Food for the Road

A little planning ahead can go a long way towards making your road trip more enjoyable.

Eating a varied cuisine on the road can be a challenge – but the fact that you’re away from all the conveniences of your own kitchen, doesn’t mean you have to settle for eating freeze dried meals, canned entrees and “just add hot water “ foods like ramen and oatmeal. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the standard staples like cereal, cold cuts or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and, of course, hamburgers and hot dogs. Although these foods are reliable standbys, they should complement your meal plans, not be your only choices. It’s easy to enjoy a wide variety of foods on the road, as long as you are prepared.

The real trick to enjoying great meals on the road is to do as much prep work at home as possible before you leave so you can make sure mealtime isn’t boring or predictable. Doing your prep work in advance will also help you cut down on the handling of raw foods and help you minimize the hassle and mess of cooking when you’re on the road.

Before You Leave Home

  • Stock up on zip top bags (preferably the freezer type – they’re tougher), heavy-duty aluminum foil and recyclable aluminum containers, since they’re lightweight to carry and limit the number of dishes you have to wash. Plus, foil allows the flavors of the food to blend, and you won’t have to worry about anything dripping into the grill.
  • Clean meats at home to avoid having food scraps that might attract animals or rot and create a foul order.
  • Precut cantaloupe, watermelon, cheeses, and vegetables for quick snacks and easy use. Apples, grapes, string cheese, granola bars, dried fruit, raisins and nuts also make great snacks and are no-fuss.
  • Frozen veggies, dried or frozen pasta with jar sauce, meatballs and fried chicken are good “go to’s” for fast, easy meals when you’re pressed for time.
  • Don’t forget the essential condiments: mayo, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, salt, pepper, garlic and other seasonings you like. Also be sure to pack coffee, tea and hot chocolate packets as well as any powdered drink mixes you and your family enjoy.
  • Prepare your favorite dishes at home and freeze them for quick, easy meals on the road. Since you freeze them at home, they’ll also do double duty as “ice blocks” to help keep your food and drinks cold. These meals will defrost slowly, so they will keep fresh for days. Getting ready for a meal is hassle-free with no pots or pans to clean.

Browse all of our Food for the Road stories.

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