Five Healthy Snack Recipes for Road Trips and Air Travel

To Eat, Travel


Today I am heading off to aย conference in Washington, D.C. Since I’ve been on an “eat less, move more” kick for the past few weeks I’ve been mentally planning when – and what – I’m going to eat during my travels. Portable recipes for road trips and air travel can be a challenge, and when you write about food? Forgetaboutit.

While I am obviously planning a few cocktail party splurges over the course of the weekend, I know that one of my biggest diet pitfalls when traveling is the airport.

Flight delays mean lattes, snacks and sometimes even wine — albeit, probably not today since I have a 10:00 a.m. flight. That’s beside the point.

At the airport, snack and meal choices are typically either affordable and unhealthy, or $9 fresh fruit that looks…less than fresh. Airport security guidelines make it difficult to BYO-Snack for lengthy flights and travel days but I’ve scoured my archives to put together of airport-friendly food that is far better for you than the fast food options at your terminal.

grilled cheddar and apple

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Grilled Apple & Cheddar Cheese: Sandwiches at the Au Bon Pain at Newark International Airport will run you upward of ten dollars – and possibly, 700 calories. Before you leave the house, decorate your favorite whole wheat bread with sliced apple, sharp cheddar – and even a touch of honey mustard. To keep the cheese from getting gloppy and congealed, wrap tightly with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Eat within two hours of preparing and wrapping to avoid spoilage.

blueberry muffin recipe

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins: If you’re rushing out of the house in the morning to catch your flight (not that I would know anything about rushing) chances are you won’t have a lot of time for breakfast. Muffins and scones are a great grab-and-go breakfast — and you can use whole wheat flour to slim them down.

parmesan almonds

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Parmesan Almonds: There is no shortage of nuts and trail mixes at airport gift shops, but if you want to make your seat mates jealous (especially the loud snore-er in the middle seat) bake a batch of almonds dusted with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and paprika for in-flight snacking. Maybe if you bribe the flight attendant with a handful of these, she’ll smuggle you a free cocktail.

Photo: Eat Clean, Live Well

Photo: Eat Clean, Live Well

Terry Walters’ NoNo Bars: Lest you get hit with a sweet tooth when you’re miles high, you should have a healthy sweet treat on hand. Fresh fruit is ideal, but if you can’t stand the thought of your apples and bananas getting banged and bruised in your carry-on, bring a few healthy snack bars. You can make your own that taste better than anything you could find at the Hudson News kiosk and they’re way better for you, too.

prosciutto melon mozzarella skewers

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Melon Skewers: Okay, stop looking at my like I’m CRAZY. I know – why would you pack cocktail party passed bites in your carry-on? Well, if you have a long flight, you should enjoy it. Grab a glass of chardonnay, indulge in a good book and enjoy the feeling of being disconnected at 30,000 feet.

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  • Reply
    natalie (the sweets life)
    May 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    great post…definitely feeling a little guilty about the greek wrap i had from au bon pain in the airport last week lol ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I am flying out of LAX next week. Great post and tips! Love the apple sandwich…I definitely will make that part of my carry on. For families with older kids, I like to encourage everyone to pack their own “lunch” as they would for school. That way everyone has something they like. Then we throw in extra homemade snacks and voila we are set. Love the dried fruit cookie…I think I will surprise them with these next week.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Great tips! I just hate traveling simply because of the lack of fresh food choices. I can’t wait to get home back to my own kitchen so I’m in charge of my food choices again.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Love this post! Wish I would have seen it before leaving for Blogher Food. Hope you had fun at Eat, Write, Retreat.

  • Reply
    Blond Duck
    May 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Those sandwiches look delish for a lunch at home too–or a picnic!

  • Reply
    Sawsan@chef in disguise
    May 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    I usually make my ranger cookies when we’re traveling along with oregano cheese muffins.I’m not traveling any time soon but I’m more than looking forward to trying these treats.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Could have used this post before my long trip to China! I did NOT eat healthy in the least. I’ll keep this bookmarked for future use though. Thanks!

  • Reply
    May 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Great ideas, thanks Maris. Enjoy your weekend in DC!

