Travel Nutrition Takes Flight

By Shelly Guzman Johnson, MS, RD, CSSD

Traveling during the holidays is a stressful experience. Braving long wait times, crowds, germs, and turbulence can create an experience that can derail even the most health-conscious traveler. Tense times like these are when your body needs nourishing food and hydration the most. In order to avoid getting tripped up by the overwhelming selection of food options in airports, follow these food strategies to ensure long lasting energy and immune support throughout your travels:

  1. Bring one complete snack (complete snack = protein + carbohydrate) per 3 hours travel 
  • ____ hours travel x .33 = ______ complete snacks to bring or purchase 
  1. Aim to drink 8 ounces of water for every 1 hour in flight. 
  • 8 ounces water x ______ hours in flight = ________ ounces of fluid (bring or purchase a bottle that holds this volume and can be refilled as needed)
  • Staying well hydrated means going to the restroom often. This keeps blood flowing in your legs and will prevent against issues like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), blood clots in the legs. 
Travel Nutrition Ideas: Pair protein and carbohydrate foods for a satisfying snack or mini meal
Tip: Many of these items may be purchased in the airport at newsstand stores and kiosks
Protein: Combine 2-3 + add carbohydrateCarbohydrate: Always pair with a proteinComplete Snacks: Protein + Carbohydrates
Hard-boiled eggs1/4 cup dried fruitProtein Bar with at least 15g protein
String or single serving cheese or pint of milk1-piece whole fruit or fruit leather or fresh vegetablesMini hummus + pretzels + 2 cheeses
1oz. jerky or beef stickHandful of whole grain crackersGreek Yogurt + granola
1/4 cup roasted chickpea snacksHandful of pretzelsFruit and yogurt Parfait + handful of nuts
1/4 cup raw or roasted nutsSingle serve tortilla chips or baked chipsOatmeal packet + hot water or milk carton + protein powder or nut butter
1/4 cup dry roasted edamame2 x 6” tortillasPopcorn + 2 beef sticks + 1 cheese
Individual nut butter packetsOatmeal packet2oz. jerky + roasted chickpeas + fruit
High Protein(Just add a carbohydrate)3-4 rice cakesCereal + milk carton + nuts
Tuna, salmon or chicken packets1/3 cup granola2 hard-boiled eggs + nut-based bar
3-4oz. Deli meat (eat within 3 hrs)2 cups popcornTuna, salmon or chicken packet + crackers
Scoop of protein powder (whey, plant)Granola or Cereal BarAny carbohydrate (crackers, pretzels, chips, popcorn) + scoop of protein powder, pint of milk, or 3oz. jerky


Shelly is a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics and has a passion for helping athletes and active individuals achieve optimal health and peak performance at all stages of life. She seeks to explain the what’s, when’s , why’s, and how’s of nutrition through evidence-based, yet approachable education and holistic practice that meets the needs of the individual. Prior to joining PRO Club, she gained valuable experience through her position at the Lifelong AIDS Alliance in addition to her time spent working with triathletes at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Her background also includes teaching cooking classes and practice in body composition assessment, weight management, diabetes, and other clinical conditions.

Specialties: Weight Management, Sport & Performance Nutrition, Emotional Eating

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