Whether you actually look forward to the itty-bitty pretzel bags that airlines hand out (full disclosure: I kinda do), or you plan on ponying up for the boxed sandwich and cookies (yeah, I like those, too), don't hand over the responsibility for refueling your body to your flight attendants. Even under the best circumstances, airline travel is both physically and emotionally stressful and you need to pack easy-to-serve, healthy snacks that'll help your body and mind roll with the inevitable punches.
When I want advice about healthy snacking, I turn to Jackie Newgent (jackienewgent.com), RDN, CDN, culinary nutritionist and author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes. Newgent's first piece of advice is "bring an empty water bottle"—once you get through airport security, you can fill the bottle on your way to your gate and stay healthily hydrated throughout the flight. Newgent's suggestions for ideal airplane snacks include:
Not Nuts! Seed and Fruit Mix—Mountain Mambo flavor. "Consider it a perfect plane-safe snack since it's flavorful, filling, and allergy-friendly. In fact, it's gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, and egg-free!"
KIND Healthy Grains Bar (Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate or Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt). "They're made from all natural ingredients you can see and pronounce and pack more than one full serving of whole grains per bar (amaranth, millet, buckwheat, gluten-free oats, and quinoa)."
Wonderful Pistachio Roasted & Salted Snack Pack. "Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie and higher fiber nuts, making them an excellent snack choice—30 pistachios provide only about 100 calories!"
Creative Snacks Co. Okra Chips or Green Bean Chips. "These are not highly processed chips with veggie flavoring; these are the actual whole veggies in the form of a 100 percent real crunchy snack."
Garden Lites Zucchini Chocolate Veggie MuffinsorKashi Chocolate Soft-Baked Squares. "Garden Lites muffins are made with all-natural ingredients including zucchini and carrot; Kashi squares have whole grains, sweet potatoes, and black beans. Plus, chocolate has some heart health benefits—and a "yum" factor."
Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas—Falafel Flavor. "It's a flavorful way to satisfy the munchies and get a punch of protein—naturally and without GMOs."
CLIF Kid Organic ZFruit Rope—Strawberry Flavor. "It's a tasty fruit snack with a burst of vitamin C that can healthfully give kids (and adults!) a sweet little nosh for energy—with no preservatives or artificial flavors."
TALK TO US! We want to know: What are your favorite airplane snacks?