Road Trip 101: Save Money With Travel Friendly Meals and Snacks
Shake off the winter blues and get geared up for warm weather vacations! Now is the perfect time to start planning your next epic family road trip and you’ll want to pack fun foods to help satisfy those inevitable road trip munchies.
If you’re like most travelers, you’re in the car and headed to your destination first thing in the morning. But before you rely on less than nutritious fast food options, here are some road trip food ideas designed to keep your family fed and happy while traveling.
Included below are easy, fun and nutritious road trip worthy meal and snack ideas perfect for any adventure. Follow these tips and you can hit the road knowing your family won’t be spiraling down a dark rabbit hole of unhealthy road trip food.
If your kitchen is lacking any essential equipment, you can look here to find the perfect cooking product to help you prepare any of these road trip worthy foods.
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Road Trip Breakfast Ideas
Muffins are a perfect meal you can take almost anywhere. Make your favorite muffins the day before you leave and put them in baggies to help contain the mess of eating them in the car. Pack a variety of muffin flavors so your kids can each choose their favorite.
These are an all-time breakfast favorite of my family. Burritos can easily be prepared ahead of time and then frozen until needed. Heat them up right before you are about to leave and enjoy while on the go. Burritos are easy to hold and eat, so there’s really not a huge mess to worry about.
Berry Overnight Oats
Although oatmeal isn’t everyone’s go-to breakfast on the road, it’s convenient, cheap, and easy to make the night before with no cooking! Don’t forget to pack a disposable spoon to help make this an even easier to go meal.
Road Trip Lunch Ideas
Homemade Sub Sandwich
Instead of giving your money to a franchise shop, make your own subs for a delicious lunch on the go. Grab your favorite deli meats, cheeses, and sandwich toppings to either make ahead or bring along in a cooler to make a yummy road trip dinner. You’ll save a lot of money and your homemade sub will rival any found in a sub shop.
Apple PB Sandwiches
Have you tried an apple peanut butter sandwich? They are super easy to prepare: Core and slice an apple into rounds and use the slices instead of bread. Spread peanut butter on the apple slices and top with raisins. Yum!
If peanut butter is not to your liking, you could try almond butter, and the raisins could be swapped for dried cranberries, chopped dates, or any other dried fruits. I personally like the simplicity of granola on top, or you could try toppings like chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chia seeds.
Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla
These are quick and easy to prepare the night before and store in the refrigerator for a grab and go lunch option. Quickly fry some tortillas loaded up with chopped deli chicken or turkey and your favorite shredded cheese. Cool, wrap, and store for a delicious on the road meal.
Road Trip Snack Ideas
There are plenty of reasons to pack your own snacks for travel and saving a ton of money is just one of them. Gas stations and rest stops jack up the prices of food items tremendously because they know hungry people will buy them. Avoid the price hike by packing your own snacks.
Trail Mix – There are plenty of options for trail mix at the store but I prefer to make my own and this recipe is almost too simple not to make: ½ cup whole-grain cereal, 2 T each pecans, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, 1 T unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 T dried fruit, 1 T white or dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs.
Energy Bars – Energy bars can help perk you up and prevent you from feeling sleepy on the road.
Plain Nuts – Snacking on nuts is an easy way to get hunger-busting protein and energy as you travel. Pistachios are a family favorite!
Fruits & Vegetables – Who doesn’t love fruits and veggies for travel? Super easy and nutritious too.
Tuna & Crackers – Tuna is a great way to get a healthy dose of omega-3, and the crackers are an easy way to round out the snack with some complex carbs.
Pretzels – If you’re in the mood for something crunchy and salty, pretzels will get the job done. You could opt for yogurt covered pretzels for added sweetness too.
Popcorn – Flavored with seasonings to jazz it up, homemade popcorn is a great road trip snack idea.
Berries – Berries placed in a to-go cup can be a naturally sweet treat to snack on as you travel.
Hard Boiled Eggs – These are not only easy to prepare, but they are also easy to store and eat on the road. They’re pretty mess-free and packed full of the protein your body needs.
Road Trip Dinner Ideas
If your family is anything like mine, dinner is the best meal of the day. We’ve always enjoyed a substantial meal at the end of an activity-packed day, even when we’re traveling. To make on the road dinners as easy as possible, I plan meals that are filling but still easy to prepare and pack.
