15 Dietitian-Approved Tips and Snacks to Eat When Traveling

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
by Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
Share it:
15 Dietitian-Approved Tips and Snacks to Eat When Traveling

When you’re on the road and out of your routine, it can be even more challenging to pick wholesome foods to eat. Whether you’re visiting family or heading to a foreign destination, it’s possible to eat healthy every step of the way. Check out these tips for eating well while traveling, and take a look at our recommended snack choices before packing your bags.



Part of enjoying your trip is experiencing the cuisine and various treats offered. Though focusing on healthy food choices the majority of the time will help you to feel your best. Before heading out, hit the web to research dining options at your final destination. Find out what restaurants and grocery stores will be near you; look at your daily travel plans to determine when you will be eating your meals. This information will help you narrow down what to pack food-wise and where to eat once you arrive. If you want to get far ahead of the game, look at the menu and pre-log your meal into MyFitnessPal so that you know exactly what to order when you get to the restaurant.


Traveling often means eating out. Whether it’s at the airport, on the road or in a new town, be aware of larger portions. Restaurants are notorious for serving a meal that’s two or three times the size you should eat.

Consider the MyPlate method where your plate consists of four food groups- fruits, veggies, protein, and whole grains. These foods are nutrient dense and have either fiber, protein, or a combination of both which will help trigger fullness signals in your stomach to help you feel satiated. Consuming enough water throughout the day can also help prevent you from over-consuming. Or try other tips such as splitting a meal with a coworker or filling a to-go container with half your meal when eating out


If you’re the type to eat three square meals and an afternoon snack every day, do your best to maintain this routine. When food is constantly made available (like at family gatherings or at a conference), it can be tempting to graze and overeat throughout the day. If you’re on a work trip or have a major sightseeing agenda, it gets tougher to find the time to eat so you risk skipping meals and snacks. Aim to follow the general meal pattern that works for you to prevent bloating or overconsumption.


Add a reusable water bottle to your packing list. Staying hydrated will not only make travel more enjoyable, but it will also curb any cravings you may have due to dehydration. Drink a glass of water before every meal and carry your water bottle with you wherever you go. Many airports now have chilled water bottle refill stations, or you can always find a water fountain to fill up before getting on the plane. Traveling to different climates and altitudes, and even the compression on planes, can dehydrate you faster, so make hydration a top priority.


Vacation is a time to relax and pamper yourself, but this doesn’t have to mean indulging every chance you get! Work on limiting those sweet treats and calorie-laden dishes so that you don’t end up putting on a few pounds during your trip. If there is a small treat from a local bakery that you’d love to taste, go for it. But take the time to really enjoy every bite. Don’t miss the opportunity to try new foods and enjoy some delicious treats! But know what works for you. Try to focus on the foods that make you feel full and balanced- often adding protein, fiber, and healthy fats can help you to feel satisfied.



Pack apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, clementines, celery sticks, edamame and carrot sticks. They fit easily into plastic bags and can go a few hours without refrigeration.


Pair these with fresh fruit slices, or spread them onto whole-grain toast.


Mozzarella cheese sticks, cubed cheddar cheese and mini cheese wheels are the perfect portion sizes, and are easily shareable.


Grab these at your hotel’s breakfast rather than a waffle or muffin. Many convenience stores carry premade hard-boiled eggs, which are perfect for any time of the day.


Aim to choose a bar that contains 5 grams of sugar or less. Or make your own. Use rolled oats, dried fruit and seeds to make an easily packed snack.


There are numerous ready-to-drink protein shakes at convenience stores. Or bring along your own protein powder to mix with water or stir into oatmeal.


This quick and easy breakfast (or snack) pairs perfectly with dried fruit, berries or nut butters, and is easy to make in a hotel room.


Travel can make it harder to get all of the power-packed lean protein you need. Canned tuna or pouches pack easily and ensure that you will always have a reliable source of protein. Heads up: Make sure you buy packages that can be opened without a can opener.


