Preparing Healthy Meals On a Boat

BoatingPreparing healthy meals when you’re out boating can be difficult. That’s why people tend to stock up on prepackaged, processed foods before boating trips. Those foods are handy, but they are often unhealthy and lacking in nutritional value. With a few adjustments though, it is easy to have convenient, healthy meals, even while out on the water.

Let me show you a sample menu to give you an example. The following suggested menu items require only a cooler, a pot and a single burner camp stove. There is minimal cooking ahead of time for some of these meals. For longer trips, one might consider purchasing a mini-fridge. However, power availability and price are considerations. If a boat can handle a mini-fridge and there is room for it, one can usually pick them up for between 70 and 150 dollars. A used mini-fridge should cost even less.


A healthy breakfast consists of a minimal amount of cooked foods, so this meal should not be difficult. Fresh fruit salad with a fat free yogurt is one idea. This takes up very little space in the cooler, as fruit can be stored at room temperature until it is cut. Low-fat granola cereal with low-fat milk is another idea that requires minimal cold storage. For those working hard on boats and in need of protein, bring some eggs and cook them without butter in a non-stick pan. This can be done in even a soup pot, so there is no need to bring extra pans.


Healthy sandwiches make for a convenient lunch option. Try fat-free chicken breast with guacamole spread on whole wheat bread. For cold days, prepare a low-fat stew ahead of time and store it in Ziploc bags. It can be heated on the boat by pouring it into an empty pot or boiling it in water while it is in the bag. Busy fishermen can make an easy, healthy lunch by bringing along a bag of salad and a can of tuna. Put the plain tuna on top of the salad, then mix with a low-fat dressing. Or if you want to reduce your exposure to mercury, you can substitute another canned fish like canned salmon.


Healthy meals that can be prepared ahead of time and heated in Ziploc bags in boiling water include foods such as cooked wheat pasta with a chunky marinara sauce, mixed vegetables with grilled salmon steak and vegetable soup. Almost any healthy meal can be prepared on board a boat this way. It may not have the same consistency as a meal that went straight from the oven to a plate, but it will have all of the same flavors and nutrients. For a healthy take on a comfort food, bring veggie burgers, sizzle them in a pan and serve them on wheat bread.


Healthy snacks are perhaps the easiest food to prepare on board a boat. Trail mixes with seeds, nuts and dried berries are great. However, one should be careful not to consume too much of a trail mix if the boat trip is leisurely. Seeds and nuts tend to have a lot of calories. On the other hand, if the people on board are going to be burning many calories, trail mix will help them keep up their energy. A healthy snack that is lacking in extreme calories is yogurt. Eat a little yogurt with fruit and granola. Lastly, go for a little treat with low-fat oatmeal raisin cookies. The oats and raisins in these cookies are healthy. The right recipe will minimize excess sugar and butter.


There is no healthier drink than water. It has no calories and is necessary for the body to function properly. However, it has no nutrients. Orange juice is a good fruit juice that is packed with Vitamin C and goes well with breakfast. For something warm, go with green tea, which is packed with antioxidants.

As always, when preparing meals on a boat, safety comes first. If there is not enough room for a stove burner to be kept away from fuel, go with room temperature options or store soup in thermoses for the trip. Pack food carefully so it stays at the right storage temperature for the duration of the excursion.


Shel S. is a freelance writer working with Harris Flotebote, a performance pontoon boat manufacturer.

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  4. Chinta says:

    Agree with most of the ideas and for sure it is good to have mini fridge on the deck as it gives you more choice of having healthier and fresher food.

  5. Isabel says:

    These are very good ideas but I don’t like to go on boats.

  6. Melissa says:

    I love boats, all these meals are convenient and easy to make. thanks.

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