This meal is easier than you might think. The night before the trip, grill some chicken breasts, let them cool a bit, slice the meat thin for sandwiches, and store in a baggie for easy transport. At dinnertime, get out buns, tomatoes, lettuce, and condiments to create a yummy meal. Served with coconut chips and a side of cut veggies or fruits, you’ll have a delicious and easy meal on the road.
If you’re looking for something a little more filling for your family as you travel, consider turkey-veggie wraps. You can put anything in the wraps that you’d like, but I suggest hummus, thinly sliced red pepper, carrots, and cucumber. Adding a little bit of your favorite salad dressing gives it a little more flavor and kick. Wraps are easy to hold and eat so little to no mess!
Pre-make a dinner salad when you want a simple but nutritious dinner on the road. Add items like hard-boiled eggs, chopped tomatoes, deli chicken/turkey, and other salad ingredients your family loves. Store the salad in individual baggies for easy eating and little cleanup. Pair it with a small bottle of your favorite salad dressing and you’ll have a super simple and delicious road trip dinner.
When it comes to dinner ideas for your road trip, go with the meals that your family loves the most. Pack a few sides so there’s a little bit of variety along the way for everyone to munch on.
Make Veggie Chips
When it comes to rounding out either lunch or dinner meals for your road trip, consider making your own totally guilt-free veggie chips. Kale is among the most popular types of vegetable chips to make at home, and they are quite easy to make.
Simply tear the washed kale into pieces, toss the leaves with olive oil, spread onto a baking sheet, bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 F, and let cool.
This is a very easy recipe and it’s a healthy option to add a bit of crunch to your meal. If you don’t want to make your own, there are some great kale chips out there that you can just throw in your snack bag and go.
When the Day is Done
Eating healthy while on the road doesn’t have to be boring or bland.
In fact, the healthier your on the road meals and snacks are, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your trip. When you give your body the nutrients it wants and needs, you’ll be rewarded with the energy you need in order to enjoy your trip to its fullest. So get packing, and don’t forget the road trip food!
Do you have a favorite road trip food or suggestions for other must-have foods? Be sure to let me know in a comment below.
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Tips to save money AND great snacks? Okay, now we’re talkin’! Thanks for this, Shirley. Now then, just pass some of that grilled chicken on over here… 😉
The grilled chicken is my favorite road trip dinner!
These are some great road trip food options! I love that they are all healthy and store well while traveling. Also the photography on your blog is amazing!
Thank you Shannon!
I love this post. We tend to go for the easy stuff while road tripping which is not always healthy or cost efficient. Then we all have a stomach ache. These are great tips. We have a road trip coming up in July, ten hours to Knoxville. I will refer back to this when the time comes. Thank you.
Like you, I can’t eat a lot of the fast food options on the road because I never feel well after eating them. While some of these tips are more involved than just getting in the car and driving through McDonalds, they are a must for my family. Even the more involved options are really easy and simple to prepare!
I agree with you completely, eating healthy on the road doesn’t have to be bland or boring! With a little planning and food prep you can have lots of tasty healthy snacks while traveling. I can’t wait to try the quesadillas, that’s one thing we’ve never done on the road.
We have quesadillas often, yummy and super easy!
What great ideas & so healthy! We are planning a roadtrip in a few weeks, we will have to test out some of your ideas.
I hope you find my tips helpful!
We go for long road trips very often ..and the food and menu on the trip always is a major part of my planning as all 4 member of our familt have very different choices and preference!! I am certainly going to include few items from your list on our next trip.
Some really good food options for travelers. You are ideas are on point, as this can even help to save money while keeping us healthy.
Food prep ia a total lifesaver. I have food sensitivities that really limit me when we travel so we super prep. I love all of these ideas! They truly make a wonderful difference ♡
I’m glad you like my food suggestions!
Great tips! My family is planning a road trip this summer for a couple of weeks – these would be great for the first week or so. Our favorite snack is always the homemade trail mix – so easy – to make and carry! Thanks for the meal ideas!
Wow, you really covered all of the bases! These are some excellent and easy ideas! 🙂