How to Stock Up Your Kitchen Pre-Travel for Less Post-Travel Stress
Vacation season is upon us! I’m super pumped about the vacations we have planned for this summer, including a first-time trip to Portugal. Traveling is a serious love of mine. I find freedom and connection in learning new places and observing how humans live differently. When I’m on a trip, I feel like an entirely different part of my brain is lit up, and I have boundless energy to explore. Vacation highs are a so real.
But, the post-trip lows are real too.
How do you typically feel when you return from a trip? I know some people can’t wait to get back home to their routines, but that’s usually not the case for me. I am no stranger to the vacation blues. After most trips, no matter the length, I’m typically sad for a couple days about returning to regularly scheduled programming. It’s gotten a lot easier to deal with because I’ve learned to expect it, and I’ve discovered strategies to help make the transition easier.
I usually give others a heads up so they can expect it too (this is critical for me). I also realized that getting myself ready for the return transition before I travel is immensely helpful. This means having a couple clean work outfits picked and ready to wear (including underwear!) so I don’t find myself lugging clothes to the laundromat hours after getting off the plane. This strategy also applies to food! Usually after a trip, I’m burned out on restaurant food and am craving simple and light home-cooked meals. To avoid the stress of needing to grocery shop immediately post travel, I like to stock up on key ingredients before the trip that won’t spoil while I’m away. And this doesn’t just mean pasta, butter and eggs, though they are clutch for throwing together a quick meal.
Check out my list of key “ingredient categories” to stock up on, with a couple examples of each. These ingredients are super versatile and can be used in many different ways for healthy, nourishing meals. Plus, they last a while with proper storage. So even though you might be a little down after returning from a two-week romp through Thailand, you can least spend more time resting and less time stressing about needing to do all the adulting things right away. You win!
And lastly, if you have any tips and recs for Portugal, please holler at me, I’m putting together a list. :)
Foods to Stock Up on Pre-Travel:
1. Whole grains and legumes
Especially after travel, my body craves fiber-filled foods to get things moving again. Anyone else know what I mean? Grain items like quinoa, bulgur and whole wheat pasta are easy to cook and they keep for several months. Same for legumes! Beans and lentils are good in almost anything - soups, salads, and noodle dishes (this pasta with chickpeas recipe is a fave).
2. Canned and jarred staples
These last (almost) forever! And you can find so many different foods that are canned or jarred. Canned tomatoes save me time and time again. Throw in some sardines, capers, garlic and spaghetti noodles and you have a complete meal! Don’t forget about canned or boxed broth - stock up and you can have soup at anytime. Plus, nut butters!
3. Frozen fruits and veg
Full of nutrients, inexpensive, they keep for a long time, AND there’s so much variety with frozen produce now. Use frozen greens and carrots for soups, berries and cauliflower for smoothies, and peas for fried rice.
4. Fresh vegetables?! Yes!
You don’t have to get rid of all your fresh produce before a trip! I’ve found that some veggies will keep fine in the fridge for up to two weeks. Cabbage, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, kale - they’ll all keep well. Wrap hearty greens in a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out in the fridge.
5) Other staples (not pictured)
Lots of other items popped up in my head after I took these photos - miso, eggs, hard cheeses, nuts!
Have ideas for other long-lasting foods to stock up before traveling? Share ‘em in the comments!