By bringing your own food, you can save money and eat healthier. Both of these things are important to me so they are a priority when going on a trip. Plus, I like to have something ready to go when the hunger bug hits and not have to stop somewhere to get something to eat.
Here are my tips for packing food for a road trip:
As I have written about before, I am obsessed with Google docs and use those and paper to write everything down so that I do not forget anything. A week or so before we leave, I plan out what we need for the trip in terms of food and make a list. I think about if we need to bring any meals, if we need to eat the meal in the car or not, if our hotel has a fridge and/or microwave, etc. I think about how long we will be gone and how much we will need.
2. Best foods for traveling- snacks-Fresh fruits- apples, oranges, bananas, etc.
-Fresh vegetables- celery, carrots, mini bell peppers
-Bars- protein, granola bars, etc.
-Crackers- we like whole-grain crackers and goldfish for trips
-Beef jerky- my husband loves beef jerky for trips because it is filling and an easy snack to eat in the car
-Nuts- we like packing nuts because they are filling and good for you
-For my toddler- pouches, dry cereal, bars, energy bites
-Chips/candy for a vacation treat- yep, even a dietitian eats junk food on a road trip
Extra® Gum 35-stick pack from Walgreens (you can find them right in the checkout line) because it comes with a lot so we do not run out on our trips! After our meals or whenever, we just pass the package around and there is more than enough to go around! We like the Extra® Gum Spearmint and the Extra® Gum Polar Ice®. Even better, the package is made with durable, recycled packaging.
3. Best foods for traveling- meals-Homemade pasta salad with beans, cheese or chicken for protein- pack in plastic containers and bring plastic forks so you can throw away once you are done.
-Sandwiches- we have brought ham sandwiches or PB and J on trips before and this works well.
-Egg casseroles- when we went to Castaway Bay, my sister brought an awesome Mexican egg casserole for breakfast which stored well in the mini fridge and we just heated it up the next morning and ate on paper plates.
-Healthy fast food- we often try to bring our meals but sometimes, we do not feel like it or it just does not work out. We do not mind stopping at a place like Subway for a pretty healthy meal.
4. Prepare the food ahead of timeThe night before we leave, I pack up all of the food that does not need to be refrigerated in a bag so I have it ready to go. Anything that is perishable, I chop up the night before such as our veggies and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge. I make a section of all the food I need in the fridge so that I can just load it into the cooler the next day. I feel so much better when I am prepared. I can go a little crazy packing for a trip!
5. Pack in up in a cooler or reusable bagRight before you go, pack up all of your food. Sometimes, we take a cooler but sometimes, we just take an insulated reusable bag. I like these because once the food is gone, they fold up easily and do not take up as much room as a cooler. It depends on how far your trip is of course- food safety first!
This is what works for us for traveling! We are always working on improving the process. For example, some trips, we pack way too much. And sometimes, I accidentally put the food in the trunk and we have to pull over because my daughter is screaming for snacks! I love traveling with my family and it makes the craziness of getting ready for a trip so worth it.