I’m so excited to introduce my first guest blogger, Ann Pierce from Pierce Whole Nutrition. Ann is currently working on her degree at the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver. Check out her wonderful blog on all things nutrition. Thanks for the great post, Ann!

I absolutely love to travel, which is good because I have friends and family all over the country!  I also love trying new food, and am quick to research the best places to eat when I start planning another trip (right after I check Free Fly Flown for the latest in travel fashion!).  But one thing I don’t love?  Being forced to eat airport food or gas station food because I didn’t plan ahead.  I know preparing for a trip is stressful enough as it is, but I suggest you add one more thing to your list: food.  This will prevent unnecessary spending on overpriced, unhealthy meals and snacks.  A little planning can go a long way, and your trip will be more enjoyable if you arrive happy, healthy and energized.

Let’s start small and work our way up:

Road Trips

Pack a cooler of healthy snacks for your road trip. Featured on Flee Fly FlownWhether you’re driving a couple of hours or a couple of days, it pays to pack your own food for the trip.  Being a nutritionist, I avoid fast food at all costs.  It wreaks havoc on the digestive system, is some of the lowest quality food you can find, and does nothing to promote health (in fact, it causes us to take a step backwards!).  There is always room for a cooler in the back of the car.  They pack nicely and can stay cold for days if need be.  It’s a good idea to find out ahead of time if the place you’re staying has a refrigerator.  If so, pack extras and store for your return trip!  Not only will you save money and time since you avoid having to stop for meals, but the fresh food will ensure everyone stays healthy for the vacation ahead.

Ideas: Simple sandwiches made ahead of time and wrapped in tinfoil; apple slices and grapes; chopped veggies; crackers with sliced cheese in bags; bags of nuts or trail mix; homemade cookies or brownies individually wrapped; bottled waters.

Tip: Give your kids the freedom to dip into the cooler throughout the trip whenever they’re feeling hungry.  This will prevent the begging and pleading that tends to begin whenever they see those golden arches…

Domestic Flights

We’ve all found ourselves stuck at an airport, starving (or even worse, on an airplane that hasn’t taken off yet!).  I recommend being prepared since airport food is gross!  Even Starbucks lattes taste worse from the airport.  This takes a bit more planning than road trips, because people who fly tend to pack lighter and security regulations are strict.  But don’t let that deter you – it’s still possible to pack plenty of food for your travels.

Snack bars (my favorites are Lara bars or Kind bars) pack well and will keep for a long time, so if you don’t need them on your flight out, you can save them for the return trip.  Kind Bars make a great snack during flights. Featured on Flee Fly FlownIf you know you’re flying over a mealtime, plan ahead and make sandwiches.  Keep in mind that the smell of certain foods, like onions, can be offensive in confined airplanes.  Respect your fellow travelers!  Certain meats and cheeses will start to grow bacteria if they are not refrigerated, so only use them if you’re planning to eat right away.  Nut butter with honey is one of my favorites – fairly odorless and keeps well throughout the day.

Not into sandwiches?  No problem.  Another great idea is to make a little quinoa or brown rice, and add diced chicken breast and some veggies.  Top it with soy sauce and some sliced almonds, and you’ve got a nutritious, filling meal.  Use small tupperware and hold the meat if you’re not going to eat it for a few hours.

When flying domestically, I have one rule: My airport purchases can only include mints, magazines or beverages. Since water is a “no-no”  going through security, and flying is extremely dehydrating, the first thing I do after security is buy an enormous bottle of water.  A cheaper option is to bring your own empty water bottle and fill it at the drinking fountain.  Kleen Kanteens a good BPA-free water bottle, and they even have kid-sizes with sippy cup tops for your little ones!  Kleen Kanteen water bottles on Flee Fly FlownEven if you’re not thirsty, I recommend doing this, because you never know if you’ll be stuck on an airplane and in need of water.  Other beverages I allow myself in airports: coffee, tea, and the occasional beer or glass of wine, of course!  Stick to the above rule, and I guarantee you’ll arrive at your destination feeling your best.

International Flights

Have you ever been on an international flight and had the extremely inebriated gentleman sitting next to you scarf down his pasta/tomato sauce/dinner roll/walnut brownie hot meal in 30 seconds… with just his fingers?  I have.  And guess what: it made me lose my appetite!  Good thing I thought ahead and packed food for later.  Once the aforementioned gentleman fell asleep, I was able to settle down a bit and eat the nuts, apple and carrot slices I had packed.

Healthy eating on international flights on Flee Fly Flown.International flights really mess with your body because of dramatic time changes and irregular sleep, so it’s very important to stay hydrated and nourished.  Bringing lots of smaller, healthy snacks rather than full meals for international flights is a great way to go.  Try to eat one of your snacks every 3-5 hours, and drink as much water as you can (suggestion: request aisle seats!).  Most likely you are traveling somewhere that has amazing, local food that you’re excited to try.  Why ruin it for yourself by eating greasy, low-quality airport or airplane food and messing with your digestive system?  Not to mention the disservice you are doing to your fellow travelers if you tend to experience gas or bloating when you eat highly processed foods…

International flights are definitely more challenging, and if you do end up having to eat at the airport, choose wisely.  Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, water, fresh fruit, and basic veggie salads are decent options.  Will it be as fresh as the food you get at your grocery store?  Definitely not.  But it’s still better than a greasy burger with bad meat, or a prepackaged sandwich that was probably made 2 days ago.  Eat just enough to get you to your final destination comfortably, and then you can find something fresher and more satisfying.

Thanks to Colleen for inviting me to guest blog, and don’t forget to plan ahead for your next vacation!