This month’s theme on the Recipe Redux is a fun one that couldn’t have been better timed with all of my spring and summer travel plans — healthy recipes for snacks that will travel! You know I love a good travel snack so this was right up my alley. I put a spicy twist on the classic plane snack mix and upgraded the ingredients to be a little bit more balanced and interesting with this Gochujang Snack Mix.
Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk more about travel snacks and why it makes sense to actually pack them in the first place. Rarely do I go on a trip sans snacks!
I’m not opposed to airport food and the Denver airport actually has some really solid options (let’s be honest, it’s the only reason I started getting there early 😂). But I do like having choices and not spending my entire food budget before the trip even starts, so I always pack a few things of my own, even if just to complement whatever I grab once there.
You never know when a flight will be delayed or cancelled so having something to tide you over to your next meal could be more clutch than you think. And besides being overpriced, a lot of the snacks available once you get on the airplane, are lacking in in the nutrition department (I’m looking at you, weird plane snack boxes).
Tips for Packing Healthy Travel Snacks
Tip #1: Protein & Fiber
Try to pack things that have a solid dose of lean protein and/or fiber because these are generally a little bit harder to come by when traveling. Sure, you can probably find a banana or a red delicious apple but chances are they’ll be overpriced and lacking in flavor.
Tip #2: Stay Hydrated
Stop paying an arm a leg for bottled water (or your other bottled drink of choice). Instead pack an empty re-usable water bottle that you can fill once you get through security. I have this one and LOVE it because I can toss it in my backpack without worrying about a leak, plus it keeps liquid really cold. Almost every airport has one of those slick water bottle filling stations now, and you’ll be happy to have it during your wait time and flight.
Tip #3: Keep it Varied
Bring a variety of options to suit whatever mood you’re in. Sweet, salty, savory, crunchy. You’ll be prepared for anything! In other words, don’t just pack the snacks you *think* you should. Think practically and scale up. Keep reading for some specific ideas!
Favorite Healthy Store-bought Travel Snacks
Here are a few of my go-to choices for store-bought snack options, although this changes as I find new products:
bars for something convenient, portable and filling
nut butter packets — especially the RX Bar ones that have added egg whites for more protein along with tasty flavors. These are great for adding to coffee shop oatmeal (early morning flights) or eating with fruit for a snack later.
trail mix — usually a mix of dried fruit, nuts and dark chocolate (great way to satisfy that craving for something sweet!)
salmon jerky for a salty and savory option. I love this EPIC brand because they have interesting combos like chicken sriracha and turkey cranberry sage.
a really good apple, because it’s sturdy, holds up well and isn’t a mess to eat (the idea of eating something like an orange on a plane is my WORST nightmare lol)
ginger chews. Does anyone else get queasy on take-off? I’m not sure if these do anything besides distract me, but I’ll take it because I also love the spicy flavor.
tea bags. Just ask for hot water on the plane and you’re all set. I pack the lower caffeine options for evening flights and especially love TAZO green ginger.
Gochujang Snack Mix Recipe
Southwest is my airline of choice (not sponsored, just love them!) and they always pass out a free snack mix pack and some pretzels once up in the air. This is so generous of them being that many airlines don’t even offer free water anymore! I wanted to put my own twist on the popular cheese version (you know the one!) and thought I would spice things up a bit.
Lately I’ve been loving Korean flavors so for this recipe I leaned on gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic. Gochujang is one of my favorite condiments of the moment! There are many great options, but this is one I have currently and really like.
If you aren’t familiar, gochujang is fermented chile paste that has a mix of sweet, savory and spicy flavors and you should be able to find it at most grocery stores. If you want to learn more about Korean cooking and flavors, this podcast episode was awesome — they talked a lot about the staple ingredients and flavor profiles in Korean cooking!
To start, I mixed the paste into some melted ghee along with a few other key ingredients to create a super flavorful liquid component and then poured it all over the mix before baking to get a nice caramelization. You can certainly use butter here, but the ghee gives it extra depth of flavor so it’s a great opportunity to give it a try.
The end result has a nice kick, but I promise it’s not too hot for those of you who are spice averse. Between the crunchiness from the nuts, the salt crystals from the pretzels and the crispiness from the cereal, this really has everything covered texture-wise.
Whip up a batch to take with you on that next flight to make your snack game more interesting while keeping hunger at bay. Your seat neighbors will probbbbbably be asking you to share some.
Gochujang Snack Mix (Recipe Redux)
I put a spicy twist on the classic plane snack mix and upgraded the ingredients to be more balanced and interesting with this Gochujang Snack Mix.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 60 minutes (including time to cool)
- Yield: 8 cups 1x
- Category: Snacks
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Korean
2 cups cheddar square crackers (I used Simple Mills)
2 cups wheat square cereal
2 cups salted pretzel twists
1 cup whole raw unsalted almonds
1 cup whole raw unsalted cashews
1/3 cup melted ghee or butter (melt first, then measure)
1 Tbsp (heaping) fermented chile paste (aka gochujang)
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp granulated garlic
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients (crackers through cashews) in a large dish or bowl.
Melt the ghee in a liquid measuring cup (about one minute on high in the microwave), then add chile paste, garlic powder, soy sauce and sesame oil and stir with a fork until well combined.
Pour the liquid over the snack mix and toss well to completely coat (it takes a minute or two). Transfer to a large foil-lined baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cool completely before transferring to an airtight dish or freezer bag.
- This mix will likely keep for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to four months.
- If you like heat, increase the amount of gochujang to 1.5-2 Tbsp.
Keywords: healthy travel snacks, gochujang, healthy chex mix, recipe redux