11 Secret Snacks Dietitians Stash in Their Bags

Roast your own chickpeas using whatever seasonings you like, then pop them in a bag and take them on the road. (iStockPhoto)

If anyone knows how to eat healthy in any situation, it’s a registered dietitian. Whether at a conference or on a plane, these professionals sneakily stash away snacks in case they get hungry. Here are 11 of their picks:

Almond Tins

Nuts are a go-to snack among dietitians. Joan Salge Blake, clinical associate professor at Boston University and author of “Nutrition & You,” for instance, says she keeps a little tin of almonds “in every pocketbook, briefcase and backpack” when she travels. “They are rich in protein, fiber, vitamin E and phytochemicals, and are shelf-stable so I never leave home without them,” she says. “If my travel plans are delayed, I always fall back on my yummy almonds to get me to my destination without a hungry horror show.”

Homemade Muffin and Nut Butter

Some dietitians like to have a more substantial snack with them. Sarah Thornton, a digestive health blogger at TheTolerantTummy.com, likes to tote along a homemade high-fiber carrot apple muffin paired with a single serving packet of almond butter. “This is my go-to snack because the combination of protein, healthy fats and fiber keeps me full for hours,” she says. “Plus, it’s easy to eat in the hustle and bustle of airports, doesn’t require refrigeration and survives intact despite my packed-to-the-brim bag.”

An Oatmeal Packet

Mandy Enright, creator of the couples nutrition blog and podcast “Nutrition Nuptials,” carries an instant oatmeal packet, nut butter packet and trail mix containing dried fruit and nuts. “As long as hot water is around, I’ve got a fiber and protein-loaded snack to keep me feeling full and satisfied for hours,” says Enright, who sometimes eats all the ingredients together and sometimes eats them incrementally. “Since this snack doesn’t require any refrigeration,” she adds, “it can live in my purse until a hunger emergency comes up.”

Homemade Trail Mix

Many dietitians, including Elizabeth Ward, author at BetterIsTheNewPerfect.com, tuck away homemade trail mix in their bags. Ward prefers to make hers from whole-grain cereal, peanuts and raisins or dried cranberries. “I always have these ingredients in my house and I just throw them all in a sandwich bag before I leave on a trip,” she says. “If I’m in a pinch and can’t have a proper meal, my trail mix covers three food groups and I feel satisfied.”

Whole Fruits

Whole fruits are one of the easiest snacks to tuck away in your bag. Just take it from Malina Malkani, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “At any given time, you can usually find a clementine or banana in my purse when I’m dashing out the door,” she says. “Whole fruits are convenient traveling companions because they pack a ton of vitamins and minerals into a portable package and they provide fiber to help keep me satisfied.”

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Sandwich

One of the most intriguing sandwich options comes from Jenna Gorham of Jenna Gorham Nutrition Consulting, LLC, who makes a peanut butter and strawberry sandwich on whole-grain bread for when she’s traveling by plane. “It’s filling, satisfying and a healthier choice that most options you’ll find at the airport,” she explains.


Sarah Pflugradt of Salubrious RD carries grapes for her plane rides. “For approximately 100 calories per cup, they fill me up and double as a hydration source,” she says. Plus, she adds, “you can’t get through security with water, but you can take grapes!”

Roasted Chickpeas

Danielle Stadelman, a corporate wellness dietitian in the greater Los Angeles area, satisfies her inner chip craving by noshing on a handful of crunchy and portable roasted chickpeas. “Only half a cup provides 7.5 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, in addition to providing a little bit of every vitamin and mineral,” Stadelman says. She prefers to make her own roasted chickpeas with some basic seasoning and olive oil (roast for 40 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit). You can dress your roasted chickpeas spicy or sweet – the combinations are endless.

Dried Mangos

Samara Abbott loves keeping a bag of dried mango with no added sugar on hand. “Dried mango is perfect for an afternoon carb craving and it’s also high in fiber,” she says. “Sometimes I will pair that with some almonds if I need a heavier snack.”

Dates Stuffed With Almonds

Rahaf Al Bochi, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition, totes along one of my son’s favorite snacks, which I used to bring on long plane rides. “I open up each medjool date, take out the pit and place a couple of almonds inside,” she says. “It’s the perfect snack because it gives me a surge of energy from the date’s natural sugars and keeps me full from the protein and healthy fats in the almonds.”

Pretzels and Almond Butter

Bonnie Taub-Dix, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of “Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table,” always travels with a 1-ounce packet of almond butter. That way, she can use it to top pretzels on a plane or baked chips at a conference. “Almond butter is a food I pretty much eat daily at home as well,” she says. “Whether swirled in my oatmeal or topped on my whole-grain toast, it provides healthy fats along with protein to help me feel full and satisfied.”

Toby Amidor, Contributor

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, has contributed to U.S. News since 2013, discussing nutrition trends,…  Read moreToby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, has contributed to U.S. News since 2013, discussing nutrition trends, food safety and healthy cooking. She is a Wall Street Journal best-selling cookbook author of “Smart Meal Prep for Beginners,” “The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook,” “The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook” and “The Greek Yogurt Kitchen.” Toby is also a founding contributor to FoodNetwork.com’s Healthy Eats blog, has an “Ask the Expert” column in Today’s Dietitian Magazine and contributes to national publications including Shape.com, MensJournal.com and SparkPeople.com. She has also appeared on the Dr. Oz Show and Coffee With America, and has been quoted in hundreds of national publications including FoxNews.com, Greatist, Cooking Light, NBC News, Reader’s Digest and many more. For 10 years, Toby taught at a culinary school in New York City, and she is currently an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and Hunter School of Urban Public Health, where she teaches food service management. In 2018, Toby received the coveted Media Excellence Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her blog has also been ranked as a best healthy living blog by Healthline for numerous years. In her spare time, she can be found playing competitive tennis through the U.S. Tennis Association. Follow Toby and her cutting-edge nutrition information on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, and connect with her on Linkedin.

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