Foods to take when you travel

Traveling this summer? When it comes to food, I suggest you be prepared! 

My dear friend and her husband came to visit us in California last month. She was 26 weeks pregnant and traveling from the east coast, a LONG travel day. She had planned ahead and ordered a special meal for the plane… which turned out to be disgusting, virtually inedible. Oh, dear! She asked the flight attendant if she could rustle her up a cheese plate. To which the attendant flatly said, no. We don’t have any extras. My friend said, I’m a pregnant woman! Get me a cheese plate!!!  You do not want to mess with a hungry pregnant woman!!!!  Startled, the flight attendant rummaged through the food cabinet, and wouldn’t you know, she found one. 

You never want to be in that position when you travel. 

I have a couple of travel tricks to share.

  • Stay hydrated. It’s the most important thing. I don’t make a move without my favorite thermos and my favorite teas in a ziplock bag in my purse.
  • Always carry nuts. Even if you are not going out of town, always have almonds or your favorite nut mix in a small container in your bag — plus your favorite fruit and nut bars for variety (mine are Larabars). I always carry a small vial of sea salt, but that’s because I’m a total flavor snob, not strictly for survival :)
  • Don’t forget the dark chocolate or chocolate nibs. Fun is important! These make any flight more delightful. (Obviously not for a hot road trip.)
  • Include mini-packets of almond butter or tapenade and rice crackers, or hummus and carrots, for the creamy/crunchy factor. Nourishment + entertainment. A cloth napkin is a thoughtful addition to your travel kit, for just such snacks.
  • Go with a classic! A crisp apple is refreshing. 
  • Add a small salad in a jar or wrap for extra long flights. Vegetables are both nourishing and hydrating. You’ll be amazed how these can perk you up!

Recipes for travelers

If you have a little extra time, and you REALLY want to enjoy your trip food-wise, here’s a little list of favorite, sturdy, sure-to-please recipes to make ahead and carry along. Talk about prepared! Talk about delicious!

The whole idea of Anytime Bars is right in the name; you never know when hunger is going to strike, and you want to be ready to nourish yourself. The great thing about this recipe is that you can change the ingredients to fit your taste preferences. You can even split the batter and make half with currant and cranberries and the other half with walnuts or whatever you’d like. These bars come together very quickly with the food processor, and are wonderful for travel or portable meals for all occasions.

This is so good, it might leave you speechless. I mean, what’s not to love? Almonds, pecans, walnuts, dark chocolate chips, dark cherry, coconut . . . are you dizzy yet? I’m not trying to brag, but when we gave a friend of ours some of this granola, he took one bite and asked, “Will it travel?” When we said “Yes,” he said, “Good . . . I’m taking it to Honduras with me!” We put some into a jar on the top shelf of my kitchen to see how long it would hold up. We got to a week before we devoured it all. And believe me, that was after employing a lot of willpower.

This is pure aromatherapy. There’s nothing like the smell of baking apple pie to raise the spirits, so in this recipe I pulled together the spices that make apple pie special and gave them a new home — walnuts. With all their nooks and crannies, walnuts catch all the spices, especially after they’re coated with a little olive oil and maple syrup (just writing this is making me practically salivate). Walnuts happen to be loaded with the omega-3 known as alpha-linolenic acid, which in animal studies exerted an antidepressant effect. Tossing them with plump raisins is the kicker.

This one reminded me of how Edison must’ve felt inventing the lightbulb: it took a lot of tries, but once I hit on the right formula, shazam! I knew we had a winner when I walked into my husband’s office, brittle in hand. He was so deep in thought at his computer screen that he didn’t even see me. I just said, “Gregg . . . open mouth.” In went the brittle, his eyes still glued to the screen. “Gregg . . . close mouth. Chew.” I was halfway down the hall when I finally heard his voice echo off the walls: “This is REALLY good!” 

Another great travel food, these wraps are a quick, healthy pick-me-up, perfect for a slightly longer flight. When people ask me “Why curried hummus?” I always answer “Why not?” Flavor, my friends. The pinwheel turns this into a simple finger food, easy to prep, grab, and go. And if you’re wondering why I added mango, just take a bite. And another. And another…