Traveling with Diabetes: Healthy Road Trip Snacks

Last Updated on by Kari Garner, MS RDN LD CDCES

Today, On The Blog, I am diving into what to look for when picking healthy road trip snacks! Sharing tips along with both perishable and non-perishable snacks, you will be set with a comprehensive guide the next time you are traveling.

Diabetes can be challenging but it should not keep you from enjoying things in life like traveling with friends and family. Whether you are taking a road trip or flying to your next destination, I want to make sure you have the tools necessary to succeed.

Not only will these tips and snack ideas keep blood sugars balanced but they will fuel your body with the energy it needs to zipline, hike, swim or participate in all the adventures you have planned!

How to Eat While Traveling with Diabetes

Maintaining blood sugars while traveling can be a challenge, especially if you have recently been diagnosed. However, with some careful planning and preparation, you will quickly learn how to manage blood sugar levels effectively.

Before I share good travel snacks, here are three tips to remember when it comes to eating while traveling with diabetes:

  1. Plan! Looking ahead to identify restaurants and grocery stores available around your travel destination can be extremely helpful. You can research the food options available and create a grocery list or make reservations before you arrive. This also allows you to know if you need to consider packing a few extra snacks if options that support your health goals are limited.
  2. Pack! Start by considering how you plan to store snacks and if a cooler bag is needed. From there, you can create a list of snacks to pick up from the store. Other items to consider packing are ice packs, utensils, and disposable plateware depending on the snacks you select.
  3. Portion! Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating or spikes in blood sugars to keep your energy at the best it can be during the trip. Pre-packaged items or using small plates or bowls to help control portions are both great choices. When dining out, you can always request a takeout box if served a large portion. Leftovers make for a great snack or meal the next day!

Lastly, I want to encourage you to communicate your needs when traveling. If you have a specific dietary requirement, don’t hesitate to communicate those to your airline, hotel or restaurant staff. Also, keep your family and friends in the loop if you need to take a break from an activity to have a snack or meal.

Your health matters and making your loved ones aware helps to create a solid support system for this trip and beyond.

Healthy Road Trip Snacks!

Now for what you have been waiting for – a list of snacks! Having a wide variety of options that are packed with essential nutrients allows you to be successful while on the road.

What To Look For?

I recently went into detail on snacking with diabetes and what constitutes a balanced snack.

When planning healthy road trip snacks, it really comes down to three key nutrients – fiber, protein and fat. A snack that contains any or all of these nutrients will promote blood sugar stability with the added bonus of feeling full.

Pack a combination of perishable and non-perishable options depending on your travel plans. Before you even start making a list, think through how much space you will have in the car or in an airplane carry-on.

The snacks listed below provide sustained energy without causing significant spikes in blood sugar levels.

six individual plastic containers filled with pretzels, crackers, hummus, carrots, and celery

Perishable Snacks

If you are able to pack a cooler in the car, consider packing any of these perishable snacks.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables like apples, grapes, baby carrots, cucumber slices, mini sweet peppers
  • Greek yogurt cups 
  • Cheese sticks 
  • Hard-boiled eggs 
  • Low-sodium deli meat 
  • Individual hummus or guacamole cups 

Non-Perishable Snacks

If a cooler is not available or you want options that you can enjoy once the cooler snacks are gone, these are all excellent options to pack:

  • Tuna pouches
  • Popcorn
  • Granola or protein bars 
  • Nuts & seeds or trail mix
  • Jerky 
  • Whole grain crackers 
  • Nut butter pouches 
  • Rice cakes 
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Individually packed olive cups

Other Things To Consider

I do want to highlight a few other things to consider when traveling with diabetes. The first being hydration because of the impact that dehydration can have on blood sugar management. Keeping chilled water in a cooler or packing low carbohydrate beverages are two great ways to ensure you stay hydrated.

Another thing to consider is movement, especially during extended travel periods. Whether you are in the car or on a plane, have a plan to include movement on a regular basis. This can look like walking in the terminal during layovers or taking a short walk at the gas station. If you find yourself restricted and not able to participate in regular movement then opting for lower carbohydrate snacks can be beneficial to keep sugars stabilized until you reach your destination.

Lastly, I want to remind you that sleep is important to promote balanced blood sugars during the day. On vacation, we can find ourselves out of our normal sleep routine and this can compromise blood sugar control. However, by making sleep a priority, you can set yourself up for success.

The Most Important Thing When Traveling With Diabetes

Have fun! As I mentioned, it is extremely important to keep your health in mind even when traveling, but enjoying your time and creating memories is equally important.

Have you taken a recent trip or currently have one planned? Share in the comments!

Snacking With Diabetes

For more snacks, I have you covered with both sweet and savory ideas that you can enjoy on-the-go or right at home.

Explore More Snacks

Flourish with Diabetes!

If you are ready to take the leap and transform your health, check out my Resources Page. I can help you grow & flourish with diabetes!

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Springtime Nutrition, LLC was founded on my passion to partner with individuals to eliminate the stress, frustration and overwhelm of changing their nutrition lifestyle. I am committed to supporting you at every step of your journey. Ready to transform your life?  Get started today!

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Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist/ Registered Dietitian/ Owner / Springtime Nutrition, LLC

Kari is a diabetes expert with more than 18 years of experience. Kari currently works as a diabetes educator with a large hospital system in Charleston, SC and is committed to improving the lives of people with any type of diabetes.

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