Jul. 7. 2016
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

As you’re reading this, I’m in Park City Utah to co-host the Soulstice Retreat with the amazing team of Albion Fit! We have about 90 amazing guests coming for a week of fitness, health education, nutrition and wellness workshops, community gatherings, delicious food, and an atmosphere and backdrop that will rival any postcard of mountains. I’ve never been to Utah so I’m incredibly excited to breathe in that fresh mountain air and share my passion with these folks. You can follow along on my retreat on Snapchat and Instagram! First things first, I get asked about how to travel healthfully all the time, but what about the carry-on? What do I actually take on planes and recommend you do as well to land feeling amazing, energized, and looking great. Let’s unpack my bag and I’ll show ya!

Fly well.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m the annoying person who gets up every hour to go to the bathroom because I’m drinking ALL the water I can get my hands on since hydration is KEY. The planes atmosphere is incredibly drying to our skin but also to our bodies, so be sure to keep hydrated with water (and some boosters below).


  • Raw nuts and seeds. My favorites are a mix of brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and pistachios. I like to mix in a little shredded coconut flake (the thick pieces without added sugar).
  • 70%+ dark chocolate (just in case you have a sweet tooth!)
  • Raw veggies like celery, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, etc. Try to eat these within the first couple of hours or use a cooler to keep chilled.
  • Green powder packets. My favorite is the Super Elixir Alkalising Greens travel packs. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients…plus, it tastes really good and mixes well in a water bottle with a good shake! Get your greens even on a cross country flight!
  • Plant-based protein powders. I never eat airplane food or food at the airport, but I especially avoid their proteins! Who knows where they source eggs, fish, etc. Plus they rarely have tofu, tempeh or lentils to offer vegetarians. Protein powder travel packs are easy to pack and ensure you stay fueled and satiated, plus you just have to add cold water. I’ve been on a kick lately with Super Elixir Nourishing Protein in the chocolate flavor, and they have perfect travel size packs too! p.s. Super Elixir has a really great special offer for the NS community that you can find at the bottom!
  • Tea and water flavorings. A new favorite on the go tea company I stumbled upon is Pique Tea – you literally pour the tea contents into a mug and add hot water! So amazing and no mess for travel. I also adore this local Nashville company called Everly. You add a packet to water, shake, and drink vitamins and minerals with no artificial anything.


  • Thermal water face mist – this is my favorite kind 
  • If I’m on a long flight (8+ hours) I’ll put on my Tata Harper Resurfacing Face Mask and keep it on for a good hour or two, then rinse off in the sink, moisturize, spritz the water spray on and say hello hydration!
  • Glasses. Any fellow contact wearers get insanely dry eyes while traveling? Bring your glasses and switch out the contacts for a bit or use eye droppers to refresh!
  • Hand sanitizer spray
  • Bliss eye mask


  • I always pack an extra pair of lightweight clothes because you NEVER know with flights and they can get cancelled or delayed.
  • Journal
  • Computer. Especially if my travel is work related, I’ll maximize my time and get to work. If traveling for leisure, I’ll read!
  • Books you love
  • Music


What are your favorite carry on items? I hope I didn’t miss any of your awesome ideas, but I’ll be traveling so much in September for the #NScookbook tour that I’ll use your tips then! Want more ideas on how to travel healthfully, download my Healthy Travels eBook with a travel survival kit, tips, and more tricks!

xx McKel

This post is in partnership with Super Elixir, but all opinions about the product are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Nutrition Stripped!