How to Meal Prep When You Travel

By: Amanda Belo

Summer is here and that means vacation time! You’ve been building your healthy habits leading up to summer, so do not let all your hard work creating and prioritizing healthy eating and exercise go to waste just because you’re away from home. It’s okay to indulge a little especially when tasty, regional cuisines you won’t find in your hometown are at your fingertips, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to knock yourself completely off track! All it takes is a little planning and research before you head out, so check out these TLS tips on how to meal prep when you travel!

Know Before You Go!

Are you staying in a hotel? If so, is there a microwave and/or fridge that is accessible? If so, great! You’ve got plenty of options to prepare healthy meals and sacks right when you need them. If not, bringing portable cooking appliances is an option for foods that need heating if you are staying in a hotel that allows them (e.g. electric hot plate, instant pot).

No fridge? No problem! Bring along a cooler to keep things cold and fresh – foldable if you are traveling by plane, and any size if driving to your destination. Once you arrive at the hotel, use the ice machine to fill up.  Also, scout out the area for local grocery stores close to where you’ll be staying so you can stock up when you arrive.


Think Before You Go!

Meal prep can be difficult to begin with, but sometimes we fare better when we’ve made a rough plan instead of just winging it. This can be particularly true if healthy eating is a challenge and falling off the wagon is a heartbeat away. It pays off to take every opportunity to set yourself up for success, especially when you are away from your routine environment. Try the following:

  • Write down healthy meals and snacks that you and your family like to eat, and then narrow down to choices that will be the easiest to bring along or make in the space you’ll be living in for your vacation.
  • Choose dishes that will last for more than one meal. You can always use extra meat from dinner to make lunch sandwiches the next day. Or, make a fresh salad large enough for a couple of meals.


Pack Before You Go!

Whether you’re traveling by car, plane or train, there’s plenty of healthy meal and snack options available so as to avoid fast food, price-gouging airport restaurants, gas station junk food or rest stop vending machines. Below are tips on how to pack and prepare food to have at your disposal during your travels.

Basics are good!

When you’re trying to think of a healthy snack or meal for the road, it doesn’t hurt to go back to basics! Something as simple as a sandwich can go a long way, especially on a road trip when stops may be scarce or healthy options hard to come by. They’re easy to make, easy to eat while you’re traveling, and won’t take up precious bag space! Plus, they’re versatile which means you can make a few different options to keep yourself for getting bored.

Reuse, Reuse, then Recycle!

Make use of reusable containers, brown paper bags. or resealable storage bags. These make it easy to meal prep and pack before you go! Resealable storage bags are a great space-saving option, and tupperware is great for easily bruised or damaged foods. If you’re really focused on sustainability, there are plenty of wax papers that can serve as a reuseable wrap as well!


Sometimes, it really is the little things that matter. When it comes to produce, things can get messy pretty quickly despite being a tasty, healthy snack. Cutting your produce before you hit the road just leaves you with one less thing to worry about! You’ll also have an easier time getting on a plane if you leave the sharp cutting objects at home.

Frozen vs. Fresh

For some foods, it might be best to freeze them before you travel so that it thaws out cold and fresh! These can include fruits that may bruise easily or even deli meats that you know you won’t need until later in your trip. These can also serve as temporary ice packs if you’re short on space!

Some foods, however, are best fresh. These include items such as leafy veggies or soft fruits like bananas! These may thaw out poorly, so be sure to eat them while they’re at a safe temperature.

Stock Up On Non-Perishables!

Bringing non-perishable foods ensures that you won’t have to worry about storing these items and keeping them fresh. Protein or granola bars, nuts, peanut butter crackers, or oatmeal packs are just a few ideas. Just throw them in your luggage or bag and you’re good to go!

Fruit and Vegetable Tips: Pack produce that will last you the entirety of your trip, like apples, oranges, celery and carrots. It’s a good idea to buy fruit like pears or bananas when they are less ripe so they will last longer during your trip.

Protein Tips: Be sure to prepare and season your protein in a variety of different ways so you’re not bored with what you’re eating.



What are your favorite tips on how to meal prep when you travel?
Tell us in the comments below!




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  2. Durand, F. (2011, June 22). 15 Homemade Meals You Can Carry on the Airplane. Retrieved from

Meal Planning For Vacation – Cook Once, Eat Twice. (2012, Nov. 28). Retrieved from