This post is brought to you by Montmorency Tart Cherries. They can be bought at supermarkets or online. All opinions and healthy travel snack suggestions and recipes are our own.
Many people think putting together healthy travel snacks is time-consuming and inconvenient, but with a little preparation, you can have ready-made snacks at your fingertips to help keep your energy high and the pounds off when travelling.
We have been serious offenders in the past of indulging in rich and creamy food each day, drinking too much wine, and packing on weight during a trip. Not anymore! Last year we made a choice to take back our health and eat right like we do at home.
When we’re home, we are health conscious, we eat and drink in moderation, and we feel great. Why let it all go out the window when traveling? Just because you are in another country, doesn’t mean you should let your healthy habits go. Here are our top healthy travel snacks that have helped us beat the cravings and keep energized when exploring the world.
#1 Montmorency Tart Cherries
It can be difficult carrying fruit on the plane. You aren’t allowed to bring fruit and vegetables to other countries and it can be a serious offense if you don’t report it. But when you dry fruit or dehydrate fruit, it is perfectly acceptable. I am not a fan of most dry fruits. Dave loves dried apricots, bananas and apples. I just haven’t developed a taste for them.
When Cherry Marketing Institute sent us their U.S.-grown Montmorency tart cherries to try, I finally found a dried fruit that I like! They look a lot like raisins, but they have a tart and delicious flavour. I don’t love raisins on their own, they’re a little too sugary for me, but tart cherries give me that chewy sensation I love with just the right balance of sweet and tart.
We carry a bag with us and snack on them raw, add them to trail mix or sprinkle them on bland food. They add a flavour punch to meals that need a little help. (I’m talking to you airplane food!)
It’s been added to our travel care package and is now a huge part of our daily snacks.
Why we love them:
Montmorency tart cherries can be bought at most supermarkets like Costco, Walmart, and Whole Foods. (President’s Choice in Canada supplies them as well.)
They are a great alternative to dried cranberries and raisins. We’re finding them quite addictive.
What Montmorency Tart Cherries Do:
When I learned that Montmorency tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin that can help with jet lag, I was sold. I always have the best intention of taking melatonin tablets, but I always forget. One thing I never forget to do is to eat and drink, so I am now getting it naturally. According to research, Montmorency tart cherries can also help with inflammation, easing muscle pain, heart health and recovery. As Dave and I get older, we take longer to recover from overnight flights. I used to be able to curl up in a ball, fall asleep and land feeling refreshed. Now, even with lie-flat seats in business class, I suffer. My muscles and joints ache after every flight so I need all the help I can get!
#2 Kale Chips
We have become gaga for kale. Dave and I add kale to everything from smoothies and juices to pasta and salads. Have you tried a kale caesar? We’ve added our dried tart cherries to our kale caesar salad and it’s like eating at a restaurant! It’s to die for. But salads and pastas are not a good option for travel snacks, so let’s move on to quick and easy snacks. That’s where kale chips come in.
Dave and I used to reach for the Ms. Vickies Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar chips for our flight snack, but our waistlines were not happy with that choice. Now we reach for kale chips. It’s best to make them at home as the store bought kale chips can be high in sodium.
But don’t worry, you can still get your salt fix when you make them at home.
Put some kale leaves on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and dust with sea salt.
Cook for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and you’ve got yourself one of the most satisfying travel snacks out there. Put them in a brown paper bag and you’ll feel like you are eating real potato chips bought from the store.
Pro Tip #1: Making your own travel snacks at home reduces the cost of buying food. Something as simple as a fresh apple in the airport can cost a couple of bucks. It seems that they want to punish you for eating healthy at the airport. While candy bars and chips are cheap, anything healthy is overpriced. Beat the system and make your own!
My dad lives on nuts. He’s vegan, healthy and always satisfied. Nuts are high in protein, healthy fats and they help lower cholesterol. Years ago, my dad had high cholesterol. My mom read somewhere that peanuts help lower cholesterol and I admit, he went a bit overboard, but after practically living on a peanut diet between meals, he now has super low cholesterol and body fat. If he is anyone to go by, I recommend eating peanuts!
I tend to get a little bit bored with only one nut, so I like to mix things up a little. I love making a montage of nuts at putting them in a plastic container. When I am craving food, this fills the void and keeps me from buying a Snickers bar.
My favourite nut mix consists of:
Be sure to use unsalted nuts. We always buy unsalted and then if we want to add a bit, we can add sea salt as we like.
Raw nuts are best and you can roast them yourself if you want extra flavour. Nuts are very healthy but often when you buy them pre-salted and roasted, you negate the positive effects of healthy nuts by eating too much sodium.
Pro Tip: One of the advantages to making your own healthy travel snacks is you can control what goes in the recipe. A lot of store-bought snacks claim to be healthy, but when you look at the ingredients they are high in sugar, salt and other additives.
#4 Trail Mix
To expand to my nut mix, it’s fun to prepare more of a treat when flying or to reach for when traveling.
