Best Foods to Pack and Eat While Traveling

Monday, November 7, 2011
After just a few days into his three-week journey, Bastyr dietetic intern Matt Keen realized he would have to expand his diet beyond beef jerky and trail mix.
Whole wheat pasta, garbonzo beans, canned diced tomatoes, mozzarella and basil
Matt Keen

5,200 miles of road, three weeks of camping and staying with friends. That’s the journey I took before moving to Seattle in August. After the first few days, I realized that beef jerky and trail mix just wouldn’t cut it. 

However, I quickly learned that it’s surprisingly easy to eat well on the road, with a little preparation and the very basics in cooking equipment: A small stove, fueled by rubbing alcohol, was my only means of cooking. 

Stopping at local grocery stores to pick up breakfast was easy: yogurt, oatmeal, raisins, walnuts and peanuts. The following is a list of other staples that sustained me along the way:

  • Peanut butter
  • Apples
  • Carrot and celery sticks
  • Dried fruits
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Bread (which keeps surprisingly well if it’s wrapped tightly and kept out of the sun)
  • Packets of tuna and salmon
  • Hard cheeses

But those foods were just what I always had on hand. Interspersing these occasionally with farmers market tomatoes, greens, peaches and whatever other produce I could get my hands on, left me not wanting for variety or flavor.

For those of you who want even more of a challenge, try roasting pumpkin seeds or baking kale chips before venturing off. Traveling doesn’t have to mean solely eating out of a can; fresh food can easily fit into your plans. More great travel recipes and tips can be found at BackpackingChef.com.

Matt Keen, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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