Q: It is so hard for me to find time to eat right while traveling. Any tips to help me while running through the airport?
A: Early flight times, a delayed flight, a layover you didn’t expect. It can be tempting when you’re traveling to grab a candy bar and a Coke and call it a day. But if you want your snack to last past the sugar crash, it’s a great idea to plan ahead. Snacking on the road — and snacking smart — helps keep you full and feeling great. Before jet lag sets in, grab a healthy and satisfying snack.
— Nosh on nuts. Nuts of all kinds are a go-to snack, and for good reason. They’re rich in fiber, protein, vitamin E and phytochemicals, or the compounds produced by plants that help them thrive. They’re also shelf-stable, meaning they can last in your bag without going bad. If you can’t decide which to try, remember that almonds pack a powerful punch. They’re relatively low in calories, loaded with antioxidants and can even assist with blood sugar control.
— Pick up some pretzels (and nut butter). Squeeze packs of peanut or almond butter are packed with protein and healthy fats — and are the perfect complement to apple slices or pretzels. You can even swirl it into oatmeal or spread on whole grain toast. The nut butter will keep you satisfied, and the pretzel provides a much-needed crunch.
— Reach for roasted chickpeas. Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are portable and a solid source of plant-based protein. They’re nutty, crunchy and loaded with fiber, zinc, folate and a number of essential vitamins like A, B6, B12 and vitamin K. The perfectly seasoned snack is great on its own, or as a delicious addition to salad or cup of soup.
— Say cheese. Need something hearty? Low-fat mini cheese wheels or cheese sticks are a creamy and delicious treat that’s sure to satisfy. Cheese is a great source of protein and calcium, and is easy to pair with crackers, sliced apples or grapes for a quick meal on the go.
— Fill up on whole fruits. Whether it’s an apple, banana, orange or grapes, whole fruits are the easiest thing to add to your travel bag. Pick up a piece of fruit when you need a quick snack to balance your choices with fiber and the vitamins and minerals your body needs. If you’re craving a little more sweetness, reach for dried fruit with no added sugar, like mango slices or cranberries.
Dr. Charles Tapley is a family medicine specialist with CHI Memorial Family Practice Associates – North River and a member of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society.