The Fit Brunette Travels: Snack Bag Essentials
This time tomorrow I'll be on a flight to sunny California for the COLLEGE EMMY AWARDS! I can't wait to see the Show Me Chefs crew & celebrate our nomination for unscripted series. Hosting this show was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much and gained such valuable experience in the industry I hope to pursue a career in. You can watch the entire Season 2 HERE.
After a visit to Bare Med Spa this afternoon to get a bronzed glow all I have left to do is... PACK. And let me tell you - at least one whole bag will be dedicated to food. Let's face it: airport food isn't always the healthiest and when you are on the go you never know if you will have access to the food you are used to eating. When I am traveling, I always pack all of my breakfasts and at least two snacks for every day that I will be away. The way I see it, balance is important and eating out while you are on vacation is OKAY as long as you are mindful of what you are putting in your body and still making a conscious effort to make healthy choices. When I go out to eat at a restaurant, I like to look ahead at the menu to sift through the nutrition facts and ingredients for the meals I think I may want to order. Some quick tips for making healthy choices at restaurants:
1. Always check the nutrition facts - sometimes you may THINK you are ordering a healthy option when it has a secret sauce or dressing that adds loads of calories, sugar, and fat.
2. If you order a salad, ask for the dressing on the side. Most restaurants use around HALF A CUP of dressing on their salads (the serving size is usually two tablespoons).
3. Check out the "light" menu. A lot of times, healthy variations of your favorite dish will be offered here.
4. Pass on the buy one get one half off apps (like mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, and artichoke dip) and start with a salad. Starting with a bowl of fresh veggies will help hold you over until your meal arrives, fill you up, and offer many more health benefits than a platter of fried cheese.
5. Skip the soda and order water. If you are going to a delicious restaurant... why would you want to DRINK empty calories? A typical 16 oz soda can have around 185 calories. To put that in perspective, there are also 185 calories in 4 Oreo cookies.
There are so many SIMPLE ways to enjoy yourself while eating out and still stay on track towards your fitness goals. It is all about being mindful and striving for balance!
But, we all know that snacking on a long road trip or flight is bound to happen. I eat around every 3 hours, so I ALWAYS have a snack with me. I even bought a bigger purse so I could carry more snacks.
I like to be prepared for the times when I get extra "hangry" so I am never left feeling so hungry that I overeat at the next meal. I tend to graze throughout the day and I try to provide my body with a fairly consistent source of fuel.
When you are traveling, it can be tough to bring along certain foods - especially if you are flying. A lot of fruits and vegetables will go bad if they aren't refrigerated, making them difficult to pack too. I like to pack the snacks that I know will not go bad or spill in my bag and buy fresh fruit and veggies to keep in my hotel room when I arrive at my destination. This not only saves the risk of your produce expiring, but it also frees up valuable space in your carry-on.
Let's be real here, I devote an ENTIRE BAG to my food. No shame. I spend the night before I leave to go somewhere prepping my food so that I can just throw it all in a bag the next day and be ready to go. In fact, after I finish writing this, I am going to go pack my snack bag for California! Here are the foods that will be getting a trip to the West Coast:
1. Quest Nutrition Protein Bars
I will probably bring like 30 of these. Okay, so that is an exaggeration, but these bars are NUMBER ONE on my list! They are my go-to snack but they also make a great breakfast. I would tell you what my favorite flavor is right here but I can't even pick one. I would say the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies and Cream, S'mores, Blueberry Muffin, White Chocolate Raspberry, and the Rocky Road round off my list of favorites (see what I mean when I say I can't narrow it down).
These bars also make a great snack or breakfast. What I absolutely LOVE about Health Warrior Bars: the ingredient list. They are made of all natural foods, are 100% paleo, and the macros are killer. My favorites are the Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bar and the Vanilla Almond Chia Bar. You can use "samanthabowers_30" for 30% off on www.healthwarrior.com
3. Almonds or Mixed Nuts
I actually ALWAYS carry a can of dry roasted almonds in my purse (I actually call them my "emergency almonds" - a.k.a. when the HANGER strikes). Almonds are an excellent source of healthy fats and actually curb your appetite, making you feel full and satisfied going in to your next meal.
If you haven't tried these waffle mixes I HIGHLY recommend it - they are actually life changing. I love the Dark Chocolate Chip and Chunky Peanut Butter flavors, but they also have Buttermilk and Whole Grain flavors too. I measure out 1/3 cup of the mix and put it in ziplock bags to take in my snack bag. The mixes are "just add water," so it makes it super easy to prepare in a hotel breakfast room or even a microwave.
Just like with the Kodiak Cakes Mix, I measure out one scoop of UNICO protein powder and put it in a ziplock bag so I have protein with me for my trip without having to take a big canister. I did get stopped by airport security for this once - but long story short, I ended up getting to take it with me (what a relief). You can use "BOWERS20" for 20% off on www.uniconutrition.com.
I absolutely LOVE this stuff. It is similar to PB2, but it has slightly more protein. They make a regular and a chocolate flavor and all you have to do is add water and mix to make a peanut butter like spread. I actually like to mix half PBFit and half real peanut butter and just eat it with a spoon - it tastes like cookie dough!
7. Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
REAL peanut butter! Creamy, crunchy, whatever floats your boat. I consider myself a peanut butter addict, but I just recently tried almond butter and I have to say I love that too. I like to just take a spoonful of either of them and eat it as a snack. Justin's almond butter also comes in little individual packets, which is SUPER convenient for traveling. The healthy fats in these nut butters will help curb your appetite and give you a boost of energy to make it to your next meal.
8. Freeze Dried Fruit
Since fresh fruit does not travel well, I like to pack some freeze dried strawberries and blueberries to have on hand in case I can't find any fresh fruit right away. Freeze dried fruit tends to have less sugar than dried fruit like raisins. My favorite brand is Crunchies and it can be found at Walmart.
My mom is a fan of this one. She LOVES SkinnyPop! I love it too, because the individual snack size bags make packing SO easy. They are already measured out to be around 150 calories per bag, so all you have to do is toss a few in for the road.
10. Your Own Homemade Healthy Treats
Since I just made some Superfood Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars I will definitely be packing those away for the trip. I always love making my own foods because I know exactly what goes in to every recipe and can dodge the added sugars and oils that are more often than not added in to store bought foods.
The possibilities are ENDLESS. The most important thing is to simply be mindful and try to make the healthiest choices you can while traveling. In the end, traveling is supposed to be fun and full of memories, so don't spend your time stressing about food choices! Just do the best that you can and always pick the healthiest option.
Now to go pack my own snack bag and I am off to California! What's on your list of healthy snacks for traveling? Leave a comment below. I want to hear from you!