Healthy Travels

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I’m baaaack!
Hopefully you didn’t miss me too much! If you missed my 427 instagram pictures, I’ve been in Turkey for the past two weeks. We spent a few days in Istanbul then spent the rest of the time sailing the Turquoise Coast.  I can’t wait to share pictures and the delicious (and healthy!) Mediterranean cuisine, but I’ll need a little time to go through the thousands of pictures I took.  Until then, I'll stick to the least exciting part of travel – getting there.
As much as I love to travel, I hate flying.  I'm not afraid to fly.  You won’t see any Kristin Wiig-style mental breakdowns here.  I just hate the experience.  Of course I hate the lines, the uncomfortable seats, the inevitable screaming child sitting next to me just like everyone else.  But more than any other aspect of travel, I hate the food.
I’m a frequent eater.  Going more than 4 hours without at least a snack just isn’t an option.  Obviously airport/airplane food isn’t exactly known for it’s healthfulness, but even worse, it just tastes horrid.
Recently, I started to pack meals and snacks, which has significantly reduced my misery. It may seem a bit much, especially if you’re one of those last minute packers, but with a little planning and foresight, I’ve found it’s much less time intensive than you might think.  A few tips:

1. Obviously, you’ll need to pack foods that don’t require refrigeration or reheating.  So no mayonnaise, meats, soft cheeses, smoothies or soups.

2.  Another obvious one - nothing that requires a knife. Unless you enjoy being held for questioning by the TSA.

3. No liquids. Now, this one can get confusing with regards to food. The TSA lists specific examples of food liquids (soups, drinks, syrups) and non-food liquids (toothpaste, gels, creams and lotions) and then states, “any item of similar consistency.”  Soft foods like dips, salad dressings and nut butters are up for debate, although I've never had a problem.  Pack it with another food (i.e. hummus with veggie sticks, almond butter on a sandwich, salad already dressed),  and I doubt you'll be stopped. If it comes down to it, smile and make up a severe food allergy.

4. Want to know the fastest way to make 100+ enemies? Be that guy who brings fast food on the plane. Avoid anything that will stink up the cabin, like onion, garlic, curry and other heavy spices.

5.  Choose foods that won't get mushy. This can be a problem when it comes to vegetables.  Sturdy veggies like beets, carrots and cucumbers hold up well, but others, like lettuce, will likely wilt. If you'd like to pack a salad, use shredded kale or collards, which can last dressed for a few days.

Looking for some ideas? Try the following:
Nut butter on whole grain bread
Fresh fruit
Hummus with raw veggies
Brown rice cakes
Nuts
Popcorn
Tofu or tempeh salad (make it with vegannaise, which doesn’t need refrigeration)
Olives

I brought veggie packed muffins to use up the last of our CSA produce, fruit and nut bars, fresh fruit and a couple chocolate peanut cookies.  Preparing them during the week kept me from doing much cooking the night before we left. I made the muffins on Sunday for breakfast during the week and brought what was leftover.  The fruit and nut bars were our weekday snacks.  The cookie dough was leftover from a few weeks ago, when I froze a few extra balls of dough. All I had to do was pull it out and bake it the night before.

Fruit & Nut Bars
Author: Rachael Hartley
Serves: Makes 14-16
Adapted from[url href="http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/sticky-nut-bars/"] Green Kitchen Stories[/url]
Ingredients
  • 10 dried apricots, preferably unsulfured, chopped small
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup mixed nuts (I used almonds and peanuts)
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (I used golden raisins and cranberries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Coat a baking dish with oil or parchement paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, stir together the apricots, water, and peanut butter and cook over low heat until well combined. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook until well coated. Add more water if needed to loosen slightly.
  3. Spread evenly in the pan and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Spinach Buckwheat Muffins
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: Makes 10
Adapted from [url href="http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/spinach-muffins/"]Green Kitchen Stories. [/url]
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rye (or other whole grain) flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup 2% yogurt
  • 6 lightly packed cups of spinach,chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated (I accidentally used up my carrots and left this out)
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flours, baking powder, flax, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix the egg and yogurt in another bowl. Add the spinach, carrot, onion, lemon zest and juice, and garlic. Mix.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Combine thoroughly. Pour into greased muffin tins. Top with pumpkin seeds.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Serve with hummus, sliced tomato or avocado if serving for breakfast, or pack as a snack.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: Makes 26
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups peanuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Microwave the chocolate about 2 minutes total, stopping every 20-30 seconds to give it a stir. Remove when smooth.
  3. Stir in brown sugar, peanut butter, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder until combined. Stir in peanuts until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Drop large tablespoons on a baking sheet. Bake about 16-18 minutes until puffed. Let cool on rack.