Top Travel Foods for Your Beach Bag, Backpack or Briefcase

If you travel for work or if you have a lengthy commute, you know the drill. Different time zones, long hours in the airport, traffic delays and meals-on-the-go. Even eating on a vacation can turn into same quick-stop meal or gas station snacks without a little planning. Travel food should be easy and portable; smart choices can mean the difference between prime health and additional booty and belly pounds.

Lots of travel foods satisfy your hunger and taste great. Not so many provide sound nutrition. Power your body with foods packed with protein, fiber and whole-grain carbs but low in added sugars. Don’t forget fruit and veggies. Your choices depend on whether you have access to a cooler or fridge. Try these travel favorites:

Granola Bars

Look for one that's chockfull of nuts, seeds and fruit. The nuts and seeds contain protein and healthier mono and polyunsaturated fats. I like Trio Bars made by a company called Mrs. May's, with about 170 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. KIND bars are good too.

Homemade Trail Mix

Typically, my personal mix contains nuts (such as walnuts, peanuts, pistachios and cashews), pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and a mixture of dried or freeze-dried fruits (including cherries, blueberries, Medjool dates, cranberries, apricots and plums). Go ahead and rough-cut your favorite dark chocolate bar and toss a little in the mix. Here's a crucial tip: Right after making the mix, divide it into snack-size plastic bags or mini-containers so you won’t eat all of it at once!

Flavored Pumpkin Seeds and Flavored Roasted Chickpeas

You can find these online as well as in specialty stores and even some grocery stores.

Jerky

Look for nitrate-free versions of dried beef and chicken jerky.

Fruits and Vegetables

Sometimes the hardest foods to find on the road are fruit and vegetables. Look for ready-to-eat salads in to-go containers at the grocery or the airport. Or grab some easily portable fruit such as bananas, small raisin packs, grapes, apples and pears.

Cheese, Yogurt and Dips

String cheese and other individually wrapped cheese, Greek yogurt, and individual containers of hummus, nut butters and guacamole are simple to take along if you have access to a cooler or fridge. Sugar snap peas, baby carrots, grape tomatoes and cucumber wedges pair wonderfully and are perfect for dipping.

Regina Ragone, RDN, MS on GoogleRegina Ragone, RDN, MS on Instagram
Regina Ragone, RDN, MS
Regina Ragone, RDN, MS, is the food director for Family Circle magazine and co-founder of FoodFitFabulous.com. Connect with her on Instagram and G+.
Susan Mitchell, PhD, RDN, FAND on FacebookSusan Mitchell, PhD, RDN, FAND on GoogleSusan Mitchell, PhD, RDN, FAND on InstagramSusan Mitchell, PhD, RDN, FAND on PinterestSusan Mitchell, PhD, RDN, FAND on Twitter
Susan Mitchell, PhD, RDN, FAND