Reston Hospital Center - June 05, 2019

From fast food on the road to poolside cocktails to multiple dinners out, vacation can take a toll on your diet.

While you might not be able – or want – to cook for yourself while you’re on vacation, you can at least make the trip there and back healthier. Ditching the fast food for nutritious yet delicious snacks by packing your own snacks can be easier than you think.

Travel snacks that don’t require a cooler

For the easiest travel experience, pick these healthy snacks that don’t require a cooler:

  • Whole apples, bananas, pears or mandarin oranges (washed and dried before packing)
  • Preportioned nuts and dried fruit
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Peanut butter on whole-grain crackers or rice cakes
  • Low-sugar protein bars made with unprocessed ingredients

Foods that should be kept cold

If packing a cooler won’t be inconvenient, here are some healthy snacks that should be kept cool. A few can even be turned into meals:

  • Low-fat yogurt and fruit parfaits with granola
  • Apple slices (served with peanut butter)
  • Celery sticks (served with peanut butter and raisins)
  • Hummus with cut up veggies (served with pita bread)
  • Premade whole-wheat veggie wraps with cheese
  • Black bean and corn salsa (served with tortilla or pita chips)
  • Premade salad with boiled eggs and low-calorie dressing
  • Low-fat string cheese (served with whole-grain crackers and an apple or pear)
  • Premade deli turkey breast sandwiches (served on whole-grain bread)
  • Preportioned cheese, nut and dried fruit snack packs
  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • Premade smoothies

Be sure to pack your cooler with plenty of ice to keep bacteria from growing. A safe temperature is 40 degrees or colder.

Traveling by air?

If you’re traveling by plane, the following foods are OK to bring through a security screening:

  • Solid cheese
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruits
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (if traveling within the continental U.S.)
  • Hummus (less than 3.4 ounces per 100 milliliters)
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter (less than 3.4 ounces per 100 milliliters)
  • Salad dressing (less than 3.4 ounces per 100 milliliters)
  • Salsa (less than 3.4 ounces per 100 milliliters)
  • Sandwiches
  • Yogurt (less than 3.4 ounces per 100 milliliters)

Because the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) only allows less than 3.4 ounces per 100 milliliters of bottled water, think about packing an empty water bottle and filling it up after you get to your airline gate. Visit tsa.gov for more food and beverage rules.

Are you at a healthy weight? Complete our free online assessment to find out.