I’m in a season of much travel, but I'm trying to eat well while bouncing around airports and sitting through long car trips. Fortunately some of the most refreshing, portable, and long-lasting food is also the healthiest: fruits and vegetables, the original travel snacks!
Here are my five favorite fruits and vegetables for eating on the go. Skip the fast food, and don’t worry about TSA; these are good for cars and planes alike.
I have a few requirements for fruit and vegetable snacks for travel. They should be tasty on their own and not just a vessel for hummus or peanut butter. They shouldn’t smell strongly (no bananas on the airplane, thank you very much) or too loud (inflicting baby carrots on my fellow passengers just doesn't seem right).
Good fruit snacks shouldn’t require cutting, as I don’t want to carry a knife, and from a food safety perspective, cut-up fruit and vegetables can, surprisingly, be a serious harbor of not-delightful bacteria. A good snack should not generate a lot of waste (love cherries, but those pits do pile up). And last but not least, they should do fine when unrefrigerated for a day or two.
These five fit the bill — all self-contained within peels or skins, refreshing, and not too messy.
- Clementines - I like to carry clementines or mandarin oranges on long plane flights; they’re like a spa moment in a peel! I put them in a container so they don’t get smashed, and then open for a spritz of citrus sweetness when feeling particularly dehydrated.
- Sugar Snap Peas - These were a discovery on a recent car trip, when my husband and I mowed through a bag of sugar snap peas. They are satisfying and refreshing, with a little bit of sweetness, and they’ll do fine knocking around in a backpack for hours. (And of course, if you can indeed sneak in a little bit of hummus, they’re good with a dip too!)
- Blueberries - Blueberries are a fragile fruit, but I love how self-contained they are. A little box of these in my purse is a great snack for a day trip. They do great at room temperature and their tiny size means no juicy splatters.
- Cherry Tomatoes - Like blueberries, cherry tomatoes need to be protected in a box, but they are a splash of freshness and marvelous taste on a long flight.
- Miniature Bell Peppers - My most recent travel snack! I love these little bell peppers that have started popping up in the grocery store (I originally found them at Costco). The seeds inside are small enough that they just disappear into the bright crunch. Also good with dip, but not necessary!
One major caveat to these suggestions: If you’re traveling back to the United States from abroad, you probably won’t be able to bring fruits and vegetables through customs with you. You can certainly enjoy them on the long flight but don’t plan on bringing them through the border. And this doesn't just go for the US; many countries prohibit the entry of fresh produce.
So eat your veggies; they're so much better than that airplane pizza!
(Image credits: Faith Durand)