(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The upcoming holiday season means trips over the river and through the woods to family and friends and if you’re hoping to avoid meltdowns you may want to keep a few snacks nearby. Local Chef and Culinary Instructor Janon Bourgeois offered some helpful tips and “hacks” for holiday travel.

She said to choose healthy options like veggie crisps or popcorn and don’t waste time or effort portioning it out into individual bags. She added that bringing the big bag of snacks in your suitcase saves you room for when you return from vacation and your hosts inevitably give you something to bring back.

Instead of soda cans, select drinks with resealable tops and use flavor packets to make water more appealing. To save room in the cooler and create less mess, freeze frozen yogurt tubes or string cheese and use those items to keep your drinks cool instead of ice.

Chef Janon said fruit is another great option but choose produce that is in season for the best flavor and durability. She said currently pears, “cuties” (clementines), and bananas are a good choice. Berries and grapes should be avoided at this time.

She also provided two fun and festive snack recipes.

The Turkey Dinner Snack-Able

  • Holiday Shaped Charcuterie
  • Non-Crumbly Crackers
  • Dried Cranberries

Coconut Cornbread Cakes

  • Avocado Oil Spray
  • 1 Box Jiffy Honey Corn Muffin Mix
  • 1 half can Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 bag Peanut Butter M&Ms (shareable size)

Holiday Stress/Cheat Version- HIGH ELEVATION READY
Yield: 6 Muffins


  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Lightly spray a paper-lined cupcake tin with avocado oil
  3. In a large bowl, using a spatula, combine the muffin mix and coconut milk. Once fully combined, gently fold in the M&Ms or other ingredients (see variations below) and evenly portion them between the cupcake liners (portion scoop recommended).
  4. Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on oven and elevation) until the bottoms and edges are golden brown. The centers may still be a bit wobbly but should settle once they cool.
  5. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Reheat in a toaster oven or air fryer.

VARIATIONS: Switch coconut milk for a can of pumpkin puree with a dash of vanilla extract and cinnamon. You can also swap the M&Ms for pumpkin seeds or roasted nuts.