Travel Snacks

In today’s society, many are impacted by high-pressure environments (self-created, or not, is not the topic here). Chronic stress, as well as competition, can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, resulting in poor performance and outcomes.

This may become obvious in different forms from dysfunctional relationships with food, compulsive obsessive traits, poor sleep, a weak immune system, and/or the frequent tendency of getting sick. The crux of the issue is oftentimes your management and handling of stress. The bottom line: you have to learn to manage it.

Good nutritional practices are an important way to support your stress management.

In this blog, we’ll provide nutrition strategies to prevent stress for the ones that travel frequently. We want you to think outside your box of food rules. Try some of the options listed below:

Make your snack strategy habitual.

Explore the area you are traveling to including grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops to determine anything you might need during your stay. Do you put together your gear/nutrition/hydration for your long training rides the night prior or do it minutes before you leave the house? Many of you plan ahead and prepare in advance. Our point is to have the same approach when you travel. Organize yourself before you go.

When you arrive at your destination, stock up on snacks that are tricky to carry with you such as perishables and breakfast items. This ensures that you don’t have to choose a stale bagel or goopy oatmeal in the hotels’ breakfast “buffet”.

Get to-go groceries.

Get into the habit of shopping for ingredients and items perfect for packing up on the go and keep them on hand (traveling or not). Examples are dried nuts and fruits, seaweed snacks, cheese cubes, and even veggies (and/or fruits) that are easy to slice up when you are on-the-go. Don’t forget honey snacks/stix, almond or nut butter packets, and favorite energy bars. Give yourself several options so whether you are in meetings that take longer than anticipate or you’re in the middle of traveling, your nutrition isn’t derailed.

Load up a lunchbox.

Get yourself a reusable, to-go container to carry with you when you go! Any reusable container will do. Once you know what works for you, fill it with salads, sandwiches, whatever snacks you have on hand. Remember to toss in a spork to enjoy your meal. You might get a look from the person next to you, but who cares. You actually might be an inspiration to others. What’s important is that you take care of yourself, first and foremost.

Stash smart.

Keep little pouches of maple syrup, honey stixs, nut butter packets and even a dark chocolate bar in the pockets of your carry on for whenever hunger hits. These ingredients don’t perish, and they work wonders to doll-up boring airport oatmeal and turning the low blood sugar crashes associated with travel into satisfying and nutritious life-saving moments. Drink water, water, water…ensuring that you don’t dehydrate from long days in transit (and late nights with friend/co-workers upon arrival!).

Keep a snack kit in your suitcase.

Always (for those traveling frequently, do it now) put ziploc bags, a spork or spoon, into your suitcase/carry-on. The ziploc bags will come in handy when you come across worthy snacks on your travels. In addition, you can fill them with leftover salad greens, your favorite breakfast cereal, or even a proper sandwich. You never know when you’ll need a spork and it will empower you to pick up snacks along the way that you might not otherwise choose. Cheese and charcuterie are great snacks that travel well and are easy to enjoy. Likewise, it’s great to be able to spread nut butter on bread, or hack into an apple on the go. Now, you can.

B.Y.O.C – bring your own condiments.

You probably think that those tiny bottles are just for inadequate amounts of shampoo. Be creative and think outside the box.  Pick up a couple of small plastic bottles and fill them with olive oil, lemon juice, or balsamic vinegar… Pack them in your lunchbox to boost the flavor of whatever pre-packed or in-flight purchased snack you have available.

Bring breakfast, your breakfast. 

Your Airport Oatmeal, it is easy but specific. It doesn’t actually require a recipe, but it does involve a little resourcefulness and a few minutes of forethought. Until it turns into a routine, like packing your toiletry bag. Before you leave the house, pull together:

  • a couple snack or quart size Ziploc bags (or have 3 oatmeal packs ready at all times.)

  • quick-cooking rolled oats

  • chia seeds, flax seeds

  • dried fruits

  • your favorite crunchy accouterments like cacao nibs, hemp seeds, almonds or other nuts, etc.

  • flaky sea salt (just a few pinches)a couple of packets of almond/peanut butter

  • a couple of packets of maple syrup or honey sticks

  • a banana (or, you can buy one at any airport kiosk)

In each of the Ziploc baggies, combine about 1/2 cup oats, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a couple of tablespoons of your favorite crunchy toppings. Add a pinch of sea salt and close the bag tight. Pack in your carry-on in a place where you can find it, along with the almond butter and maple packets and the banana if you’re packing one from home. When you get to the airport, find a coffee shop, restaurant or even a First-Class lounge. Then:

  • Ask kindly for two hot cups – one empty, and one filled with hot water. Also, ask for a spoon, unless you brought your spork. On your way out, grab one lid and a couple of napkins.

  • Find yourself a reasonable place to sit and assemble your oatmeal. Pour the contents of one of the oatmeal baggies into the cup and add water just until the oats are plumping. Add maple syrup and nut butter (and/or add cinnamon) to your liking, then top with the lid. You can also have the banana here if you like.

  • Let your oatmeal sit, covered with the lid, for the amount of time it takes you to walk to your gate, check emails, Instagram, FB whatever, and when you remove the lid, your way-better-than-airport-kiosk-oatmeal will be ready to enjoy.

  • Don’t neglect to realize that, if you ask for a cup tray for your water (and probably coffee or tea) from the coffee shop, you can carry your oatmeal fixings all the way to the plane and enjoy making a gawk-worthy bowl of oatmeal right in your seat. Plus, you’ll start to feel right at home, wherever you’re going. Try it. Enjoy it! Be open minded.

Explore the coffee kiosk. 

Regardless of whether you are making Airport Oatmeal (see above), coffee kiosks are treasure troves of snacking tools when you’re traveling. Empty coffee cups hold snacks and liquids to make hot cereal, instant soup, or tea you’ve brought from home and act as bowls for whatever you’ve got in those little ziploc bags you brought. Forgot that spork? You can get those there too. Need milk to toss on a little baggie of cereal you packed? Pick it up at the coffee kiosk. Be attentive, wherever, whenever.

Discover your hotel room. 

Chances are, you have a mini fridge, a microwave, an ice bucket, and maybe even one of those single cup coffee makers in your hotel room. There might be a toaster in the continental breakfast set up. Get yourself to the grocery store and stock your mini fridge with boxed salad greens, fresh fruits, individual servings of hot cereal or soup, and good quality bread. You can mix up a big salad in the ice bucket, use the coffee maker to brew hot water for hot cereal or soup, and you can port sliced bread to the toaster to make lovely sandwiches with avocado, or cheese or whatever you have on hand. Still have those nut butter packets? Your toast just went beyond continental. Need a knife, bottle opener or other kitchen utensil? Don’t be afraid to call the front desk. Any hotel with a continental breakfast (much less a restaurant) will have what you need, and they’ll likely won’t deny your request.

Once you start thinking about how to hack your nutrition on the go, you’ll start to consider about how you can hack your nutrition to buffer against busy days at home too.

Let us know your thoughts.

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