Healthy Travels: The Food Packing List

Happy 1st day of July everyone! I hope that the warmer days full of sunshine are treating you well so far. I have been away from home quite a bit this summer (St. Louis, Orlando, Iceland, Sweden and Norway so far), and still have more traveling left to do!

Norway{Bergen, Norway}

One of the biggest struggles people run into is staying on top of their nutrition and exercise plans while out-of-town, the state, or the country – and I am certainly no exception to that rule. However, I prefer keeping my routine as best I can so that I feel nourished, strong, and ready to tackle the meetings and adventures I have lined up. Therefore it makes sense (and comes as no surprise to those of you who know me) that my trip planning includes a packing list solely for food!

food to pack

{Ya know…just organizing some of the food to pack for my trip to Scandinavia. Totally normal…} 

Generally it is important for me to have a few staples on hand especially for breakfast and snacks so that 1) I am not spending an insane amount of $$ eating out every meal, and 2) I can fall back on them wherever my travels take me without worrying about having to locate a grocery store that carries EXACTLY what I want. This summer it is more important than ever for me to have packed food for my domestic and international trips because I am dieting for an upcoming bodybuilding show. Yup, secret is out! With my RD-inspired food packing preparation I was ready to weigh out food next to a church in Reykjavik after landing in Iceland post red-eye…and I was all set for my long days at the Karolinska Institute with a massive cooler full of the day’s meals!

Food to Travel{Not sure if my travel companions were making fun of me or impressed with my dedication when they asked to take a picture of me weighing out my food on the sidewalk…}

I have been fortunate to have access to a refrigerator, microwave, and grocery stores everywhere I traveled. Occasionally I even had a full kitchen available! This made the whole experience a LOT easier as I was able to turn my hotel rooms into makeshift kitchens, buy/store perishables upon arrival and even do some “cooking”.

Make Shift Kitchen{Typical set up and food ready to go!}

So back to the main point, what the heck did I actually pack? Here is what made the cut.

The Checked Bag:

  • Oats (I stored mine in an empty plastic rice container instead of the typical cardboard tube so they wouldn’t get ruined during travel)
  • Sweet Potatoes (the ones in plastic ready to be microwaved)
  • Microwavable Rice and Lentil pouches (Tasty Bite makes some great options)
  • Tuna and Salmon pouches – huge lifesaver!
  • Peanut Butter (Don’t leave home without your Krema!)
  • Almond Butter
  • Raw nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.)
  • Protein Powder (I prefer De Novo Nutrition whey)
  • Raisins
  • Tea bags
  • Powdered Egg Whites (awkward to work with at first, but so glad I brought along)
  • Protein bars – for when in a super pinch with locating food!

The Carry On:

  • Pre-made and portioned meals for the travel days (overnight oats, rice and veggie dishes, protein muffins topped with peanut butter, etc.)
  • Fruit (apples because they are “tough” and can handle a bit of a beating in the suitcase and blueberries since currently in season)
  • Greek Yogurt (single serve Chobani and Skyr didn’t cause a problem w/security)
  • Hummus (again, no issue with security)
  • Vegetables (carrots, because like the apples they hold up well to travel, and green bell peppers, because I love them!)

Keeping the cooler “cool”: Food safety is a huge concern, so here is what I did to insure my food would stay at the proper temperature while traveling.

  • Make and freeze muffins – they can be used as ice packs and will be ready to eat when thawed.
  • Empty Tupperware – fill with ice once through security to keep your food chilled for the flight!

You may get some weird looks from folks when mid-flight you rummage around in the overhead bin and emerge with a massive stash of food, but it beats airline food by a mile! Also, an added bonus to packing your own food is the inevitable fact that as you eat it up your suitcase lightens up, giving you space to bring back gifts and items from your trips!

I’d love to know – what are your must-have food items for traveling?



14 thoughts on “Healthy Travels: The Food Packing List

  1. lornemorrow says:

    Nuts – particularly mixed when traveling – brazil nuts, cashews, almonds. Genuinely aged cheddar. Landjaeger sausage. Boiled eggs. 35% lactose free whipping cream for use in coffee. Coconut oil also used in coffee. Local seasonal fruit – berries, apples, etc. – but we buy from roadside stands while driving too. As much of our water as we can pack as our water is from glacial/rainforest lake system here in Coastal BC – tastes really good! Broccoli. Electrolyte caps because we tend to salt our food less while traveling while running/walking as much or more than normal. My wife is celiac & I am lactose intolerant. So we carry those foods as emergency rations in the event that shopping is challenging in a new area. Boiled eggs are a life-saver on the road!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Wow! So do you bring a scale with you, too? And when is the show??

    I’m a breakfast protein fiend, so one thing that I’ve done on “real” trips that I actually started on backcountry trips is bring along pre-packaged quinoa flakes, cinnamon, and almonds for breakfasts. Because I’ve pre/re-packaged things, all I need to do is just put everything into a bowl and add water and fresh fruit. I do wind up with a ton of ziplocs in the end, though…

  3. sklloyd15 says:

    I need a few lessons! I like to pack essentials like PB and nuts and fruit for snacks but the muffins are genius!

  4. Tina@GottaRunNow says:

    Looks like you’re ready for some healthy eating while you’re away! I bring along small packages of nut butters when I travel. I’ve been to Norway and loved running there. Have fun traveling!

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