Raw, unsalted or lightly salted almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts or (enter favorite nut here) travel great and are easy to snack on. The trio of fiber, protein and healthy fats found in nuts makes them a nutritious snack that fights hunger.


Get creative, and build your own favorite trail mix combo. Mix unsweetened dried fruit, nuts, whole-grain cereal and seeds, and pack them in little snack baggies for convenient eats on the go. Add spices like turmeric, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and smoked paprika to punch it up a notch.


Individual bags of microwave popcorn provide healthy whole grains, are low in calories and are chock-full of antioxidants like polyphenols. Best of all, you can even dress up your popcorn with nuts or dark chocolate, if you prefer.


Dried fruits are packed with potassium and fiber, but watch out for sources of added sugar. Raisins, tart cherries, prunes, dates and apricots are great choices—just make sure they are unsweetened. Watch your portions: A serving of dried fruit is about a ¼ cup.


Although these have to be refrigerated, they pair perfectly with carrot sticks, celery and edamame. Store them in a cooler, or pick some up from a local grocery and store them in the hotel mini fridge for a convenient snack.


Individual containers of applesauce are easy to pack and provide a tasty alternative to traditional apple slices. You can also get them in squeeze tubes for easy eating on the go. Go for unsweetened applesauce to limit excess sugar.


Turkey, beef, chicken and venison jerky can be an excellent snack that’s low in calories and high in protein. Make sure to look out for added sugar sources; aim for jerkies that are less than 3 grams of sugar per serving.

With a little strategy, eating healthy on the road is absolutely possible. Next time you pack your bags to head out of town, pack healthy snacks, too!

Originally published July 2015, updated December 2022

Ready to take the next step? Unlock MyFitnessPal Premium to access custom goal settings, quick-log recipes, and guided plans from a registered dietitian. Premium users are 65% more likely to reach their weight loss goals!

About the Author

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN

Kristina is a board certified sports dietitian located in Orlando, Florida where she specializes in intuitive and mindful eating. She is the author of the food and nutrition blog, Love & Zest where she shares {mostly} healthy recipes with simple ingredients that are meant for real life. As a new mom, she knows that eating well and living an active lifestyle isn’t always easy… but it’s always worth it!! Kristina loves spending time outdoors with her family, sweaty workouts, and a good cup of coffee. Get in touch with her for one-on-one nutrition coaching (virtually or in person), or connect with her on PinterestInstagramFacebook  and YouTube.


9 responses to “15 Dietitian-Approved Tips and Snacks to Eat When Traveling”

  1. Avatar Susan Cargill says:

    To keep hydrated when you fly, FREEZE your bottled water to take it on the flight. Make sure any water that has thawed is drained before you go thru TSA and it is legal. Explosives don’t freeze so this is a good way to take water (I don’t know if other beverages are allowed). Then you have cold water, and a ready container for the rest of your trip, too!

  2. Avatar elephant in the room says:

    When travelling to many developing countries… they don’t even have to be the poorest: The rule for eating is: Peel it, boil it, or forget it. That rules out a lot of foods mentioned here. It was a good rule for Africa and Uzbekistan alike.

  3. Avatar vgrayson says:

    I’m new to this site. And I find some of this very interesting and I plan on going by this plan to get fit before new years.

  4. Avatar Emma Richter says:

    Some of these like che

    • Avatar Pat36902 says:

      I basically profit in the range of 6.000-8.000 dollars on monthly basis from working online at home. So if you are looking to complete easy online work for 2h-5h a day from your home and earn valuable income for doing it… Try this gig UR1.CA/p7vuk


    • Avatar Deanna635214 says:

      I basically get paid approximately 6-8 thousand dollars /month for freelancing at home. For anyone prepared to complete basic freelance jobs for 2-5 hrs daily from your house and make solid income while doing it… Then this gig is for you… UR1.CA/p7vw7


    • Avatar Mike Beckner says:

      All things in moderation. I would prefer not to eat yard clippings all the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Never Miss a Post!

Turn on MyFitnessPal desktop notifications and stay up to date on the latest health and fitness advice.


Click the 'Allow' Button Above


You're all set.