10 Meal Ideas for Road Trips

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We’re in the full swing of Summer chaos and as we are going on day trips and trying new things there is the constant question of, “what the heck do we do for lunch?”. Here on TheHaywireHoney we’ve shared tips for saving money on road trips to the nitty-gritty of planning them. It’s time to share specific ideas that resolve a common problem. In this post there will be ten general meal ideas for road trips, but I’ll include some variation options to give an even broader list. It won’t be perfect for everyone but it sure will help get some ideas going!

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Keep in mind that you can mix/match and substitute for vegetarian, vegan, keto, and other options to meet dietary restrictions and health choices. I hope you enjoy this post because I actually had a good time finding great ideas for road trip foods and all the neat recipes that I really want to try out as well.

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Benefits of Bringing Supplies for Meals on a Road Trip

What else can I start with besides, money! Bringing some simple items with you can save you a good chunk of change when you are on the road. Making multiple stops in a day for food can quickly add up, particularly if you have a big family. It can also be healthier for you! If you make conscious decisions to bring healthier options then you could be saving yourself hundreds if not thousands of calories in each meal.

Tips for road trip foods

  • dry foods are easier to clean up
  • foods that need refridgeration are more work
  • food that needs to be heated is not ideal unless you have a microwave handy
  • prep as much as you can ahead of time
  • make sure to have a few sources of protein
  • reusable containers or “bento” boxes are great!

Note: I try to include some recipes that can be made ahead of time in bigger portions to be brought along on a trip. Since we are talking about saving money by bringing food, also making from scratch a lot of what you bring will possibly save you even more.

1. Sandwiches

The go-to for trips is a good sandwich. If you want the cheapest option available there is always the traditional PB&J, but there are so many other things you can do. Keep in mind that if you do meat, cheese, and dairy stuff on a sandwich you will need a cooler with ice or an electric one that will keep your food from spoiling.

Tip: if you want mayo or other “wet” ingredients, slip those between your slices or cheese or meat so your bread doesn’t get soggy. Ex. tomato, mayo, mustard, etc.

BreadProteinCheeseExtras
whiteturkey/chicken/hamAmericanlettuce/spinach
wheatroast beefcheddarjelly/honey
gluten-freepastramimuenstertomato
pitasalamiswissonion
tunaprovolonecucumber slices
peanut butteravocado
bacon
Pick and choose what interests you! If you stick with something basic and switch around extras you can have more variety with fewer ingredients.

Snack/side ideas

  • fresh/dried fruit
  • chips
  • carrots

2. Wraps

Wraps are a way of having a sandwich but fewer carbs (in my opinion). I often prefer it for packed lunches because you can make it so the wrap stays dry. There are usually fewer issues with soggy-ness too. Wraps are also easy enough to keep cheap depending on the ingredients you use.

WrapProteinDairyExtras
spinachturkey/chickenAmerican cheesecranberry
cornpastramiSwiss cheeselettuce/spinach
flourpeanut buttercheddar cheesejam
gluten-freetuna saladmayosalad dressing
lettuceroast beeffeta cheeseavocado
tofuhummus
pesto
peppers

Side ideas:

  • cucumber chips
  • smoothie
  • plantain chips
  • fruit/dried fruit
  • peanuts, cashews, almonds

3. Fruit/veggies and energy bites

If you are like me, you may get a bit car sick on road trips. I usually get a ton of headaches and don’t feel great (luckily I keep my lunch down!). If you have this problem, lighter and somewhat healthier meals on your trip are probably going to work way better for you. Here is one idea that I am definitely going to try out on my next trip. The fruit/veggies idea with energy bites offers protein or healthy fats typically through nuts and added protein powder. Then you have plenty of fiber and hydration from those veggies and fruits. It’s light but filling and won’t bog you down.

Don’t forget to keep your energy bites chilled!

  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • cucumber
  • carrots
  • peaches or apricots
  • apple slices
  • watermelon, honeydew, cantelope
  • hard boiled eggs
  • crackers
healthy vegetable cheese salad in mason jars

4. Salads

Salads can be great on a road trip. There are a few little adjustments to make so it survives well, but they are worth it! If you pack them right they will be crisp and fresh whenever you pop them out of the cooler. Also, the containers vary and there are many options to choose from. You can get something simple or one that has multiple compartments. The nice thing about salads is that there are SO many options. You can do something simple or get fancy. The sky is the limit!

Tips: keep your dressing and other “wet” items in a separate container. Keep your salads chilled in a cooler so the ingredients don’t spoil fast or wilt.

