Healthy Snacks and Meals To Pack When Traveling

The past 18 months I have flown more than all my other years combined.  Traveling can be a stressful and tough time to make healthy choices.  But when I hear people saying the can’t eat healthy when traveling, or use the excuse that it is impossible to make healthy choices, it really gets me upset.  These are just excuses to help make us feel better.  I had a bootcamper recently tell me she was having trouble eating healthy because she lives alone and doesn’t cook.  Again, that is just another excuse to help justify a current behavior.  Sure things might not be ideal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the right choice with a little planning.  Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser, has probably logged close to a million frequent flier miles since the start of Biggest Loser, but I have heard many interviews with her explaining that she refuses to eat any processed food and packs all natural all organic snacks and meals.  It shows in the way her body still looks despite the fact she says sometimes she goes weeks without working out.

Ok, I will get off my soap box now…

I am writing this from UC Irvine, just got done with a great workout with my friend Andrew and we are headed to the Huntington beach.  Yesterday I had 10 hours of travel with a 4.5 hour layover.  I wanted to show you how I am able to make healthy choices when traveling.

I have to give a shout out to my girl friend Abby who made these snacks for me to take.

What are some of your strategies you use when traveling and trying to eat healthy?


  1. Mariyam Mirza says:

    Dustin, you will eat *all that food* on the flight from Madison to CA??? No wonder it is so easy for you to stay fit. Just kidding 🙂

    I have a couple of strategies for really long-haul flights (30-40 hrs door-to-door).

    (1) My mom makes me egg & veggie scrambler sandwiches (no cheese). These last for 30-40 hours even w/o a cooler, through long layovers during peak summer months in some of the hottest places on earth, such as Dubai. You probably want to use regular whole grain bread instead of sprouted, thought, because that might not last.

    (2) Water, water, water! Bring an empty bottle, fill it up, keep it with you, and sip all the way. Drink nothing else, and certainly nothing with alcohol or caffeine no matter how tempting the beverage cart is.

    (3) Carry throat lozenges. This sounds odd, but huge temperature changes and dehydration due to air conditioning blasting in an airplane can do a real number on the strongest of throats, and you want to be able to breathe w/o coughing your lungs out after a 40 hours journey.

    (4) Dress in (or have in your carry-on) layers, with the innermost layer being very light and having very short sleeves. This way, you won’t faint in a plane due to heat exhaustion and then face the choice between keeping your long-sleeved tshirt on or stripping down to your bra like I once did.

  2. Hi Dustin, great tips! Just one note of caution – your individual servings of yogurt remind me of an incident I had while flying recently. I had packed a few healthy snacks for the flight, including several packages of travel-size individually wrapped and sealed applesauces (similar to your yogurt containers). Despite the fact that they were small and sealed, they were each an ounce or two over the “fluid” limit, so the manager in security insisted on testing each of them for bomb residue. To my suprise, the packages FAILED the test and I was forced to throw away all of the servings, leaving me seriously unprepared for a long flight with two small kids! (In retrospect I should have pulled out our spoons and had my kids eat them right there in the security line, but I wasn’t thinking that quickly at the time!) Stop Pinching Your Sister!

  3. I don’t like to bring crunchy things on the plane, so I don’t bother my seatmates. I typically bring dried fruit, kashi granola bars or other organic granola/protein bars and sandwiches.

  4. Heather says:

    Thanks for posting this information, Dustin! We’ll be going on a couple of cross-country air travel trips this July, so your suggestions will definitely come in handy.

  5. Lisa Bell says:

    Hi Dustin,

    I travel very often with my work…and pack meals very similar to yours, although always carry frsh grilled chicken, and small cans of tuna. I do have a question…did you fly out of Madison? If so…its interesting that you got through security with Chobani…I had it taken from me twice!!!!!

    • Lisa,

      Yeah I did fly through Madison… Strange that you would have had that taken away… I would have been very sad if that happen 🙁 Did you have the small containers? I wonder if they don’t like the bigger containers.


  6. Jessica B. says:

    Hope you’re enjoying your trip Dustin.

    My boyfriend and I often bring beef jerky with us to all day rugby tournaments. Typically, because we have been running a lot all day, we don’t mind the sodium in the jerky since we lost some while sweating. But for travel, etc., what do you think about all the sodium in the jerky? Some of the servings are nearly half your daily intake.

    We’ve been keeping an eye out for healthier versions, more natural, with less sodium as well. I’ll pass it on if I find any.

