What's in My Carry-On (The Food)

Summer's officially here! And with it usually comes lots of travel – family vacations, road trips, long weekends, and beach days. Ravi and I definitely catch the travel bug in the summer and take full advantage of our clear calendars and vacation days. 

Vacations are meant for letting loose and decompressing from the everyday, but with our go-go-go travel schedule, I do try to keep myself mostly in check when it comes to my food choices. Plus, caring for and fueling my body makes vacation that much more enjoyable! The last thing I want is to have an upset stomach on the beach or be hangry while seeing the sites. I want to feel my best, and that means taking a little extra time beforehand to prepare healthy, travel friendly foods.

For the plane:

Water bottle: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I can’t say this enough, and it’s especially important when traveling. You want to keep energy levels up, your skin looking fresh, and your digestive system running as close to normal as possible. My general rule of thumb is one liter before/during the flight and one liter immediately upon landing. It seems like a lot, but your body needs it. 

Lemon wedges: You’ll seriously find so many uses for lemon wedges. I use them to flavor your water or dress a salad. They also help with digestion and give you an extra dose of immune boosting vitamin C.

Avocado: I always pack at least one avocado. It’s great as a snack on its own or to bulk up a not so stellar airport salad. You can literally just cut it in half and eat with a spoon!

Trail mixes + granola: These are easy to make and stay fresh for days. I have a handful when I need something small and quick or to round out breakfast. They’re also great packed into small baggies to carry while site seeing or hiking. 

Lunch box: I’m usually traveling for at least one meal and snack, so I make sure I’m set for that plus extra, because we all know how flying goes… Try to pack non-perishable foods that keep well at room temperature. I like to make grain salads that are loaded with vegetables for my main meal. Then I take pre-cut fruits and veggies for an easy snack. Maybe some hummus and crackers too. Massaged kale salad is also a great option, and it’s a perfect way to ensure you’re getting in greens! Look for lunch boxes with dividers or individual compartments for easy packing. I like U-Konserve.

Tea: This goes hand in hand with my comment on hydration. Just ask the flight attendant for hot water and you’re good to go! I like to take a mix of different teas for different situations: green tea for a bit of caffeine, ginger or peppermint to help with digestion, chamomile to relax, and a detox blend to help flush my system.

For the destination:

Greens powder: It’s definitely harder to eat all your vegetables while on vacation. So, to supplement, I always drink a serving of greens each morning. Amazing Grass, Vibrant Health, and WelleCo all make great single serving travel packets. For a blend with added protein, I like Amazing Grass

Breakfast Packs: For longer trips or where I'm not sure what the breakfast options will be, I like to take a few single serving packets of no-sugar added oatmeal (like these) and baggies of chia seeds + goji berries + hemp seeds. Then I'll soak the oatmeal and/or chia seeds overnight using bottled water for a familiar breakfast the next morning. Topped with goji berries and some nut butter it's super satisfying and keeps my tummy happy. One of my favorite tips while traveling is to make one meal each day as close to your normal routine as possible, and breakfast is usually the easiest. 

Nut butter packets: These are my BFF when traveling. I use them for an extra dose of healthy fat and protein when hunger strikes, as a topping for my oatmeal at breakfast, or as a late night nosh when I need that little extra something. It’s amazing how satisfying peanut butter on an apple or banana can be when nothing else seems to do. Justin's, Artisana Organics, Georgia Grinders, and Eat Nutzo are all great. 

Energy bars: I always keep one in my purse while out and about site seeing. You never know when hunger will strike or what food options might be available. My favorite brands are Naturally Cleat EatsLarabar, and RXbar. Look for minimal ingredients that you can pronounce. You can also make your own - like these or these

Dark chocolate: One or two bars, always.

For extra insurance: 

Digestive enzymes: Trust me, these are a godsend when on the road. Your digestive system is likely off schedule and not processing what it’s used to. Give it some love and support. I usually take one whenever I’m eating something I don’t normally eat like bread, dairy, or dessert. I typically take Pure Encapsulations

Probiotics: Check your greens blend as some already contain probiotics. If not, go for a brand that doesn’t require refrigeration. These too will help keep your digestion in check. These shelf-stable ones are great for travel. 

Natural Calm: This magnesium supplement does wonders for me when traveling. It aides sleep, relaxes the body, and relieves constipation. Take a serving an hour or so before bedtime and you’ll be as good as new in the morning.

Immune Support: I like to take a few immune boosting supplements with me whenever I travel. Because who wants to get sick on vacation? Black Elderberry, Ashwaghanda, and this medicinal mushroom blend are my go-tos. I also like this blend for a all-in-one options with enzymes. 

For the return flight:

It’s not always easy to pack as thoughtfully as you do on the outbound flight for the return home, but I find that as long as I can stop by a grocery store for a few key items, I’m pretty much set. Lemons, avocado, fresh fruit, pre-chopped veggies, and nuts/seeds are generally easy to find and much cheaper purchased outside the airport. If you’re staying at an AirBnB, then you’re even more ahead of the game since you can utilize leftovers and refill your lunchbox that way!

Recipes that travel well: 

Massaged Kale Salad
Grain Salads
Spinach Quinoa Patties
Smoky Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
Cinnamon Raisin Hazelnut Energy Bites
Trail Mix Energy Bites

And there you have it! 

I hope you have a happy, healthy, and safe summer. I’ll be posting my adventures on Instagram, so be sure to follow along @erinparekh_ to see all of my tips and tricks in action! Plus, I’ll be showing how I navigate dining out and exercising too.

What are some of your travel must-haves and plans for the summer?

xx Erin

(updated June 2018)