Greens

  • spinach
  • butter lettuce
  • spring mix
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • romaine
  • spiraled zuchini

Add-ins

  • diced chicken
  • corn
  • peas
  • black beans
  • sunflower seeds
  • bacon
  • cranberries
  • apple slices
  • sugar snap peas
  • broccoli
  • cucumber
  • tomatoe
  • cheese
  • peppers
  • shredded carrot

Dressing

  • ranch
  • italian
  • creamy avocado
  • salsa
  • sesame
  • lime
  • vinegar and oil
  • thousand island

5. Meat and cheese “platter”

This very snacky meal is great for those times you need something to eat but you don’t want anything too heavy or fussy. All you need is a container that you fill with your favorite meats, cheeses, and some kind of breading and veggies/fruit. This can be prepped ahead of time into larger containers that you divvy up into individual lunch boxes in the mornings for later.

You may want to get bulk items then dice and slice to your heart’s content. But if you want something a little easier you can simply purchase a premade tray from your local grocery store. This may save you a ton of time, and possible money depending on the price.

  • American cheese
  • sharp cheddar
  • meunster
  • pepperjack
  • mozarella
  • provolone
  • goat cheese and apricot jam
  • salami
  • chicken strips
  • turkey
  • ham
  • pastrami
  • peperoni
  • prosciutto
  • apple slices
  • dried pineapple
  • nuts
  • olives
  • kiwi
  • mango
  • dragon fruit
  • pomegranite
  • pretzels

6. Chicken strips and veggies

Another simple and easy meal to throw together and have ready as soon as you open the lunch box. That is a common theme with all of these meals really. You don’t want to really prep anything in the car. You can do all your prep at home before your trip so on the road you may move a sack closer to your seat but that should be about it. There are frozen grilled chicken strips or you can slice and grill on your own. These are not bad chilled in my opinion so they are a good option. The breaded chicken is usually not the best cold though.

Seasonings for chicken

  • lemon pepper
  • blackened
  • lemon
  • bbq
  • hummus dipping sauce
  • honey mustard sauce

Veggies

  • bell peppers
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sugar snap peas
  • corn salad
  • broccoli and ranch

7. Protein shake and fruit

And here is one of our breakfasty meal ideas! For this meal, you will definitely want those premade protein shakes from the store. Think about what is in bulk or singles in the fridge section of the grocery store. (except muscle milk, I do not like those! Ha.) If you like more substantial meals you will probably not enjoy this one.

  • fruit cup
  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • mango
  • apricot
  • plum
  • grapes
  • watermelon
  • pineapple
  • orgain
  • vega
  • store brand
  • premeir protein

8. Hard boiled eggs and muffins or overnight oats

Another breakfast idea! This idea is another simple one, but filling and easy. You can purchase muffins ahead of time or you can make them at home. I’ll share a bunch of really yummy muffin recipes below. I will not share hard-boiled egg recipes, because, there’s only one way basically. You can add whatever else you want to this meal as well. Feel like having fruit, meat, nuts, etc. go for it.

If you think these sound good, go check out the person who created the recipe on their website then save it for later!

9. Fruit cup and yogurt (parfait)

One last idea that would be great as a breakfast or a healthy snack. They frequently have these at places that you can grab n’ go, so why not make your own? They are pretty versatile too. There are countless combinations that you can create, adding fruits, powders, seeds, jelly’s, and other things to the layers. Or you can mix up the main yogurt you use and try a different flavor or even cottage cheese for a different taste and texture.

They can last a good day if refrigerated so consider making two days ahead and keeping ingredients that will get soggy in a separate compartment or container until you are ready to eat.

  • greek yogurt
  • vegan yogurt
  • plain yogurt
  • strawberry yogurt
  • cottage cheese
  • chia seeds
  • dates
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • mango
  • peaches
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • coconut flakes
  • granola
  • protein powder

10. Veggies and bread with hummus

Hummus is one of those things that you either love or you hate. I used to be very picky and only liked one kind of hummus, but now I like most variations. Hummus is made with chickpeas and blended with various ingredients to give it whatever particular flavor the cook is aiming for. I love garlic heavy hummus personally. Saabra brand is one that I think a lot of people are familiar with, but did you know you can also make it at home relatively easily?

Here are some veggie and bread ideas plus recipes for hummus. Of course, if you want to stick with something easier you can definitely purchase some hummus from the store.

  • pimpernickel
  • sour dough
  • naan
  • pita
  • chappati
  • hawaiian rolls
  • soft pretzels
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • red/yellow/orange bell pepper
  • sugar snap peas
  • whole grain crackers
  • celery


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