Healthy snacks while on the road

Eating healthily while you're travelling can be challenging. But here are some tips to help.

Travelling with children can be testing at the best of times. And finding healthy, filling food can add to the stress. Here are some tips to help (inside tip: make sure you call them "Healthy Harold's suggestions").

Sitting down for long periods of time in the car or on a plane means you use less energy than normal, and you are at risk of ‘boredom’ eating (non – hungry eating). In addition, "usually, snacks available at road-side stops or on board flights are not ideal nutritionally," says Natasha Murray, Spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

Instead she suggests packing your own food and snacks for the journey. "Then you know exactly what you have and you won’t be reaching for food that will leave you feeling tired in the long run."

Pack a road-side picnic

Murray recommends preparing various foods to snack on while on the road. "Keep a variety of snacks within easy access, so children can choose what they would like when they are hungry," she says.

  • Whole or sliced fresh fruit.
  • Add diced, sliced, grated, frozen fruit or vegetables to wholegrain-based batter to make pikelets or muffins.
  • Pre-slice some tomato, cheese and cucumber. Pack into containers to make sandwiches on the go with small tins of tuna or salmon in springwater .
  • Rice or water crackers or plain air-popped popcorn.
  • Cut raw vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Pack a homemade dip such as hummus or tzatziki.
  • Small cans of ‘no added salt’ bean salad mix or corn.
  • Small handful of unsalted nuts for older children and adults.
  • Frozen yoghurt – and it also helps to keep other food cool in a freezer bag.
  • Plenty of water.
  • muffins and berries.

Prepare your own in-flight meal

In-flight meals are often high in energy (kilojoules or calories) and unhealthy fat, and offer little in the way of nutrition. And many flights no longer offer complimentary meals, so purchasing foods in-flight can be expensive. Instead, bring your own as part of your carry-on luggage - "pack foods that are easy to get to and open in a small space," advises Murray.

For example:

  • Whole or sliced fresh fruit
  • Rice crackers, water crackers, pretzels, air popped popcorn
  • Your own water bottle (remember to fill it up after the security check)
  • Pre-made sandwiches.

Keeping healthy snacks nearby and available means that you'll start your journey with a healthy attitude, and you may be more likely to continue on being so throughout your travels.

Be aware that within Australia, a number of States do not allow you to take fresh fruit and vegetables across borders. Also note that international flights have restrictions on bringing liquid food items (such as water).

At Life Education our All Systems Go module helps children to understand how their body works, so that they can make informed, positive decisions when it comes to their health and wellbeing.