Friday, November 11, 2011

Top 5 Travel Snacks

I can't deal with airplane food. Not only is the stuff prepared hours in advance, but it's usually filled with artificial chemicals to maintain freshness, meaning nutritional value is heavily compromised or, in most cases, nonexistent. For this very reason, coupled with my fear of starving on a plan (that would suck so bad), I stock my carry-on with tons of snacks that are both healthy and filling. Here's a roundup of some of my favorites.

1. Sprouted Almonds. I know it sounds like a hassle, but trust me on this one. Sprouted almonds are cleaner and less fattening than regular almonds and contain a heavier dose of vitamins A, B, C, E, protein, amino acids, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. Also, you'll find that sprouted almonds taste crunchier and more satisfying than the regular kind. Sprouting them is a super simple process: Rinse a cup of raw unroasted almonds and throw them into a small bowl. Add water to the bowl, making sure every almond is covered, and place in the fridge to soak for 10 to 12 hours.

Once time is up, you'll see that they've grown twice in size - sort of like almonds on steroids - and have little white nubs. That's a good thing! Drain them in a colander thoroughly (I do it four times) and then place them on a baking sheet lined with cloth to air dry. After an hour or so they'll be dry enough for you to throw a handful into a ziplock bag. Be sure to enjoy them within two days because they'll go rancid. Although the skin on sprouted almonds is fine to eat, I find it oddly satisfying to peel it all off and enjoy them bare. Above is a snap of me in the midst of said enjoyment while waiting for my Argentina flight to board last month.

2. Baby Carrots. There's no fancy process here - just make sure you rinse them before you throw them in a ziplock because although grocery stores say that they're pre-washed, it's better to be safe than sorry. I like the organic baby carrots from Trader Joe's.

3. Granola. I love a good granola mix. Whole Foods' granola offerings are the jam (particularly the Energy Trail Mix), but I like to make my own with rolled oats, flaxseed, pecans, almonds (sprouted, of course), walnuts, and a dash of unsweetened dried currants and cranberries. Recipe forthcoming!

4. Cereal. I'm a serious cereal fiend. Although I don't follow a 100% gluten free diet, I tend to veer toward GF varieties, like Arrowhead Mills' Puffed Millet Cereal or Erewhon's Crispy Brown Rice. For fear of you guys hating me for recommended such bland flavors, allow me to save myself by suggesting the holy grail of GF cereals, Barbara's Puffins. I love the multigrain version.

5. Coconut Water. While snacks on the plane will keep you from getting hangry (hungry + angry), staying hydrated is absolutely necessary. I definitely drink my share of regular water in-flight, but the taste eventually bores me, which is when I reach for my trusty Vita Coco bottle. Coconut water is low in calories and high in electrolyte potassium, which helps keep your heart, muscles, and nervous system working properly. It also does wonders when you have a hangover.

Let me know if you need more ideas!

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