  • Reply
    Simply Life
    May 21, 2011 at 11:41 am

    wow! i want to travel with you! everything looks so good! I always bring my own food to save money and keep it healthy!

  • Reply
    May 21, 2011 at 4:51 am

    These are such great travel snacks! I usually run for the granola bars, but those almonds sound gawgeous. Savory goodness to the max! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Nelly Rodriguez
    May 21, 2011 at 3:45 am

    This is a great guide. I always think ahead and also travel with some variation of a sandwich and nuts. Thanks for sharing these great ideas and have a great weekend in DC!

  • Reply
    May 21, 2011 at 3:37 am

    When we were younger my mom used to bring food on all our trips, and my sister and I were soooooooo embarrassed… I now do the same thing!!! I’ve become my mom! ;-))

    Now I want a homemade soft pretzel! Only if it wasn’t almost 11 pm…sigh.

    Have fun at the conference! I wish I could have been there… hopefully next time.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I usually pack my own snacks when I fly too, so much better than those in the airport or on the plane.

  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    May 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Have a fun trip Maris! I enjoyed reading your airport-friendly snack feature. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    The Food Hunter
    May 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Now i need to plan a trip.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for this! Perfect timing because I’m leaving on a massive road trip soon and I am kind of worried about what I’ll be eating to 1. save money 2. eat healthy. Yikes!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Have fun at Eat Write Retreat! I wanted to attend so much,.but schedule conflicts!
    wonderful options, can’t wait to read your recap post!


  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    This is so great. Not only is airport food unhealthy, it generally tastes bad!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Snack from home beats plastic peanuts! Have a great conference. GREG

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for this! I am going away next week, so this is perfect timing for me!

  • Reply
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    May 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Maris, these are such awesome travel-ready recipes. I especially love the soft pretzels and parmesan almonds. I always make chocolate chip cookies for the road (or train or plane), but I’ll have to branch out and try other things. Thanks for the inspirational post! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    What great ideas! I bring my own food why I fly, too, because the airport food is so expensive and it’s so hard to find healthy options. It’s come in handy when I have tight connections and don’t have time to stop and buy anything.

  • Reply
    Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
    May 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I know what you mean about airport food: pricey, unappealing and unhealthy. I usually have frozen muffins in the freezer (if I can only remember to grab them) and pre-purchase some decent trail mix. They will always give you water or juice on the plane. That probably all sounds boring but not to me!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    You’ve planned for all possibilities:)

  • Reply
    Claire @ Un Bello Aperitivo
    May 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I’m always super tempted by the really high priced gourmet food shops that they strategically place in the airports…sushi? Yes please!

    I love the idea of the parmesan almonds and homemade soft pretzels; I bet they’re so much better than the little packages of peanuts or pretzels (although I have to say that I do enjoy SWA’s honey roasted peanuts, haha).

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Awesome post and so relevant. Have a fun trip!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Raisin Questions
    May 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Nice! Thanks for making me take a minute to think about this — I always get dehydrated and over hungry and yes, I have doled out way too many dollars at airport kiosks when traveling! These are amazing suggestions!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Great ideas! A grilled cheese and apple sandwich so good to be right now.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Yum I hope you brought some to share!

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Tarte du Jour
    May 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I love bringing my on food when flying…. thanks for the tips! Have a nice conference!

  • Reply
    alyssa - fashion fitness foodie
    May 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    and who wants to be even more dehydrated on the plane!? i swear it sucks all of the water out of me. i like to make my own protein bars, bring fruit, hummus n pretzels, choc almonds and peanut butter of course

  • Reply
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen
    May 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Love this! I am notorious for the amount of crazy snacks and treats I can stuff into my bag and manage to get through security. I even once had a security person pull out all of my food (including seasoned raw veggies) that she was going to take a break and have lunch with me while I waited for my plane.

    Hummus, yogurt, pimiento cheese, cottage cheese…chips, protein bars, oatmeal, cereal…fruit, veggies…

    There’s so much you can get away with if you just smile. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    The Parmesan nuts look great! Have fun!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I agree! The phone at the airport is usually terrible! I traveled every week for my job for a year and always packed snacks. I also always went to the grocery store first thing when I landed!! Hotel rooms with micro fridges rock!! The Parmesan Almonds look so yummy! I must try them

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