Nothing dampens a busy day more than a grumbling stomach and nothing to eat but eats from the convenience store. Packing your own snacks is definitely the way to go, but you have to be mindful of what you bring. You need something substantial that can hold at room temperature. That obviously eliminates a lot of options, but not all of them. Try these on-the-go snacks the next time you know you won’t have a second to spare.
1. Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwich
If this ultimate sandwich guide is any indication, most people love any meal that can be contained within two slices of bread. They can be adapted in any number of ways to suit your tastes, but travel imposes some limitations that you wouldn’t otherwise have to worry about. Martha Rose Shulman’s simple recipe, featured on The New York Times, strikes the right balance between taste and practicality. The goat cheese keeps the sandwich moist enough without making the bread too soggy, and the red peppers are satisfyingly sweet and smoky. Since there’s nothing that requires immediate refrigeration, this snack will hold up well in your bag for hours.
- 2 thick slices whole-wheat bread, or 1 ciabatta roll, split
- 1½ ounces goat cheese, room temperature
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs
- ⅓ to ½ large roasted red pepper
Directions: If using bread, lightly toast. If using roll, leave untoasted.
Mash goat cheese with herbs in a small bowl. Spread on each slice of bread. Top with roasted red pepper, close sandwich. Cut in half, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
2. Ranch Popcorn
If you’re a salty snack fan, this addictive popcorn from Taste of Home might be your ultimate plane food. In addition to the ranch seasoning, these munchies feature Parmesan cheese and a bit of onion powder for even more flavor. This recipe uses already popped popcorn, so you can buy some plain stuff at the store. But popping it at home is easier than you might think, because you don’t need any special equipment. You can actually make your own microwavable bag with a paper sack and a few creative folds.
- 3 quarts popped popcorn
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons ranch dressing mix
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place popcorn on a large baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over popcorn, and toss to coat. Bake popcorn until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in airtight container or zip-top bags.
3. Spanish Trail Mix
Trail mix is a natural for travel, since the ingredients are sturdy and don’t require any refrigeration. They’re often filled with chocolate and candies, which is great for those with a sweet tooth, but savory snackers shouldn’t have to feel left out. This Spanish-inspired mix from Mark Bittman, featured on Bon Appétit, infuses the classic nibble with the salty bite of smoked chorizo and Manchego cheese. It’s also got just a hint of sweetness from some dried fruit.
- 2 cups raw almonds
- 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 cup (⅓-inch-cube) diced apricot
- 1 cup (⅓-inch-cube) diced pitted dates
- ½ cup (⅓-inch-cube) diced smoked Spanish chorizo
- ½ cup (⅓-inch-cube) diced Manchego cheese
Directions: Toast almonds in a large dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, shaking occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add smoked paprika and orange zest. Toss to combine. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool. Toss nuts with apricots, dates, chorizo, and cheese. Store leftovers in refrigerator.
4. Protein Bars
Packaged protein bars make a great on-the-go snack for busy folks, but it’s an expensive habit to pick up. Food Network’s Alton Brown created a version that’s completely satisfying and pretty easy to make. Protein powder, peanut butter, and tofu combine for a triple dose of protein. A combination of dried fruits and oat bran means you’ll get a lot more fiber than if you went the purchased route. They also happen to taste phenomenal.
- 1 cup soy protein powder
- ½ cup oat bran
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- ¼ cup wheat germ
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ½ cup dried blueberries
- ½ cup dried apricots
- 1 (12.3-ounce) package silken tofu
- ½ cup unfiltered apple juice
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ⅔ cup natural peanut butter
- Canola oil
Directions: Line bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with parchment paper, and lightly grease with canola oil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, combine protein powder, oat bran, flour, wheat germ, and salt. Set aside. Coarsley chop dried fruits, and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk tofu until smooth. Add apple juice, brown sugar, eggs, and peanut butter, one at a time. Blend to combine after each addition. Add protein powder mixture, and blend to combine. Fold in dried fruit. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake 35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Serve.
5. Muesli Snacking Cookies
Satisfy your sweet tooth with The Kitchn’s muesli cookies. They’re sort of like the oatmeal raisin goodies you grew up with, but these treats are more substantial. They skip the butter and swap in a creamy nut spread, plus there’s whole-wheat flour and oats. They might be the most wholesome cookies you’ll ever make, but you’d never know it from the delicious taste.
The full recipe yields 16 cookies, which might seem like a lot. Instead of trying to scale down for fewer cookies, bake what you need and freeze the rest of the dough. Scoop out portions on a small baking, pop into the freezer just to solidify, then transfer them to a zip-top bag.
- ½ cup natural nut butter
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1¾ cups unsweetened muesli
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium pot set over medium heat, melt nut butter and honey until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in cinnamon, salt, and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Allow to cool, then mix in egg. Add muesli, flour, and baking powder, and stir to just combine.
Scoop out 2-tablespoon portions of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly onto baking sheet. Bake until edges turn golden and cookies brown underneath, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cookies keep, covered, up to 5 days.
6. Mini Mushroom and Sausage Quiches
For those who need something a little bit more substantial, eggs are a great choice. You could go with hard boiled, but they can be sort of tasteless. Whip up Eating Well’s mini quiches for a portable snack that’s anything but bland. They’re filled with sausage, cheese, and mushrooms, for a super savory flavor. And since these bites don’t feature a fussy crust, they come together in no time.
- 8 ounces breakfast sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup sliced scallions
- ¼ cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 5 eggs
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup milk
Directions: Position rack in center of oven, and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage until golden and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Add oil to pan, then add mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl with sausage. Let cool 5 minutes, then stir in scallions, cheese, and pepper.
Whisk eggs, whites, and milk in a medium bowl. Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle 1 heaping tablespoon of sausage mixture into each cup. Bake until tops just begin to brown, 25 minutes. Let cool on rack for 5 minutes. Then remove quiches, and let cool completely. Serve.