17 Dietitian-Approved Healthy Travel Snacks to Pack on Your Next Trip

Pack these dietitian-approved, healthy travel snacks on your next trip. Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, these are some of the most nutritious, filling, and tasty snack options to bring with you.

Never, and I mean never, travel without healthy snacks – that’s my motto. Snack options on the road or in flight can be unpredictable and aren’t usually the most nutritious. So, when “hanger” strikes mid-road trip or plane ride I like to be armed with some nutritious and filling, healthy travel snack options. Planning for and packing nutritious snacks is also proven to reduce hanger-induced fights with your travel companion. 😉

Why pack healthy travel snacks?

Picture this: you’re two hours into your road trip, your stomach is making more noise than the radio, and you have zero snacks in the car. What happens next? You find the next gas station, buy any and all snacks in sight, and devour them in ten seconds flat.

What happens after that? Thirty minutes to an hour later you’re craving more snacks! Why? When you wait for hunger levels to skyrocket and find yourself in the snack aisles of a gas station, you’re more likely to choose the Cheetos and Oreos over one of the few nutritious options.

Although tasty, these refined, fiber-less and sugar-rich snacks send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster. You might get a quick boost of energy, which is inevitably followed by a steep crash in blood sugar levels, leaving you tired, moody, and craving more junk food.

That’s why planning for and packing some healthy travel snack options is a gamechanger when travelling! It’ll help you make more nutritious and less impulsive choices when you’re in a pinch.

What to look for in a healthy travel snack

You’re on board, you’re ready to plan some healthy travel snacks for your upcoming trip, but you have no clue what to buy. What makes for a healthy travel snack?

First, I typically avoid using packaging claims like “organic”, “natural”, or “non-GMO” to guide my snack choices. There’s a health-halo surrounding these claims – we assume they must mean the product is a healthy choice, when in reality, the claims have little to nothing to do with the nutritional value of a food.

Instead, I use a food product’s built-in cheat sheet, the nutrition label (when it applies)! I look for 4 things:

  • Calories: Ideally you want a snack that’s around 150 to 250 calories. This is one of the few times I use calorie counts as a dietitian and that’s because I do feel it serves as a good measure of portion control here. If it happens to be slightly under or over, no biggie. Use this as a general guideline.
  • Fiber: Fiber is my favorite f-word! It helps fill you up without filling you out, and helps keep blood sugar levels stable so you’re not hungry every 30 minutes of travel. I look for at least a few grams of fiber OR at least a 10:1 ratio of total carbs to fiber. For example, if something has 20 grams total carbs, at least 2 of those grams should be coming from fiber.
  • Protein: Fiber and protein are a powerful, satiating and hunger-squashing duo. Look for at least 5 to 10 grams. If there’s more, great!
  • Added sugar: Added sugars are the sugars added to foods and beverages during the manufacturing process. They are different from natural sugars – those found naturally in foods like fruits. The new nutrition label requires manufacturers to call out grams of added sugar, and most brands have adopted this new label by now. The closer to zero here the better, but ideally try to keep added sugar to no more than 5 grams.

In general, aim for a combo of protein and fiber in your healthy travel snacks – whether the snack item inherently has both (like roasted chickpea snacks) or you have to piece together more than one food to get both (like a banana with almond butter). 

Best Dietitian-Approved Healthy Travel Snacks

Keeping the guidelines above, plus convenience and portability in mind, here are my top X favorite healthy travel snacks.

Fruit

First, let’s start with an easy one, fruit! I typically recommend fresh fruit when possible but understand eating some fresh fruits can get messy. If traveling with fresh fruit isn’t your thing, try unsweetened dried fruit instead.  It’s much easier to find unsweetened varieties than it used to be. You can find unsweetened dried fruits at many grocery store chains, like Trader Joe’s and even these tasty Good & Gather Unsweetened Dried Apple Rings from Target.

Even though fruit is rich in filling fiber and you can certainly eat it on its own, I always recommend adding some protein to it. Adding protein can help satiate you even more and can help slow digestion and buffer blood sugar spikes.

What are some good proteins to pair fruit with? See the next 6 snack choices listed!

Nuts

Nuts are full of protein and fiber on their own but can also add a protein boost when paired with carb sources like fruit. Almonds and cashews make for great snacking options, but my personal favorite snack nut is pistachios. One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts – that’s a lot of nuts!

