Healthy Snacks You Can Find Anywhere
Have you ever considered the best ways to eat healthy food on the go? Every day, well almost every day, you must head out of the house into the world. When you are hungry, do you eat a candy bar? Your kid’s leftover food on the seat? The first thing you see? With a little knowledge and planning, you can eat healthy foods for on the go that you won’t regret later.
What is Healthy Food?
First, what do I mean by Healthy Food? Depending on who you are talking to, healthy can mean low calorie, low fat, low carb, limited ingredients, and many other variations.
I consider healthy food to be whole foods with ingredients that we can pronounce and minimal processing. While this is the goal, sometimes choices come down to a matter of this is better than that. In that case, you always want to check ingredients before purchasing and make the best decision within your choices.
What is On The Go?
On the go can mean different things depending on where you are going and what you are doing. It can mean a road trip, flying to a new destination, or simply going to the doctors’ office. When you (or your kids) get hungry, it is a great idea to healthy grab and go food (or at least a plan)!
As in life, different situations create the need for different options.
Snacks for Road Trip:
If your on the go is a road trip, you can pack a cooler, bring all of your food with you, and always have healthy foods to eat, meals, everything available for you 24/7. With a little bit of research, you can find great restaurants on your way or eat 100% of your meals in your car. You have more options in terms of space, cooling, and variety.
Snacks for Airplane:
If your on the go is to an airplane, keep in mind that you don’t want to overpack. Here (link what to bring on an airplane) are the items we bring specifically for the kids. However, you do want to make sure you don’t have hungry kids in the security line or on the airplane. You, also, need to be aware of liquid limits.
Snacks for Errands:
If your on the go is heading to a doctor’s appointment, play dates or any errand, make sure you bring items that travel easily and are in small portions for quick eating. It’s easier to eat 2 smaller burritos than to try to save ½ of a big one (or to give the kids each 1 smaller burrito rather than cut one large one in half).
Tips for Healthy Food on the Go
When you are eating healthy food on the go, there are some additional things to you need to take into consideration. By thinking about these things now, you can prepare yourself later.
- Does your food need to be kept cold? Do you want to pack a cooler?
- Does your food need to be hot? How will you keep it hot?
- Is this a messy food? Should you bring a bunch of napkins? Are the crumbs from the snack that you gave the kids going to drive you crazy? Crumbs drive me crazy, so I keep a portable car vacuum in my car. When I get gas, I vacuum the kids’ crumbs to quickly clean up those on the go snacks that make it to the floor.
- How will you eat the food? I tend to lean towards finger type foods, so I don’t have to deal with silverware or dishes. If you might need silverware at some point, it is nice to have some in your car or purse. (Just don’t forget about it at airport security!). You can buy great silverware set that’s perfect for eating snacks on the go. Then you will always have the right tools for healthy food on the go.
- What are you going to carry it in? Cooler, purse, your car, or a bag.
- Who is going to need to eat? You only, kids, babies? How much do they typically eat? This can help you determine if it’s a better idea to just bring healthy foods to eat or grab a snack at the gas station.
- How much money do you want to spend? If you are looking for a cheaper option, generally, bringing food from home is the way to go.
Convenience Store or Gas Station Options
If you don’t plan to be out as long as you suspected or you or your kids are getting hungry, the easiest and quickest option might be to quickly stop at a nearby gas station. Gas stations can be full of junk food, but if you know what you are looking for you can find healthy food for on the go.
- Pickle: While pickles at the gas station are not personally my favorite thing, Victor and kids LOVE them. It’s the perfect low calorie, high flavor snack to get everyone home happy.
- Protein, granola, or health bar: These bars can be lifesavers or tricksters. Always check calories and ingredients on these. Some of the protein bars are mostly chocolate. The kids love the That’s It bars and fig newtons. Both have whole fruits and are sweet.
- Nuts and seeds
- Fresh fruit
- Smoothie/100% fruit juice: Remember that people often mistake thirst for hunger. When you are running errands or trying to get to a destination, you may think that you want to eat when all you really need to do is rehydrate. A smoothie or a fruit juice is a great way to help both.
- Chip-like snacks: veggie straws, sun chips, pretzels, cracker sandwiches. Make sure you read that right- not chips- “chip-like” snacks. I love to have a crunchy snack, but fresh veggies are not always and options or even what I’m in the mood for. If you take a look at ingredients, calories, and nutritional value before making a decision, you can find some great chip-like snacks. These might not have the highest nutritional value or lowest ingredients, but they are definitely a better option than chips.
Best (and Easiest) Food from Home
The easiest and least expensive way to eat healthy food on the go is to bring your food with you. There’s no prep, no drive time, just open your bag and there it is!
After school on Tuesdays, I have to take Ethan and Sienna directly from school to their pianos lessons. I always bring a healthy grab and go food to keep the kids full during their lesson.
- Fresh Fruit: An orange, apple, banana, or even berries in a container are all easy options for fruit. You want to choose fruit that is easily portable and not too messy. A watermelon would likely be better enjoyed at home.
- Granola or trail mix: You can home make with nuts, seeds, and dried berries or you can easily buy it. This healthy snack to eat even comes in individual bags. Keep a baggie in your purse or car and you always have a filling and easy snack that anyone can enjoy.
- Dried Fruit or fruit leather: It’s is a crowd pleaser at our house. While it is not the lowest calorie food on the list, it fits my definition of healthy since it’s typically just 1 ingredient. Make sure to eat this snack in moderation to avoid unnecessary calorie intake. You can make it at home using an oven or a dehydrator. Just make sure you use ripe fruit with good flavor. I tried to make papaya fruit leather last year and it was a complete disaster, it tasted like paper! If you want to save yourself the time, you can also purchase it.
- Veggies and dip like hummus and peanut butter: This one of my favorite options. First, from my scientific research of walking into a few gas stations, I did not see a lot of or any fresh veggies available. Bringing your own, again makes it easy to eat healthy food on the go by removing other options. Veggies can also satisfy the craving for crunch.
- Sandwiches: Sandwiches is my vague term for whatever, you want to put in between two slices of bread! You can customize a sandwich to your preferences, put it in a reusable sandwich bag to reduce waste, and be on your way with the confidence to eat healthy on the go.
- Salad: If you are comfortable (and will remember) to carry a fork or want to use plastic, salads are a great option. You can make salads ahead of time and carry in a cooler or purchase as some gas stations.
- Burritos: These are so versatile, I love to make these in bulk and freeze them. We like to make our bean, cheese (vegan of course), and chili. Then we heat them up in the toaster oven or microwave and eat them in the car.
When it comes to healthy food on the go, it’s easy to fall into pitfalls of convenience and cravings. With the proper tools, you can be fully prepared with the tools to choose healthy grab and go food or not even having the temptation by bringing healthy snacks with you.
What healthy snacks do you like to bring when you travel? Tell me in the comments.