  7. Vanessa says:

    The lunch my kids and I packed and ate at Vilas Zoo today:

    peeled, hardboiled eggs
    Ry-vita crackers
    string cheese (to eat atop crackers)
    sugar snap peas
    100% juice boxes with no sugar added.

    We also like to eat regularly for snacks:

    raw almonds and dried cranberries (sweetened only with apple juice…you can find these in bulk at Whole Foods)

    Ry-vita crackers with mashed avocado on top (I like a little salsa added to the mash)

    Ezekial bread toasted and topped with one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

    natural peanut butter with an apple or banana

    chilled raw fresh green beans (delicious and the best beach snack ever…I will even sneak them in at the movies)

    Sorry, just realized not all of these would work on a plane. But to the Bootcamper that lives alone and doesn’t cook…here are some ideas.

  8. Great tips and all foods I like….All I can say is you are freezing out here in California! 65 at the beach is not a warm sunny day. Even inland it is cold. Bundle up and have fun in the sand!

  9. Dustin-travel safely and have a great time with the mentors.

  10. I am surprised that you eat so much junk. I would suggest that you eat granola, fruit, vegetables, nut, seaweed sandwitches, Calif. rolls, yogurt without sugar. Have fun in the sand. Shalom, Esther

  11. By the way,if you take ginger pills from the health store, it will help you with motion sickness and indigestion. Have fun, happy trails to you. Esther in Santa Monica

  12. Thanks for the tips on food for travel. We got back today from a trip to St-Louis and most of what I packed for our on-the-road meals were very similar to your food 🙂 .

    I lived and worked on the UCI campus for 5 years. There was so much construction on campus all the time that we began calling the campus Under Construction Indefinitely (UCI). the construction on the UW-Madison reminds me of UCI in the mid 80s-early 90s. Safe travels in Southern Cal, Dustin.

  13. Loved your tips for traveling. I work for Organic Valley and our meat division, Organic Prairie, has a line of organic beef jerky. No nitrates. We are located near La Crosse, WI. Check out our website, and

  14. I’ve also had applesauce and yogurt taken away by security for them being “liquids” and they were smaller than your greek yogurts.

    Your snacks look great but to be honest, with 2 kids and all the stuff you have to bring along when you travel with them (2 strollers, 2 car seats, their diapers, etc) I could never travel with a cooler with all that food – it would be 1 more thing to carry that is very heavy and literally I have no arms for another thing. I bet a lot of moms are in that position.

    I do bring maybe 2 apples and a bad of plain almonds but I’ve found that there are healthy things at the airport if you look for them. You can find apples and bananas at pretty much any airport. You can also get a turkey sandwich on wheat bread with tomato, lettuce, even cucumbers and tell them NO Mayo and only 1 slice of cheese (versus their 3-4 slices).

    There is usually a salad place and you just have to be careful about all the fatty toppings and only get veggies and no dressing.

    Again, maybe not ideal but you have to weigh (pun intended) the number of stuff and carry-ons you have to bring. Also things get smooshed when you have kids jumping all over the place on your bags!

    Just a dose of reality for the kidless 😉

  15. When I travel be it by plane or vehicle I always pack like bottle water (not on the plane) some apples, oranges, bananas, and some nuts. I also carry my blender cup with me and a bag of my favorite protein drink so that way I can have it with either milk or water. In my goodie bag I call it I will also carry a bag of Kashi cereal to nibble on too or I will have some cheese sticks or slices with crackers that I keep in the cooler with our beverages. Ritz offers a cracker and cheese sandwiches that are really good too.

    If I have to stop and eat I stop at Subway or if it is a restaurant than I look at the list for salads or if they offer healthy choices (like low carb or weight watchers menu).

    When I travel by plane and they offer refreshments I will take the water and nuts or I will have my fruit that I packed.

    I forgot to mention that when we stay with family, friends or a hotel I will bring my cereal with me unless if they offer something like eggs, toast, fruit then I will have that. Some Hotels offer a Continental Breakfast which they do at times have healthy things like yogurt, eggs (scramble or hard boiled), english muffins, and cereal.

    So this is some of the things that I take when I travel. My husband thinks I’m nuts for packing all the stuff that I do but I can’t see eating all that junk food they offer out there.


  1. […] The past 18 months I have flown more than all my other years combined. Traveling can be a stressful and tough time to make healthy choices. But when I hear. … Read more: Healthy Snacks and Meals To Pack When Traveling | Dustin Maher Fitness […]

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