I recommend buying them in shell because taking the time to open each nut serves as a mindful eating technique and helps you slow down your snacking. I love these salt and pepper seasoned Wonderful Pistachios.

Nut Butter Packets

I repeat, nuts are a good source of protein and fiber, so this still holds true of them when blended into nut butter form. Just be sure to lookout for added sugar on the nutrition label. You can bring a whole jar with you or look for the individual nut butter packets which are very convenient for travel.

My favorite nut butter is the RXBAR Vanilla Almond Butter. It’s got an extra boost of protein from egg whites and it’s lightly sweetened naturally from the natural sugars in dates.

String Cheese

Is it string cheese or cheese sticks? Whatever you call them, they’re cheese in one of its most portable forms! Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium – a mineral that’s often lacking in the average American diet.

You can enjoy this protein-rich snack on its own, but if you need a little energy boost (hello, carbs), this is a good one to pair with some fruit!

Whisps Cheese Crisps

Cheese in portable form part 2. These cheese crisps are a newcomer to the cheese market. They’re essentially baked cheese that’s turned hard and crunchy. Whisps have at least 10 grams of protein per serving and are made from one ingredient: cheese!

 

You can enjoy this protein-rich snack on its own, but if you need a little energy boost (hello, carbs), this is another good one to pair with some fruit!

Hard-Boiled Eggs

So many great things to say about the incredible egg. Eggs are another excellent, yet smelly protein source. Just be sure to warn your travel companion about the smell before eating one! One egg has a whopping 7 grams of protein. Travel tip: peel the eggs before you pack them.

If you’re feeling fancy or simply bored of plain hard-boiled eggs, try these Peckish eggs. They’re convenient and portable pre-hard-boiled eggs served with delicious and crunchy seasonings!

You can enjoy this protein-rich snack on its own, but if you need a little energy boost (hello, carbs), this is another good one to pair with some fruit!

Jerky

To be honest, I don’t really like the taste or texture of jerky. But if YOU do, it can make for an excellent healthy travel snack option. Jerky is usually just protein and some fat, but be sure to check the nutrition label for added sugars. Many jerky brands add sugar to their jerky to improve flavor and increase the weight of the final product (sugar costs less than meat by weight). Chomps sticks are not only free of added sugar, but also keto, paleo, and Whole30-approved. They’re also portable and very convenient to travel with.

You can enjoy this protein-rich snack on its own, but if you need a little energy boost (hello, carbs), this is another good one to pair with some fruit!

Roasted Chickpea Snacks

Chickpeas are my go-to snack ingredient because of their impressive nutritional profile – a serving of cooked chickpeas (1/2 cup) has around 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. The protein and fiber combo helps fill you up, keep blood sugar levels stable, and satiate you until you get to your destination (or until your next meal).

You can now find chickpeas in conveniently pre-roasted and seasoned snack form at most grocery stores. Look for brands like The Good Bean, Biena, Saffron Road, and more. 

Hummus & Dippers

Speaking of chickpeas, did I mention they make for a very versatile snack option. When blended with a handful of other ingredients, they turn into beloved hummus. You can either portion out a big tub of hummus into small meal prep containers (like the salad dressing sized ones), or buy the single-serve ones for travel, and serve with one of the next two snack options listed (Simple Mills Crackers and Beet Chips).

It wouldn’t hurt to throw in some sliced veggies or baby carrots as dippers if you can, too. But I realize they aren’t always convenient for travel.

Simple Mills Crackers

These crackers are crackers minus the “ers”. Seriously, they taste almost too good to be true. They’re one of the few cracker brands out there without added sugars, plus they’re grain-free and gluten-free, making them paleo-friendly. One serving of their sprouted seed crackers has 3 grams fiber and 3 grams protein. 

Beet Chips

If you love beets, it’s safe to say you’ll love them even more in chip form. Beets are surprisingly rich in protein and fiber – one serving of these Bare Beet Chips has 4 grams protein and a whopping 8 grams fiber. Plus, they’re made from just two simple ingredients: beets and sea salt.

You can also find Just Beets chips at Trader Joe’s, which, as the name implies, are made from just beets. 

Freeze-Dried or Roasted Edamame Snacks

Edamame are a type of soybean. Much like other legumes, edamame are rich in both protein and fiber, and are one of the most protein-rich among the legumes. Plus, they’re lower in total carbs compared to other legumes, like beans and chickpeas, making them the perfect snack for anyone following a lower-carb diet.

