Traveling Lean ~ Eating Healthy on the Road

With summer coming, many families have vacations and trips planned. Whether you are travelling by car or plane or even train, at some point you will have to feed your family while you are travelling. It is very convenient and easy to feed your family fast foods as you travel, but I want to challenge myself and everyone else to choose healthier options for feeding your family while on the go.

Traveling Foods

For Road Trips:

I think it can be easiest to pack healthy food for road trips. You are able to bring a cooler and you are usually not too limited on space. Here are some ideas for meals while on your road trips:

  • Breakfast – Flax-Bran Muffins (see recipe below). Muffins are easy to store, relatively non-messy for eating in the car, and you can pack a lot of nutrition in muffins!
  • Lunch – Sandwiches are the easiest for road trips, you can have them pre-made and or you can bring all the “fixin’s” and make it at your lunch stop. Be sure to use whole grain breads, nitrate-free deli meats and organic cheese if possible. Pack grapes, apples or clementines as sides for your lunches.
  • Dinner – If your road trip is long and you are needing to eat dinner on the road too, a good option would be rotisserie chicken and raw vegetables. Maybe it is just me, but rotisserie chickens taste good cold and you can munch on some carrots, celery or raw broccoli to go along with it. Or if you have the time and you are passing through a town that has good restaurants, choose grilled meats and steamed veggies or salads from the restaurant menu.
  • Snacks – raw vegetables, raw nuts or seeds, dried fruits (raisins), and whole grain cereals can all make good munching snacks for when you need something to keep you awake or occupied for those long stretches of highway.
Traveling Foods

For Plane Trips:

It is harder to bring food with you when you are travelling by plane. You don’t have as much space to bring extra food, you cannot bring liquids and air travel is just more hectic, in my opinion. But, you can still eat healthy.

  • Airport restaurants are usually expensive and the ones that aren’t expensive are the fast food chains. But, you can get salads and sandwiches for relatively inexpensive and a lot of fast food chains now offer fruit options instead of fries. These little things can help somewhat. Also, skip the sodas and the juices and opt for water. No need to drink calories when you get more than you need from the fast food. If your budget and time allow, eat at the nicer restaurants and order grilled meats and vegetables or salads.
  • You can bring food with you. It may take some planning and preparation, but only liquids are banned in security. I have brought granola bars, sandwiches and fruit with me through airport security. Yes, my sandwich may have been a little smashed in my backpack, but it did save me from having to buy airport food and it was still healthier than the Big Mac from McDonalds.

For Train Trips:

Train trips are a little bit different than both plane or car trips. I have not taken a train trip since my Eurail travelling days in college, but most if not all trains offer food services especially for overnight trips. Remember to choose healthy food options. You can also bring food with you on trains.


Bob’s Red Mill Bran Flax Muffins (adapted)

1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup flaxseed mill

3/4 cup oat bran

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1-1/2 cups finely shredded carrots

2 pealed and shredded apples

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

3/4 cup milk

2 beaten eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Mix together flour, flaxseed meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins and nuts. Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Makes 15 medium muffins.





  1. 1

    Grapes & carrots are our go-to travel foods! :) Thanks for the muffin recipe. Will definitely have to try it!

  2. 2
    Jennifer Young says:

    Thank you for this! We travel a LOT in the summers and try hard to pack our own healthy foods. We are vegetarians so a lot of fast food isn’t an option for us, even if we wanted to. We’ll sometimes stop at Subway or something, but I still prefer to pack our own foods!

  3. 3

    This is a wonderful post and great timing with a family road trip coming up for us soon! I can’t wait to try those muffins and I didn’t know they made hummus snack packs! My kids LOVE hummus, thank you!

  4. 4

    We’re planning a road trip for this summer and I love these ideas! I hate the junk food we usually pack up to eat in the car so we’ll be making some changes.

  5. 5

    That muffin recipe sounds delicious! I’m definitely going to have to give those a try and take them along with us on our upcoming road trip! Thanks for sharing!

  6. 6
    Janet W. says:

    These are some great ideas! You tend to eat fast food junk while traveling. It is possible to stay healthy!

  7. 7

    I love the muffin recipe! I can’t believe how much good stuff was packed into that ingredients list. We just got back from a weeklong trip, and struggled to find good food options when traveling and while in the hotel. I love the idea of making these muffins in bulk, especially since it isn’t 100% necessary to have a fridge in the room to store them.

  8. 8
    Blair Gwin says:

    Great post! This is a great checklist to use!

  9. 9
    Heather says:

    Love this post!

  10. 10
    Nicky K-B says:

    Great post. Wonderful ideas for our summer that will be spent on the road!

  11. 11
    natalie h says:

    We recently traveled by air and I stocked up on organic pouches for my little one. I usually make all her food, but at $1/pouch, it’s cheaper than ordering a full kid’s meal. They let some come through security, as well as her water bottle. They just tested the water, and then swabbed my hands because she was in a baby carrier. Granola bars + apples for the hubs and me, and we were good to go.

  12. 12

    Natalie – I usually bring granola bars and fruit too. I usually just buy some water after I go through security though and bring empty sippy cups for my kids. What kind of pouches did they allow?

  13. 13
    Betty Baez says:

    Great tips! the muffins sound good! I love bringing nuts and raisins they are my favorite!

  14. 14

    Great tips! I want to try the muffins

  15. 15
    Jessica Beard says:

    Thanks for the suggestions! I also try to pack healthy when on the road. I am going to try the muffins. Yummy!

  16. 16

    These are great tips! I love the rotisserie chicken!!! I eat it cold on sandwiches. I’m pinning this for future reference! Thanks!

  17. 17

    Those muffins sound great! Thanks for the helpful post

  18. 18

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  19. 19

    on our very long trips I always pack sandwiches and some cake, next time maybe I should pack some of your snack suggestions

  20. 20

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  21. 21
    Julie Wood says:

    Very good tips for a road trip and Airplanes and I like the muffins. They look healthy and are easy to make and take on a road trip. I will have to try these.

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