Have you ever traveled to a triathlon, pulled up to a grocery store in your rental car, fresh from the airport and starved for healthy travel food to take back to your hotel room, rented home, condo or apartment?
Text by Ben Greenfield
Have you ever been on a long road trip to a triathlon and needed healthy travel food for real meals to eat on the go? Have you ever wondered if there is a healthy travel food alternative to canned food, jerky and trail mix when you¹re camping on the go? Then this article was designed for you, because these are the top 13 healthy travel food items I grab at a grocery store to make quick
meals while I'm traveling.
These are all perfect energy sources to fuel racing on the road, so print this list and bring it with you on your next triathlon travel trip, and you¹ll feel more energy, perform better, and stay lean! You won¹t need
access to a fancy specialty grocery store, and as a bonus, you can also use any of these tips for your own quick and healthy home meal preparation.
Healthy Travel Food #1: Wraps Wraps are perfect for preparing a quick snack from your hotel room, apartment, or condo, and are usually found near the bread section of the grocery store. The sky is the limit when it comes to choosing what you want to use as a wrap. I prefer gluten-free, sprouted wraps when I can get them. Spinach wraps or whole grain wraps are other popular variety that I use. If you are gluten intolerant, watching your waistline, or limiting carbohydrate, then get very large pieces of romaine
lettuce or cabbage that you can use as a wrap.
Healthy Travel Food #2: Spinach / Mixed Greens During a week of travel, I use spinach and mixed greens for two primary recipes: salads and wraps. The darker greens are richer in iron, although some varieties like bok choy or kale can be a bit chewy and not good in a wrap. This is one ingredient of which I always buy more than I think I might need, because if it¹s around, I'll eat it quite often as a wrap-filler or salad-base, and thus be less likely to overeat on more calorie-dense foods.
Healthy Travel Food #3: Tomatoes Chopped tomatoes can be thrown over a salad, and sliced tomatoes are perfect in a wrap. Because I often find myself on foot or bicycle when visiting the grocery store, I typically choose the small Romaine tomatoes, which travel better and bruise less than the juicy, plump variety.
Healthy Travel Food #4: Avocado - Full of appetite satiating fats and wrapped in a natural protective layer, avocados, like tomatoes, can be chopped and used as salad-topping, or sliced and placed into a wrap. Do not choose overly-soft avocadoes, which also do not travel well, and more quickly rot.
Healthy Travel Food #5: Cucumbers 'Cukes' round out the 'Big Three' for salads and wraps. When included with tomatoes and avocadoes, along with a base of spinach and mixed greens, they add a perfect crunch and texture to the meal.
Healthy Travel Food #6: Cheese If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to skip cheese, or double up on nuts, which can often be used in the same way as cheese. During a week of travel, I use cheese in wraps, melt cheese over an avocado for a quick snack, and top tomatoes with a slice of cheese
and splash of olive oil or salad dressing. My favorite varieties are feta, swiss and mozzerella.
Healthy Travel Food #7: Yogurt Follow the same rules as cheese: if you are lactose intolerant, substitute soy milk, rice milk, almond milk or coconut milk. Fat-freee, plain yogurt is useful as a low-calorie topping for a wrap, good with fruit and nuts for breakfast, and versatile enough to be used with almond butter and dark chocolate for dessert.
Healthy Travel Food #8: Almond Butter Compared to peanut butter, almond butter is higher in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and lower in potentially inflammatory omega 6¹s. For this ingredient, I typically buy less than I think I need, because it is easy to eat too many calories from almond butter. Use with breakfasts and desserts, as mentioned earlier.
Healthy Travel Food #9: Cashews / Walnuts / Almonds I typically mix these with fruit and yogurt for breakfast, toss into a wrap for extra calories and crunch, or grab a handful to satiate the appetite in the afternoon. Go for the unsalted, raw, unroasted option.
Healthy Travel Food #10: Salad Dressing Perfect for salads and wraps, a salad dressing is a smart choice only if you can find a variety with A) an olive oil base; and B) no high fructose corn syrup and added sugars. Look along the top of the salad dressing shelf for the smaller designer varieties, which will more often fit these criteria. In a pinch, just grab a small container of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette instead.
Healthy Travel Food #11: Sweet Potatoes / Yams If my travel involves physical activity, such as cycling, large amounts of walking, or a triathlon, then these tubers form the crux of my carbohydrate intake, since they 'burn clean' and also have high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and beta-carotene. In a pinch, they can be microwaved for 5 minutes, but it is better to boil them for 20 minutes or bake for 40 minutes. Usually, I will salt and eat them plain or serve them with almond butter and honey.
Healthy Travel Food #12: Fruit If I am traveling to a new or unique region, I usually experiment with varieties of fruit that are hard to get at home, in Washington state. For example, in Florida, I might stock up on juicy oranges and grapefruit; in Hawaii, stock up on fresh papaya or pineapple; and in Thailand, grab a handful of dragonfruit. Fruit is perfect for a mid-morning snack, salad topping, or breakfast addition.
Healthy Travel Food #13: Dark Chocolate Chock full of antioxidants and lower in sugars and dairy than milk chocolate, a 70%+ dark chocolate bar is a good nightcap snack after a long day of travel, and is also useful for sweetening oatmeal, breaking chunks into yogurt, or dipping in almond butter. I keep mine in the freezer.
To wrap it up (no pun intended), I very often eat a primary diet of wraps and salads while traveling, supplemented with fruits, nuts, potatoes, yogurt or milk based snacks. You¹d be surprised at how healthy you can eat and how good meals can taste by simply using the 13 healthy travel foods listed
above. If you want just a little extra flavor, grab salt, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon. These four spices can really dress up any of the meals discussed in this article. Finally, if you hadn¹t noticed, any of these
healthy travel foods can be perfect for you to eat in the comfort of your own home too. Bon Appetit!
If you want more recipes, bonus access to Ben Greenfield's "Holistic Fueling For Triathletes" book, or 24-7 nutrition coach access to ask your questions, then you can find all that inside the Rock Star Triathlete Academy, at http://www.rockstartriathleteacademy.com.