You can find roasted and seasoned shelled edamame snacks, or these new Good & Gather freeze-dried and salted edamame at Target! One half-cup serving has 12 grams protein and 4 grams fiber for just 130 calories.

DIY Snack Mix

Store-bought snack mixes, trail mixes, and granola can be loaded with added sugar and lacking filling fiber. That’s why I recommend making your own simple, easy, and filling snack mix! Start with a base of some pre-popped and lightly-seasoned popcorn, which has a little protein and fiber and provides a lot of volume for little calories. Next, add some freeze-dried fruit (Target, Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s have great selections) and nuts of your choice for an extra protein and fiber boost.

Then, get creative! Add spices, like cinnamon, for more flavor and maybe even a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips or Lily’s stevia-sweetened baking chips. 

HIPPEAS

These crunchy, cheese curl-like snacks are gluten-free, vegan, and made from plant-based proteins like chickpea and brown rice flours. They’re so tasty and come in a variety of delicious flavors like vegan white cheddar, bohemian barbecue, and nacho vibes. Even though they’re flavored, they only have one gram of added sugar per serving. 

Single-Serve Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is the new Greek yogurt. Although it may not be ideal for all modes of travel, if you’ve got a cooler packed for a road trip you can easily slide a few of these single-serve containers in there. Cottage cheese is packed with nutrients, including B-complex vitamins, like vitamin B12, and calcium. It’s an excellent source of protein, with 1 cup of small curd cottage cheese containing nearly 25 grams of protein.

I recommend topping a plain one with a handful of berries (for some fiber). But if you can’t handle plain, Good Culture has a few flavored varieties that don’t have too much added sugar. 

Birch Benders Microwaveable Cups

Birch Benders’ Cups have protein and fiber, zero grams added sugar, are low in net carbs, and are grain- and gluten-free, making them paleo- and keto-friendly! Obviously, you need a microwave to make these, so they may be more of a snack you bring with you to keep at your hotel (although some gas stations and 7-Elevens have microwaves you can use). All you have to do is add water, microwave for 60 seconds, and voila!

They come in seven delicious varieties, but the brownie is my personal favorite. 

Protein & Snack Bars

Protein and snack bars are probably the most convenient, portable, and dependable travel snack out there, but buyer beware. Some bars can be high in added sugar and low in fiber. Here are my travel favorites:

Pressed Fruit Bars

These bars are essentially fruit that’s been dried and pressed into a bar shape. Like fruit, they’re rich in fiber, but lack protein. So, it’s a good idea to pair with one of the proteins listed earlier (i.e. string cheese, nuts, etc.). Look for brands like That’s It bars, KIND whole fruit bars, and Trader Joe’s fruit bars.

RXBAR

RXBARs are my personal favorite! They are also made up of fruit (dates in this case), but have added protein in the form of nuts and egg whites. 

Health Warrior

These Health Warrior chia bars are more like a mini snack (they’re only 100 calorie each). They’re perfect for when you just need a little something to hold you over. 

KIND

These original KIND nut bars have come a long way since they first entered the market. They’re relatively low in added sugar and are a good source of protein and fiber. Plus they’re straight tasty. 

Let me know what YOUR favorite travel snack is in the comments section below!

Comments

  1. Marissa

    YESS!! Haven’t tried Birch benders microwaveable cups, but I buy and eat all of the other snacks all the time. THESE SNACKS REALLY ARE THE BEST.

    1. Charlotte Martin

      They have some of the BEST products don’t they?! Definitely try the brownie microwaveable cup if you can, it’s so tasty 🙂

  2. Amanda @ Healthy Motivated Life

    LOVE this list! Whisps, nuts and dried fruits are all go-tos when I travel. I haven’t tried the Simple Mills crackers before, so I’m interested to try them out, thank you!

    1. Charlotte Martin

      Hi Amanda! Glad you found the list helpful 🙂 Whisps are my FAVORITE! So addicting! Definitely get your hands on some Simple Mills crackers they are soooo good you won’t regret it

  3. Bevan Dinis

    This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing these, I am a big snack person. One of my go-to snacks is the Enlightened Bada Bean Bada Boom snack size packs!

    1. Charlotte Martin

      Hi Bevan! I still have yet to try those! You just reminded me that I need to go snag some 🙂 Thank you!

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