3-Day Cooler Bag & TSA Info

Flying and travel with a keto, takes a lot of preparation, organization, and work!  I’m taking 3-days worth of food with us for a 5-hour flight.  Not only do I not have to worry about delays, I don’t have to worry about cooking ketogenic meals for 2 days following our arrival.  I’m already planning on this being a busy, hectic time for us. From past experiences, I have learned that busy+hectic+not at home = mistakes while cooking keto meals!  This allows me to have one less thing to worry about.

First, here is some information that obtained directly from the TSA regarding bringing food for medical reasons on-board an airplane.

  • A cooler containing medically necessary food does NOT count as a carry-on.
  • You need to “declare” that you have food or liquids greater than 3.4oz while in the TSA security line. This means that you just have to tell the TSA agent that you have these items.
  • Coolers are recommended to be no larger than 9″ high x 14″ wide x 22″ long.  They are supposed to be placed under the seats, not in the overhead compartments.
  • Ice packs are preferred over loose ice or ice in plastic baggies.  If the ice melts, you need to keep removing the liquid.
  • You are not required to bring a letter from a physician regarding medical diets, however, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to make the process go smoothly.
  • Here is a phone # for TSA so you can call them yourself! 1-866-289-9673

This is what I am bringing…

The meals are all the same for each of the 3 days.  It was a lot easier to prep that way.  Also, they contain most of the needed fat within the meal so I do not have to worry about weighing extra oil on the side.

Strawberry yogurt + 10g coconut oil

macadamia nut doughnuts

crunchy chicken salad + 10g coconut oil

spinach bites + Walden Farms Ranch for dipping


I write on the lids of some containers (it does not work on all plastics) with a wet-erase marker so I don’t forget to give extra oil.

This is the bag all packed up!  Also included in the bag in the front pocket is a scale, jar of coconut oil, 10ml syringes for giving the oil (already filled with oil), spoon, and scraper.  The plan is to ask for a cup of hot water to melt the syringes of oil.  I also have a letter from our doctors explaining why we need all of this, just in case.


  1. You are one amazing mother. We are just starting the LGIT and will travel a great deal. Thank you very much for your extraordinarily helpful information. Thank you.

    • Thank you for the very kind compliment, however I am no different than any other monther who goes through this with their child! We are all in this together!

  2. Dawn,
    What a great post. We are traveling in a couple weeks for my daughter’s Make-a-Wish trip and my biggest concern is getting through security with all our food. This should help! Do you have any follow up? Did your travel go smoothly? I am going to need to bring cartons of whipping cream with me as well as I am not sure i will have access to any while gone. Thanks!

    • Our travel went VERY smoothly! They did read our letter, and make sure you use the ice packs, not loose ice! One mom suggested to ask the TSA agents to change their gloves before inspecting your cooler bag. Sounds like a good tip to me since they are touching so many people! You will be fine, Make sure you call ahead if you have any other questions.

  3. this is sooooo helpful! We fly out for our move next week and Im trying to get prepared…we are now in the process of fighting for his portable oxygen….traveling sure is a difficult task now…this info has definitely made things easier 🙂

    • Please share any tips on the oxygen issue that you find out! We do not have oxygen, so I have no experience in that area. I know additional info would be helpful to many people. Also, I have flown without Charlotte since our move and I recently went through security with an entire cooler filled with frozen food. No one even questioned me!

  4. You go Dawn! The very idea of travel (other than a day trip) with keto foods scares me. Thank you for the info and ideas. I hope your plane trip was a smooth one. I can’t wait until you are settled to find out how you made the macadamia donuts!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.