Top 2 Nutrient-Packed Vegan Travel Snacks

At last month’s Vida Vegan Conference 2013, I received a swag bag filled with the motherload of plant-based products targeted at vegan attendees.

Everybody likes to receive free stuff–and I particularly don’t like wasting food–but some products barely meet my definition of “food.” Srutinizing each one closely, I weighed my curiosity to sample against my nutritional sense and the pain of carrying additional luggage.

It took lots of will power to leave behind vegan-friendly treats I once coveted like Paul Newman O’s cookies. Other items cut included a one-pound bag of organic cane sugar, (non-chocolate) candies, peanut butter with added sugar, vegan mac n’ cheese, and a parmesan cheese substitute.

I chose my two favorite snack foods to bring with me on the airplane, just in case I got hungry…which I always do. Sometimes, I have difficulty not eating all my snacks before boarding. Recent television commercials show junk food manufacturers are capitalizing on airline passengers obsession for portable nutrition–or at least keeping their mouths busy.

Energy Bars

Homemade snacks are always cheapest and most nutritious. Given the choice, I’d have prepared my favorite vegan halva bars or vegan multi-grain protein bars for the trip (they’re really easy if you want to give them a try), but extended traveling requires me to rely on store-bought products.

Lara Bar’s Peanut Butter cookie flavor was made of three ingredients: dates, peanuts, and sea salt. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. They taste almost as good as homemade, and they’re affordable, too. Other bars, such as Vega One contain twice the protein, 7g vs 15g (from peas and rice) of Lara bars, but also contain additional sugars in the form of sorghum syrup and evaporated cane sugar.

Kale Chips

Everyone and her brother sings the praises of kale for its high nutrition and low calories. While I know industrious raw vegans who manage to bring a fresh kale salad on the plane, kale chips–basically a dehydrated kale salad–are the next best thing.

There are dozens of brands of kale chips sold around the U.S. Portland-based Pacific Northwest’s “Stumptown Original” flavor contains kale, hazelnuts, organic red bell pepper, organic onions, organic garlic, organic lemon juice, nutritional yeast, organic turmeric, organic cayenne, and salt. With ingredients like that, how can they not be delicious?

Admittedly, kale chips are pretty pricey, but if you only knew how much kale leaves shrink when dehydrated, it’s a bit easier to pay $8-$10 for a tiny (2.6 oz) bag. All the more reason to slow down and enjoy them.

What these two snack foods have in common are  they contain:

  • a small number of whole ingredients that are non-GMO
  • no added sugars.

Nuts and seeds also naturally appropriate foods for travelers. I recommend soaking your own raw nuts and seeds, or buying sprouted nuts and seeds in the bulk section at your health food store. Living Maxwell also provides a good review of a Gopal’s Pumpkin Seed Sprouties, which come in three flavors.

I’d love to hear what you think of these snacks and your own ideas for nutritious, easy-to-carry munchies.

In the coming weeks, I plan to review a number of the product samples that made it into my checked luggage, so please be sure to visit again…

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