Intolerants On the Go: Travel-Friendly Food Tips Part II
As I eluded to in the first post of this series, it’s no easy feat to manage food and travel in the best of times. That said, imagine how much more difficult it becomes if you’re faced with food allergies or if you’re on a streamlined eating plan,for whatever reason. Because I know how tricky, frustrating and downright maddening it can be to eat on the go – long haul flights especially – I decided to start a series that highlights the foods I stash away in my carry on or pack in my suitcase when I know I’m in for long journey or heading to a locale where intolerant-friendly options are limited.
So here we go with Part 2.
I’m a fan of dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) as I’m sure you know if you’ve read enough of my posts. I like it because it’s a compact and relatively easy item to travel with and depending on the percentage it can calm hunger pangs until you’re able to secure a proper meal. It’s also perfect for providing a morning/afternoon/evening pick-me-up and it’s a quasi-luxurious item to have on hand, particularly when you’re cramped in cattle class and especially when you want to make new friends. Breaking chocolate out on a road trip will instantly make you the coolest cat around.
I’m new to the four brands in the above photo and I found them all to be enjoyable in their own right. I picked them as they’re organically friendly, made locally (more or less) and they do a good job of keeping their ingredient list to a minimum. While I enjoyed the Endangered Species chocolate and appreciate the fact that their ingredients are non-GMO and a percentage of their proceeds goes towards wildlife conservation, I found their squares to be a tad on the sweet side and some a bit chalky. It was more or less the same for Wild Sweets, which I also found lovely, though this chocolate was slightly too malleable. Too smooth if that’s possible. Upon touching it, the chocolate would start melting in my fingers, which proved to be a nightmare when it came to eating and driving. The taste; however, was nutty and nectarous.
I really fell for the Zazubean raspberry/cherry chocolate (Flirt) and the chilli/cinnamon (Hottie) options. I find the chocolate is smooth and sweet without being overbearing in either direction, and their marketing is pretty damn good. After a couple of squares I’m perfectly satisfied and I like that the ingredients are organic and fair trade. Another bonus is that the company doesn’t feel the need to use soy-lecithin in the majority of their bars.
The other chocolate I go mad for and love to take along on trips is almost anything from the family of Galerie du Chocolat. A Canadian company that exclusively uses Belgian chocolate, they have a litany of flavours that will have you weeping on your knees for more. Slightly more sweet than I’m used to, the chocolate used by Galerie du Chocolat tends to be in the 70% or higher range and all the ingredients are fair trade, with some of them organic. I would possibly trip you up in the street to get my hands on a couple of the sea salt, cinnamon and chilli/cayenne squares, though a warning for the chilli: it is f****** hot. Like, this is burning my mouth my God where is a glass of water hot, which is good if you’re looking to only stick to one or two squares a day. The chilli bar aside, this is the chocolate you’ll want to bust out and share because if you don’t you’re bound to eat at least half to three-quarters in one sitting.
I implore you to try otherwise.
Aside from foods like fruit and chocolate, fruit/veggie/raw/snack bars are also great to pack as they’re easy to transport. There are thousands of different brands out there, all touting different things, and while the majority are quite harmless – and rather delicious in fact – it’s important to read the labels to avoid gorging on a sugar bomb in your moment of ‘hanger‘ (see the end of this article for a definition of hanger).
Three brands I’ve come to embrace is The Simply Bar, LÄRABAR and ReBar. Packed with protein and low in sugar and calories, Simply Bar is great to stash away for long haul journeys and they’re simply too good to pass up. They have many different options that cater to people with allergies, vegans, diabetics, athletes and anyone who just wants a snack that is relatively healthy and is in line with the diet they’re on. If you’re not allergic to dairy, their whey bars are apparently quite good and they will keep you full for a modest length of time. I really liked their cinnamon pecan bar and found it to be the perfect thing to eat when experiencing a 4 on the hunger scale (read: “I could eat, but I’m not famished”). While they’re good for the moments when you’re peckish, I’d advise you turn to something else if your mind is screaming je crève de faim (aka: I’m starving), as the non-whey variety will only fill you up partially and satiate you for so long.
LÄRABAR has been around for forever and a day, so I won’t go into much detail suffice to say that they’re worth the hype and the price tag. I’m a fan of the apple and the blueberry muffin and on occasion will lose myself in one of their cashew concoctions. All their bars are gluten free, kosher and low in carbs and and if you want something raw, they’re oh-so-good. They use the least amount of ingredients necessary and have bars that cater to people with nut allergies or are vegan/vegetarian-friendly. Another bonus is that their bars – with the exception of the chocolate chip variety – are soy free. If you’re soy sensitive, you’re safe with LÄRABAR.
A bar I tried and wound up buying a box of while in Canada is ReBar. Kind of like fruit leather, ReBar mixes organic vegetables and fruit to make a chewy, delicious and satisfying nutritional bar. There are four flavours at the moment including the original, blueberry, banana walnut and seeds n’ greens and of the two I tried (original and blueberry), I’m completely sold. Not overly sweet like some fruit leather can be, you can actually taste the fruits and vegetables that went into this bar and you’ll find that hunger pangs subside within a few minutes of eating one of these. While I’m not wholly on board with the addition of rice syrup and sunflower oil, I’ll overlook these ingredients in order to have a snack that will keep my hunger at bay until I’m able to secure something more substantial (say 1-2 hours).
When all else fails, and there’s no chocolate, fruit or protein bars to be found, I’ll always fall back on a blended juice or smoothie. I prefer if they only contain natural sugars, and there’s many these days that do just that and also pack a healthy punch. Happy Planet is a drink I came across on my Canadiana travels and I instantly latched onto. Made with local and organic ingredients, their green juices are the perfect balance of cruciferous and sweet, while their fruit-only drinks avoid the trap of being overly saccharine. Aside from their juices and smoothies, Happy Planet has also branched out into lemonades and fresh soups…products I’m certain to try as soon as I can get my Intolerant hands on them.
And that’s a wrap for Part II of the Intolerant’s on the Go travel-friendly food tips.
There’s more to come in the fall, but until then, tell me: if you’re intolerant to certain foods or are a choosy eater, how do you manage – and/or what do you pack – when travelling? What do you take when you travel by air vs. a road trip?
Hanger [h·anger] | noun
Refers to the type of hunger that results when one waits far too long to eat and, as a result, begins to exhibit physical and emotional discomfort. Symptoms of hanger may include an overwhelming physical sensation of hunger where the stomach feels like it is about to begin digesting its own lining and is often accompanied by one or several of the following: irritability, cantankerous grumbling, extreme sensory withdrawal, waves of annoyance and/or irrational outbursts of anger.
Use: “Hey, it’s not my fault we can’t find something meat, raw, live, and dairy/gluten/sugar/soy-free to eat. Kindly avoid taking your hanger out on me!”
For a fantastic tale of travel and hanger intrigue, check out Jay’s post over at From There to Here.