybe you really need some comfort food if you're feeling anxious or stressed. I'm not here to judge you for that (as long as you don't judge me for my airport indulgences). But looking ahead at our next voyage, we're taking the opportunity to learn about making healthier choices. I asked nutrition experts for suggestions on the best and healthiest Trader Joe's snacks to pack when traveling. These will get your energy levels up, won't derail your diet, and will fill you up (no hangry meltdowns here!). Take a look below.
Omega Trek Mix
One package contains 10 smaller bags, so you can take a few for your trip and keep the rest for snacking on the go at home. "These packs are ideal for travel. They're filled with different nuts and seeds that'll totally tide you over and satisfy the need for something salty and sweet," says behavioral health advisor Kelley Hoag, MS, founder of Root to Rise.
Roasted Seaweed Snack
"[These are] super low in calories with lots of flavor and a little bit of protein, so you can keep snacking without the guilt!" says Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder and director of Real Nutrition. An added bonus? The packages are so lightweight, so it won't add extra bulk to your probably already-heavy bags.
3-Seed Sweet Potato Crackers and Berries
Hoag suggests packing a combo of snacks for even more nutritional value: "I'm a big fan of snacking to tide us over from meal to meal. It lessens the likelihood of overeating at meal time and keeps our mind sharp instead of being frantic about when we’re eating next. The best way to set yourself up for success, whether you're traveling, or just going to the office, is to have nutrient-dense, filling snacks on hand. Think of combining different macronutrients."
One combo idea is crackers and berries. "I always read ingredient labels, and these little snacks are pretty clean," Hoag says. Pro tip: She also suggests bringing your berries in a Tupperware so they don't get squashed in transit.
Green Juice and Walnuts
Another combo idea from Hoag: "Trader Joe's has great pre-made green juice options that aren't filled with sugar. Sometimes when traveling our eating habits are way off, and sipping on a green juice can feel grounding and nourishing. Pair it with a quarter cup of walnuts and you'll be feeling totally revived!"
Because of liquid rules for airport security, you won't be able to pack this for a flight, but it's a good option for road trips or train rides.
Organic Olive Oil Popcorn
"Who doesn’t love popcorn? I find that when my clients travel, they like to munch. Popcorn is a high-volume food, which means you can eat a lot of it without too many calories. It also contains fiber, and this version has heart-healthy fats instead of goopy butter!" Shapiro says.
"Perfect bars give you a major bang for your buck. Sometimes when traveling, we're not always sure when and what our next meal will be. Perfect bars are dense and filled with good-for-you ingredients that will keep you full," Hoag says.
Almonds and an Apple
This suggestion from Hoag is simple yet effective: "Almonds are high in fat and protein while apples are fiber-rich. Both are travel-friendly and Trader Joe's even has almond snack packs to make it that much easier."
"Trader Joe's has organic versions, which is important when it comes to dairy. This can take a while to eat if you string it, so it’s great at keeping you busy. With only 80 calories and 8 grams of protein, a little will go a long way at keeping you full and satisfied!" Shapiro says.
Chomps Grass-Fed Beef Sticks
Hoag says these are handy for any trip: "Protein when traveling is key to keep you going. These snack sticks are perfect for travel, tasty, and great quality."
Snap Peas and Baby Carrots
"Sometimes when we travel we just want the comfort of a crunch. Bring along some hummus for dipping!" says Hoag.