Staying healthy whilst travelling can be a challenge. My philosophy is that if you start off eating poorly at the beginning of a trip, it’s probably going to go downhill from there. Things are likely to be a little hectic at home the day before a trip, and you probably won’t feel like preparing food or cooking. But, you probably like the idea of having good (nourishing) food in flight, train, or on the road, right?
Don’t pretend the airport, train station, buffet car, or service station is going to be healthy. Or, if you know where you are going won’t have plenty of nourishing, healthy options, I do recommend you plan ahead and bring what you can. A little forethought is the key to eating healthily while travelling.
I have a few on-the-go snacks that I turn to when it comes to eating healthily. Here are my top three favourites, which only require around fifteen minutes of chopping time and are easy to digest, healthy, soothing, and satisfying.
The great thing with this recipe is that it’s totally portable and you can basically use up any leftover vegetables in your fridge. If you don’t want too much crunch with your vegetables, I recommend that you steam or blanch them for a few minutes before rinsing them with cold water and adding to the jar. Sometimes I add in slices of marinated tofu or a chopped hard boiled egg, or you can add some leftover cooked shredded chicken. If I’ve made a batch of Miracle Broth that week, I’ll heat it up and take a thermos of that to add to the jar when I’m ready to eat. But, if I haven’t, or if I’m flying, then I’ll add a tablespoon of unpasteurised miso paste to the bottom of the jar before layering the noodles and the vegetables. Whether you are travelling by air or land, you will usually be able to ask for hot water. I have never had a problem taking any of the following foods through security. Obviously, no liquid allowed, so I don’t take broth to the airport.
Instant Pot Noodle
A selection of whatever vegetables you have to use up. Here is what I used:
Brocolli florets, cut small
Radish, thinly sliced
Green beans, trimmed and quartered
Red cabbage, thinly sliced
A few large spinach leaves, de-stemmed and rolled to tuck between the other vegetables. Baby spinach even better
Small handful of coriander leaves
A thumb-sized piece of grated ginger – squeezed, to get 1 tablespoon of juice
35g kelp noodles (or you can use konjac noodles or mung mean vermicelli)
Sliced marinated tofu or some shredded chicken or chopped hard boiled egg
Wedge of lemon of lime
300ml Miracle Broth (if using), or I tablespoon of unpasteurised miso paste
Fill the kettle and add whichever noodles you are using to a heat resistant bowl. Once boiled, pour the hot water over the noodles and leave for a few minutes to soften. Drain, rinse in cold water and pat dry with a clean tea towel. If you are not taking broth, start by adding the miso paste to the bottom of a clean jar. If you are using sliced tofu , shredded chicken, or egg, add on top of the miso.
Next, begin layering the vegetables and noodles in an appealing way, tucking the rolled spinach leaves in the middle. Stop once you reach the the neck of the jar and top with a wedge of lemon or lime. You can also sprinkle some sea salad on the top or perhaps some toasted sesame seeds. Kimchi or sauerkraut is another great addition, but you will need to be mindful of any passengers sitting next to you as it can be quite pungent. Screw the lid top securely.
If you are taking broth, I recommended heating it in a pan on the morning of travel and pouring it into a thermos. Once you are ready to eat, simply unscrew the jar and remove the wedge of lemon or lime. Add the hot broth or plain water, stir thoroughly, and wait a few minutes for the vegetables to soften a bit. Squeeze in the lemon or lime juice. Don’t forget to pack a paper napkin and a fork! The broth can be drunk from the jar at the end.
Rice rolls hold up well when on the move. They are light and refreshing and you can mix and match the fillings with what you have to hand or follow the recipe below. To ring the changes, I also like to use nori sheets as a filling wrapper too. Both are very nutritious and gluten free. The best way to transport the rolls is packed side by side and wrapped inside a bee wrap or sealed inside a glass lidded container. Please don’t use aluminium foil as the toxic metal will leach into your food. Same applies for plastic tupper-ware or plastic wrap. When I’m not flying, I take a small sealed pot of dipping sauce, dark, salty and tangy, which is the perfect accompaniment. But they are delicious without too.
3 rice wrappers (or sheets of nori)
I small avocado, mashed or thinly sliced (texture preference)
1 small cucumber, julienned
1 small courgette, peeled and julienned
A small handful of spinach leaves
A small handful of coriander leaves
A few radish, sliced thinly
A small handful of alfalfa sprouts, or any other micro sprouts
For the dipping sauce
1/4 cup tamari
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
If you are using the rice wrappers they need to be soaked prior to using. Fill a large shallow bowl with warm water and add a rice wrapper (one at a time). After a couple of minutes it will have softened. Carefully remove from the water and place on a clean damp tea towel, spreading it out flat. Start adding the filling in layers, keeping it in the middle of the wrapper, leaving a border around the outside. When you have finished adding the filling, fold each side left and right, wrapping firmly against the filling. Repeat top to bottom. Place the roll on the bee wrap or inside the glass container. Repeat the process with the other two rice wrappers.
If you are using nori sheets, you don’t need to soak. Place the sheet shiny side up and add the filling along the bottom edge, leaving a 1cm border for rolling. Be sure to take the filling to the edges of the roll as you won’t be folding the ends but instead rolling it like a sausage. Moisten the top edge of the nori sheet with a little water for a good seal. If you want to cut the nori roll it’s easier to use a ceramic knife, which will prevent it from tearing.
To make the dipping sauce, just add the three ingredients together in a small screw top jar and shake when ready to use.
I always tuck a nut butter pot into my luggage when I travel. Then, no matter where I am, I can nourish myself with a generous smear on a cracker, with raw vegetables, a slice of apple, or even eaten straight from the jar with no spoon.
Nut Butter Pot
3 or 4 tablespoons of nut butter, either homemade or shop bought (check for no added sugar). Almond and cashew nut butter are my favourites, but seed butter are nice too.
Your choice of raw vegetables. Nice combinations are carrot or celery with cucumber. Cut into batons roughly to just below the height of the jar. Go around the inside of the jar, alternating the batons, until you reach the middle. Screw the lid top firmly.
Apples are best taken whole as they will quickly turn brown. You will need to take a small knife for slicing. If I’m not flying, I carry a small Swiss army style knife with me for this very purpose.
When stowing the jar in your luggage, try to keep the jar upright or else you’ll end up with a pile up of nut butter at the top of the jar and your veggies will be messy to eat.
Other travel friendly suggestions:
Anything portable and scoop-able works such as homemade hummus or a savoury dip packed inside a sealed jar with raw vegetables, or crackers.
Packing a thermos of alkalising, plant based, comforting Miracle Broth always feels golden. But miso broth works too if you haven’t had time to make broth. A few crackers with a smear of any of the above is the perfect companion.
A jar of toasted nuts and seeds
Two apples and a handful of raw nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds
A halved avocado, stone removed, with a wedge of lemon or lime (don’t forget to pack a spoon!). Wrap in bee wrap or baking parchment
A grain based salad (such as quinoa) leftover from the night before, packed into a glass lidded container
Ok, it’s your turn, how do you eat healthy whilst travelling? Comment below – I’d love to hear!
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