I will not be the first one to point out Norway is a bit expensive. In fact, we have met only one couple who said it was kinda OK, but those were from Iceland which discredits their judgement a little.
We were not feeling hungry, had no waste and nearly no leftovers, did not have to buy much in Norway
Our journey started in Estonia and we were travelling by car with a bit of free space in the trunk, so I remembered collective wisdom and decided to stock up on food for the journey. Our total bill for stocking was around 200EUR for 10 days and another 30 we spent in Norway on some really miscellaneous stuff.
Was my planning a success – yes! We were not feeling hungry, had no waste and nearly no leftovers, did not have to buy much in Norway (if we went real hardcore, could have saved another 20EUR, but who needs a life without occasional beer?).
Could it be better? – yes! Better variety, less useless snacks, more nutritious choices and controlled portions would not necessarily mean we would save any money, but would make a healthier menu.
What did I consider when planning?
- Will we be able to cook?
We were couchsurfing, which meant a yes for this question.
You would need some pretty simple recipe and really basic long-lasting foods. My go-to choices would be: pasta+chopped canned tomatoes+onions; rolled oats+cinnamon+dried berries; rice+canned tuna in brine+onions.
Watchouts: even if you have a host for every day of the trip, and are sure there will be a kitchen waiting for you, you still might not cook every single day (was every other day for us) – do not overstock
- Can we have a hot meal option for lunch?
Every gas station or café would easily give you some boiling water, this means any instant food works. We opted for instant ramen noodles and instant mashed potatoes. To add substance to the meal we had sausage and oyster sauce to pair with noodles and onion and ham to spice up the potatoes.
Tip: smoked meats and meat produce work best, they have the longest life – would last up to 72 hours w/o a fridge after you open the package.
- Breakfast and snack need to be 3 ingredients tops and easy to prepare
Bread works good with everything and you can get it everywhere, won’t cost you too much either. My choice was rye bread with canned fish (any variety will do really) for a picnic stop on the road trips and peanut butter + jelly for breakfast or snack on the hike.
- It’s a long ride, you will need some munchies in the car
I opted for an assortment of candy and cereal bars, some Lays chips, gummy bears and red Bull for whoever was driving.
Watchout: once the pack is open you will eat all of it, that’s good to remember when you buy 200gr lays packs. Works the same with candy bars – opt for smaller sizes: you do not need that much calories and you will satisfy the craving all the same.
- Try to balance
Sausage, peanut butter, canned fish in oil and salted snacks are pretty high on fat, you might want to add a bit more protein there, and where chicken breast, turkey, beans, etc are not readily available, protein powder or protein bars can be a solution as good as any.
Check out a couple of typical days in Norway
judging by the numbers, you could have a pretty balanced diet at a very low cost while you travel. It will not look like insta pics of healthy food prep but it will work with your body well enough
One might argue that this is a lot of food especially for a girl with a NEAT of 1800 kCal, but hey, we were hiking for 20-30 km almost daily and taking bike rides for 100km and on the days when activity was low we were spending most of the time in the car literally surrounded with food 😇
And while you see a lot of junk in there the macros is still pretty good on the average basis. Again, your body does not know a difference between a cereal bar and a snickers bar, it recognizes fats, proteins and carbs so any option is good as long as you feel satisfied and do not overeat!
What would I change?
- Smaller portions of sweet and salty snacks – this would cut about 200 kCal from the daily menu
- Add fruit, veggies and milk produce – this would make the whole thing more expensive (I’d say in Norway that would cost us another 20-30 EUR) as you will need to buy those on the ground, but it will be more enjoyable
Well, judging by the numbers, you could have a pretty balanced diet at a very low cost while you travel. It will not look like insta pics of healthy food prep but it will work with your body well enough, it just takes some planning.
Food is not divided into universally good and bad for you. Sure, fresh steamed chicken breast is better than sausage that has been riding in your car’s trunk for a few days, but when options are limited you can still get this shit right by balancing macronutrients and managing portions. Your body runs on carbs, fats and proteins and not some vague clean-eating concepts.
Mind you, you might get a bit bored by lack of variety, but come on, that avo+ricotta toast will taste even better once you are back to a place where you can afford one 🥑