It was 2012, and my then 82-year-old dad and I were just a few days into our first traveling adventure together, traipsing around India. We were perfect travel companions, exploring Old Delhi by foot as he took thousands of photos and I took pages and pages of notes. We were on assignment for a story about India, and we were having a blast.
Until we weren't. Suddenly, he was talking to me in that harsh, scolding way he did when I was a teen caught in an act of defiance. He was impatient and clearly annoyed at me — and I had no idea what I had done. I tried to ask him, but he cut me off. We stopped for a late lunch, and after he admonished the waiter for not understanding him, we ate in relative silence, leaving me to wonder, What had I done?
Toward the end of the meal, Dad started talking about where else we would go that day. He showed me some of the shots he'd gotten that he thought might be worthwhile. He called me by his pet name for me, and jovially asked me if I was ready to go adventure some more.
Dad had eaten, and he was feeling much, much better.
How Anti-Persnickety Snacks Helped My Dad (& Me)
The next day before we set off, I pulled out the dried fruit and mixed nuts I'd crammed into my suitcase before we left. My father is a very fussy, very limited eater with a sensitive gut, and I had wanted to be sure that he would have sustenance in India.
Now, they would help me, too.
I transferred several ounces to a sandwich-sized plastic bag (I always throw a few in my suitcase), pushed out the air, and rolled it into a tube, which I stuck in my camera pack.
Around 2 p.m., when Dad started getting persnickety, I handed him the bag and he grunted a thank you. Twenty minutes later, his gray pallor gone, Dad was ducking into temples, engaging with street vendors, and suggesting we try to get to the Navratri festival at the other end of the city by sundown. Thanks to the "Anti-Persnickety Snacks," we did.
We've had other adventures since India — and my father has traveled extensively throughout the world without me, often for weeks at a time. And each time before he leaves, I make him a daily supply of Anti-Persnickety Snacks.
I fill sandwich-size plastic bags with the mixture, roll it into a tube, and seal it with a piece of masking tape. The tubes get stuffed in shoes, toiletry kits, and any empty spaces between clothing. Their shape and size make them easy to pack, and their nutrient density allows my dad to cram even more into every day — and the world to experience him as the lively, charming man he is.
My "Recipe" for Anti-Persnickety Snacks
Makes 48 to 50 snack packs
Distribute the mix: Place enough of the mixture in each of the zip-top bags so that when you push it down to the bottom of the bag, you have about two inches of mix.
Seal the bags: With the top of the bag unsealed, push out as much air as you can, pushing the fruit and nut mixture into a compact log at the bottom of the bag. Roll the log tightly toward to top of the bag, then seal the zip top on the bag and secure with a short piece of masking tape at each end.
- Each bag supplies enough protein, calories, and fiber to make two healthy snacks during the day or one light meal replacement.
Do you have a favorite travel snack that you never leave home without?