Trail mix is my mix of nuts with a few more treats. It’s important not to deprive yourself of a treat or two even when you are trying to be healthy.
This is where the Montmorency tart cherries make another appearance. Trail mix is all about having a flavour explosion, you never know what each handful will give you.
So, to your nut mix add the following.
- Montmorency tart cherries – giving all the potential health benefits of the cherries we listed above.
- Dark chocolate – satisfies your chocolate craving
- Sunflower seeds – like nuts, seeds are also very healthy and provide fatty acids. Sunflower seeds are high in vitamins and antioxidants.
- Pumpkin seeds – pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium and zinc
#5 Homemade Bits and Bites (or Nuts and Bolts)
You might not know what Bits and Bites are if you are not Canadian (and over 40) but they were huge in the 70s and 80s. Dave’s mom made homemade bits and bites and we kept the tradition going for years. When looking for healthy travel snacks to add to our carryon, we went back to this old standby and made this array of high fiber ingredients to fill the void.
Roasted Cheerios, Rice Chex and Shreddies (Weetabix in the USA)
Add pretzels, peanuts and cheese stick crackers
Season with garlic powder, onion powder and if you want a bit of a kick put some cayenne pepper.
Put ingredients on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees.
Be sure to check regularly and give it a stir.
Put it in a ziplock bag, pack it in your carryon and you’ve got a tasty healthy snack for your flight or travels.
#6 Peanut Butter
When we were in India, some friends of ours had a couple of jars of peanut butter with them. What a great idea! Peanut butter is rich in protein, fat, and fibre and it is high in vitamin B, E, iron and potassium.
When we’re hungry and a spoonful of peanut butter helps satisfy the rumble in the tummy. When we go on long trips now, we take a jar with us.
You can’t carry peanut butter on the plane, but you can pack it in your luggage and it’s a good snack to have on the run or when you’re waiting at the bus or train station to move on to your next destination. It keeps us from buying from a greasy spoon.
#7 Deli Meat and Cheese
Skip the bread and pack a small container of meat and cheese (note: Dave and I have cut meat from our diets, but still think this is a great choice for a healthy snack.)
Get your protein fix by wrapping fresh turkey or chicken around a nice wedge of cheddar cheese. Add some slices of avocado for a healthy fat. This perfect mix of protein and fat satisfies the hunger.
Vegetarians can choose to replace the deli meat with a boiled egg. I don’t like to bring a boiled egg on the plane though because it can give off quite the smell and bother your fellow passengers so I just stick with the cheese and a handful of nuts.
Sometimes you just don’t have the time to make and pack healthy snacks for your travels and that’s okay. With many people reaching for healthier alternatives, it is possible to purchase food on the run. These are our tops choices.
- Meal Replacement or Protein Bars – When we were cycling a lot, we had protein bars at hand. Clif Bars were our go to and when doing research today it is still a top choice for many people. Good to know because when we’re at Mountain Equipment Co-op we still stock up! Cliff bars contain 10g of protein, 5 g of fat and 5g of fibre.
- Yogurt Parfait – We have noticed yogurt parfait popping up everywhere from Starbucks to the airport convenience stores. A yogurt parfait is a snack of yogurt, granola, and fruit that you can blend together once purchased. I don’t find these have enough ingredients to fill me up, but it’s a good on-the-go alternative to junk food. If you have your dried tart cherries with you, add it to the mix for a burst of flavour and vitamins.
- Speaking of granola – granola bars are a travel snack when you can’t make your own. Just keep an eye out for sugar content. Look for the bars with the lowest sugar content. Usually, stores have an array to choose from.
- Jerky – When we were serious cyclists and training for the Tour d’Afrique we had jerky in our snack arsenal to help get a quick fix of protein. Look for natural jerky that is low in sodium.
- Popcorn – stores are starting to sell seasoned popcorn to go. I’m not talking about seasoning with caramel or white cheddar, I’m suggesting popcorn seasoned with natural herbs and spices.
Do you have any go-to healthy travel snacks that you take with you on flights or on vacation? We’d love to hear your suggestions.
About Montmorency Tart Cherries:
Dried Montmorency tart cherries are balanced with a sweet and tart fruitiness that make for a great addition to meals and on the go snacks. We eat them whole by the handful and we add them to yogurt and salads. Dave even drank the tart cherry juice concentrate to help with his hernia surgery recovery along with arnica tablets.
Pro athletes are starting to use tart cherries to help with recovery. I wish I knew about these when we were training for cycling Africa, I suffered a lot training and cycling 12,000 km. I needed a lot more help than my Gatorade that I bought in Egypt. Regarded for its anti-inflammatory properties, research indicates that Montmorency tart cherries can help aid in muscle recovery. You can discover the many ways to include Montmorency tart cherries in your diet on their website.
Dried tart cherries are great for travel because you can carry them on flights and they are a natural source of Melatonin and help support a healthy sleep. Visit their website for more details.
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