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Food to Pack for Road Trips

Food to Pack for Road Trips - Tips for Packing, Food for When You Have a Cooler, and Road Trip Staples. Bonus: Cooking While Camping

Food to Pack for Road Trips

You’ve been driving for hours.  Your only food options are McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or a gas station, and all you can think is that you really, really, want something homemade and flavorful.  You’re in a food desert.  If this sounds awful, horrible, nightmarish, imagine how you’d feel after several days of barren food options.  How can you protect yourself from this tragic situation?  Pack your own food.  We’ve already talked about how packing food saves money, and it can definitely give you healthier and more flavorful food options.  What, though, can you pack?  Today we’ll look at a round-up of travel-friendly foods from around the blogosphere.

Tips

  • If you’re planning on cooking on your trip, do a little menu planning.  Narrow your meals down to a few options that use similar cooking utensils / ingredients.
  • Pack fresh fruits and vegetables that travel well for snacks, such as apples,  baby carrots, and celery.  Remember that bananas tend to make everything else in their container or bag smell and taste like bananas, especially as they ripen.
  • Bring plenty of water, and stock up on dry goods like peanut butter, bread, tea bags, and coffee.
  • If you want to cook with milk, or have access to a refrigerator one night and want to make overnight oats or chia pudding, try packing shelf stable milk substitutes (like almond or soy milk).  If you can’t go through an entire carton in one meal, look for smaller, individual size boxes.
  • If you’re packing canned goods– don’t forget your can opener.  Ditto for wine bottles and a corkscrew, as well as beer bottles and a bottle opener.

Food that needs a cooler

Some food, as we all know, needs refrigeration.  It might be tempting to completely write these foods off, call them ‘driving incompatible,’ and stick to granola bars and muffins.  However, if you, like me, crave fresh food, these foods will be perfectly fine on days that you have a chilled cooler.  Some of these foods need a little preparation, but are all portable and work well for day one of your trip.  If you happen to be staying in a hotel along your route with a mini-kitchen or fridge, keep these snacks in mind your whole trip.  If nothing else, they’ll help make the first day of your road trip a little tastier and healthier.

Road trip snack-bag staples

After the ice melts in your cooler, and you’ve (hopefully) finished eating all of your cooler food, you’re probably still going to get hungry.  If you’re tired of gas station snacks, fast food, and want something homemade instead of store-bought, check out these travel-friendly foods.  Make them at home, and bring them along to snack on.

bonus: Cooking while camping

If your road trip involves camping, or if you’re just extra ambitious and plan to bring cookware with you on your vacation, here’s a few more recipes for ‘camping-friendly’ cooking from Megan and Michael over at Fresh Off the Grid.

What are your favorite foods to pack on road trips?  Let me know in the comments!

Want more food advice?  Read these:

43 thoughts on “Food to Pack for Road Trips

    • champagne-tastes says:

      thanks! I want to eat healthy if I’m sitting in a car all day.. and you’re bound to get some unhealthy fast food along the way anyway, so this helps balance everything out!

  1. Lisa | Garlic + Zest says:

    I am totally about packing food for long car rides. My family laughs at me, but when I’m offering chilled fruit and cheese sticks or custom trail mix – they’re happy to have me along! You’ve got some great ideas here!

    • champagne-tastes says:

      Thanks! I started looking for myself because I have a trip coming up too 🙂 I hope you can use!

    • champagne-tastes says:

      Thanks! Me too- I’m always on the lookout for packable food. And no problem- it looks DELICIOUS!

  2. Kathryn @ Family Food on the Table says:

    Such a great round-up — both the tips and recipes! Just in time for all the summer travel, too… we always are loaded up with food when we go on vacation. Love being able to control our snacks and food even when we’re away. Thanks for including me and I can’t wait to try out some of these other recipes!

    • champagne-tastes says:

      Thanks! And you’re so welcome, thanks for sending it my way! I’m going to try and make as many of these as I can for my trip too!

  3. Liz @ Ready to Yumble says:

    Love your suggestions! I’m not big on fast food anyway, but ESPECIALLY for breakfast, I just….can’t. These are great ideas for all meals! Thanks for including my coffee! 🙂 BTW, how did you put together those cool collages? I love that you get a preview of the title when you scroll over.

    • champagne-tastes says:

      Oh thanks! I know.. I despise fast food for breakfast! That’s just the default gallery in my theme- with the images set to medium instead of thumbnail. 🙂
      And you’re welcome! I’m gonna make your coffee soon!

  4. Jessica @ Citrus Blossom Bliss says:

    What a genius idea! I love all of your suggestions for meal ideas. It can get so sad and gross to eat at restaurants all the time, even if you’re only on a short road trip. I always feel better when I eat mostly homemade/fresh foods and have an out-to-eat meal every once in awhile. Thanks for this!

  5. Kim @ Three Olives Branch says:

    Great tips! We also tend to stop at grocery stores for food instead of fast food, etc. so that we can get fresh options. I tend to avoid typical snacky foods as they are not my thing, so I bring a cooler most of the time as well and love to pack up hummus!

  6. Jill says:

    This is a fantastic post full of recipes I want to try and other blogs I want to check out – especially Fresh Off the Grid. Pinning for reference. I always buy Corn Nuts on road trips for some reason, LOL We pack homemade cookies, meat and cheese wraps, orange slices, veggies and hummus, sting cheese… lots of good things.

  7. Meeta says:

    A great post. We are not much for freeway restaurants etc. We prefer packing a nice roadtrip picnic. Just loving all your suggestions here.

  8. Mary says:

    I wish my parents had had these tips when I was a kid. I drank lots of lukewarm milk that the cooler never quite kept cold enough 🙂

    Now my favorite road trip snack to bring are the homemade kind bars I make. Such a great energizing snack.

  9. Tara says:

    Love this! We are about to go on a 12 hr trip in a couple of weeks so will definitely look into the recipes, particularly the popcorns 🙂 Such great ideas.

  10. Meghan says:

    This is seriously fantastic. Just thought you should know.

    I really need to work on my road trip food game. We mostly just raid gas stations. 🙁 Great ideas!

  11. Michele Matthias says:

    I really like this post, Sarah. My husband and I will be going on a 14-hour road trip soon for a family member’s memorial and I am bookmarking this and making plans for the food. I’m will be planning some things for the hotel also. Thanks so much!

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