Road Trips can be a lot of fun. They can also be expensive especially if you are eating out 3 meals a day. These Road Trip Food ideas can help you save and not get bored by the same old meal every day. Also, there may be times where packing food is necessary as there is not easily available food to purchase in some areas. For example, National Parks may only have a limited number of restaurants and during peak season, lines are long.
Road Trip Food Tips
- Save your single-serving condiments
- use small ziplock bags to measure out the seasonings that you will need before you go so you do not have to bring all your herbs.
- If you prefer hot meals, thermos food jars can keep food warm or cold for travel. Check out these microwavable meals you can heat in the morning and store in food jars for meals during the day.
- Eating out of your suitcase has great suggestions on portable food options.
- Bring Ziplock bags, and some Tupperware to store food in. We bring dish soap and a sponge if we need to reuse containers.
- Don’t forget plastic utensils.
50 Road Trip Food: Cold Meals perfect for a Family Roadtrip
- Italian Pasta Salad: Yes as a whole meal. load it up with veggies cheese pepperoni or salami
- Cold BBQ pork: throw it on a bun with bbq sauce or in a soft tortilla topped with coleslaw
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches: canned chicken is great for portability but grocery stores also sell pre-cooked chicken in the refrigerator section and if you are avoiding mayonnaise use honey mustard instead. Make it a wrap to add variety.
- Cowboy Caviar: This is a great vegetarian dish that can be a full meal or a side
- Chicken Caesar pasta salad: the easiest way to do this is to purchase a career salad kit with the dressing toss in some precooked pasta and canned or cubbed precooked chicken.
- Cold Fried Chicken: It’s my husband’s favorite picnic entree. Service it with some veggies and fruit or chips or Cowboy Caviar
- Salami and Crackers
- Three-bean salad: another great vegetarian meal or side dish
- Cold Pizza
- Egg salad sandwiches- boil eggs ahead of time.
- Capris toothpick kabobs: Grape tomatoes mini mozzarella balls sprinkle with garlic powder and basil with a little olive oil.
- Curry Chicken bowl: Cauliflower rice (sell in shelf-stable microwave bags at aldi) or regular rice. topped with Curry seasoned canned or chopped fresh chicken, chickpeas,
- Cold BBQ Chicken drumsticks this is great with a tossed salad or other cold salads
- Lunchables: My kids favorite are the pizza ones
- Buffalo Chicken wraps: Use canned or precooked refrigerated chicken. you can also stuff celery with the buffalo chicken for a low-carb option.
- Cold Spaghetti with marinara: If you are looking for some protein you can even have it with meat sauce, meatballs, or top with some cottage cheese.
- Antipasta Platter: Aldi’s sold some shelf-stable ones with sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, olive tapenade, and stuffed peppers. You can also make your own. Service with packages crostini or fresh bread if available.
- Tuna Salad with crackers: Aldi’s sells these prepared tuna salad cups with crackers perfect for a light meal on the go
- Cold Tacos: Canned chicken, refried beans, or pre-cooked beef taco with taco seasoning added, lettuce tomatoes, and cheese.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Babaganush with pita chips
- Loaded Mashed potatoes: All you need is hot water to make Idahoan mashed potatoes. Even just hot tap water. You can serve this as a side dish or make it the foundation of a meal. Top with Cold pulled pork, taco meat, Buffalo chicken (from canned chicken or precooked chicken)
- Quinoa Cups: We pick ours up at Aldis
- Cucumbers or pepper sticks with Tzatziki
- Taco Bowl: cold Refried beans mixed with taco seasoning and topped with lettuce tomatoes black olives cheese, taco seasoning OR Taco stuffed avocado
- Lox/Smoked Salmon: I don’t think seafood travel well so this is definitely something we would eat up the first day or second that we purchase it but it’s a nice treat especially for me. I enjoy it with cream cheese on cucumber rounds or enjoy on bagels. add whatever you have available capers, onions, boiled eggs, etc.
- Ham, Swiss, on Rye bread with Mustard lettuce and tomatoes
- Salmon stuffed avocado
- Hummus and veggie sticks
- BLT with precooked bacon
- Greek Yogurt and Fruit: This is one of my daughter’s favorite lunches. she isn’t a huge fan of sandwiches so this is super easy and portable.
- Avacado bread or bagel with diced tomatoes and everything but the bagel seasoning.
- Gazpacho- premake your own or Tio is a brand that is sold in grocery stores in the refrigerated section
- Vietnamese noodle salad: just need to pour boiling water over noodles to cook ahead of time.
- Mediterranean Rice Bowl: Cold Rice (microwaveable rice is shelf-stable can be heated in your room before you head out) Add artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, fresh or sundried tomatoes, Canned chicken, or Tuna pouches.
- Cottage cheese with diced tomatoes and cucumbers
- Broccoli salad: Use shelf-stable real bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing.
- Bacon Sushi: Precooked bacon, carrot slivered, cucumber slivers, and avocado
- Roast Beef with sliced cheddar, Horseradish, roasted red peppers and lettuce on soft sandwich rolls
- Phili cheese wraps: Roast beef, sliced peppers, and cheese
- Chopped Salad
- Twisted Cous Cous: it is made with hot water. it can be made from hot tap water before heading on the road. Flavors include Italian, Morrocan, East Indian. Add Chickpeas, white beans, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, or diced fresh peppers.
- Granola Bar or Protein Bar with Fruit and veggie sticks
- Cold Cocktail meatballs- prepare them ahead with your favorite sweet and tangy sauce. service with toothpicks along with cowboy caviar, 3 bean salad, or simply veggie sticks.
- “Poke” Bowl with canned salmon, edamame or wasabi peas, slivered carrots, avocado, wasabi soy vinaigrette- mix wasabi paste with a packet of soy sauce.
- No-Cook Zoodles with prepackaged pesto and fresh tomatoes. you can also toss in mini mozzarella balls.
- Tomato Salad with Feta and kalamata olives
- Turkey deli meat with Sundried tomatoes and precooked bacon on sliced bread with mayonnaise or Italian dressing.
- Southwest Pasta salad with canned corn black beans, black olives, cucumbers, green peppers if you have them, avocado, cilantro, Cotija cheese if available. you may want to add a little olive oil, salt, and garlic for seasoning.
- Sandwich kabobs. Cube any sandwich and add to kababs with diced veggies and/or fruit in between.
Road Trip Food Summary
There are many ways to save on Road Trip Food. These Cold Food ideas will help you when you are spending long days on the road with no access to restaurants or heating sources. There are also Microwave Meals that are affordable options. Eating out of your suitcase is a great way to save on food when flying or traveling with only shelf-stable food. Don’t forget there are also healthy road trip foods to enjoy.
Are you looking for more ways to save on road trips? 50 ways to save on a road trip with kids can help you plan your next budget road trip.
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