Easy Road Trip Meal Ideas
I'll be honest- this is one of the things I dislike most about planning a road trip.
Don't get me wrong- I like cooking and I DEFINITELY like eating… but I am pretty RUBBISH at creating a meal plan. Honestly, how am I supposed to know on a Saturday what I want to eat next Thursday?? I have always been in awe of people who can do that. When I try I generally end up with a lot of food which goes to waste… which seems to rather defeat the point!
I also have a daughter who has gone from eating whatever we give her to being more and more particular about what she likes- and she'd rather not eat at all than eat something she doesn't love. At home, it's pretty easy to cook separate meals, but in the van, it becomes a whole different issue- and it makes the process of meal planning a lot harder.
Why plan meals on a road trip at all??
Oh, I hear you. In an ideal world, we'd just head off into the unknown and see what we find. Both Mr WB and myself are fairly easy to please and can make do with all sorts, but anyone with kids knows that it's just not that easy. I also don't want to spend my holiday time worrying about whether she'll eat anything- so it makes MY life easier if I plan it out a little in advance.
Road Trip Meal Planning
So, where do you even start with planning for a road trip??
For me, I break it down into 2/3 day intervals. Generally, we like to pop into a shop and buy fresh bread, fruit and other bits every 2/3 days. We don't do MASSIVE week long shops when we travel- our fridge is nowhere near big enough to deal with that and there's the worry about what happens if you lose power or gas? All that food will go to waste.
Eat local foods on your road trip
We also love to try out local foods as we travel. Some have been better than others, but trying them is part of the fun! If we buy too much at once, we don't give ourselves the opportunity to stop somewhere and eat out if we feel like it.
TOP TIP- Make the picky people choose some meals
One way I tackle our favourite picky eater is to get her to pick 5-7 dinners she will eat. (Annoyingly, this seems to change every week or so!) I also make her come shopping with me- I find if she chooses it, there's a higher chance she'll eat it.
Ways to cook on a road trip
There are several ways to plan your cooking. We use our oven/hob. We have a grill but rarely use it. We also have a tabletop BBQ which is great. Some people have recommended Cobb or Cadac to us for use outside. Don't forget to pack a small table for use outdoors- makes all the difference!
Our Normal Road Trip Food shopping method
On a ‘normal' two-week road trip to mainland Europe, this is my tried and trusted routine:
- Buy stuff in UK which we struggle to get overseas (see below)
- Bring food for first night or two
- Buy things as you travel (at local markets, supermarkets or Lidl)
- Do this every couple of days so we can buy fresh bread, fruit and croissants! Yum!!
- Try to ignore jeans not doing up….!!
- Remember that people eat EVERYWHERE and try not to overbuy before you leave the UK.
This system has worked fairly well for us. It's allowed us to discover new things, let Jade choose what she fancies and my stress levels don't get too high trying to plan out a whole weeks worth of meals.
HOWEVER, when it comes to THIS particular road trip (5 weeks to Norway!), I have to do slightly better.
Here's what I know so far:
- We are travelling for 5 weeks
- Jade will be with us for 3 of those
- Norway is crazy expensive and we want to avoid buying things there as much as possible.
- We'll be in Norway for about 3.5 weeks.
- We can only carry so much stuff, so I need to be clever with what I buy.
Here's the stuff we tend to take with us from the UK:
- Jade's favourite cereal (at the moment it's Cookie Crisps!)
- Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes (not the world's healthiest cereal- but better than croissants every morning!! And yes- you can buy a version of these in Europe)
- Pomegranate green tea… it's an acquired taste!
- Nutella- in case Europe ever has a shortage again! 😉
- Brown sauce- have never found it yet in Europe
- Lea and Perrins- again, never found it in Europe
- Tuna/ chicken sandwich spread. Buying them in England guarantees I get the ones without bits in…!
- Pot Noodles. I'm 99% certain we can find these…. but if they're not the exact right ones a certain someone will refuse to eat them. It's not worth the hassle.
- Bourneville chocolate (my favourite… although it might be a good thing not to bring any of that!)
I think those are the only things we've found really hard to find in Europe. Most things you can find an alternative for. You will struggle to find British sausages and bacon, so don't be surprised about that. And ice. We've struggled to find ice cubes. Random, but true. Having said that, our fridge/ freezer is so tempermental we don't carry them in the Motorhome.
How to plan food on a Road trip to Norway
So, my plan is this:
- Bring food for the first 2/3 days
- Buy foods in Germany and Denmark to start us off well in Norway
- Bring as many tinned foods as possible
I'll admit- it's not much of a plan! We'll see how it works out!!
What about perishable foods?
We have a fridge which works both whilst we're driving (battery) and when we're parked up (gas). So we bring a small amount of perishable food with us- milk, cheese, ham, meat, yogurt, fruit, bacon. We don't buy too much in case there is a problem and the fridge breaks- it's always been a little tempermental and is the part of the motorhome I trust the least!!
Easy Road Trip Recipes
I really enjoy cooking… when I'm at home and don't worry too much about making a mess. I am also in holiday mode when we're in the motorhome, so I don't want to spend hours of my time in the galley, prepping, washing, chopping, cooking and washing up!
Here are a few recipes we use and love, which are pretty easy. Most only use one pot- gotta love that!
5 Camping and cooking Breakfast recipes
- Greek Yogurt and fruit
- Scrambled eggs in a wrap with sauce (I love anything in a wrap. It's fun food!)
- Bacon sandwich (bring your own bacon from the UK or look where the sliced ham is kept in European supermarkets- but it won't look the same. It's usually much thinner and cooks MUCH faster.)
- One Pan English Breakfast
Note how those went from fairly healthy to full-on delicious! I'm making myself hungry!
5 Lunch ideas for a road trip
We tend to do lunch as we travel- or if we're exploring we'll treat ourselves to a cheeky lunch out. Just don't do that at Neuschwanstein Castle! Jeez- you thought Norway was expensive!!!!
- Crusty bread and….. anything and everything. Cheese, ham, tuna, butter, garlic cheese, crisps, chicken, leftover beef, fish fingers.
- Salad. We try and add some fruit or salad in where possible- we'll pretend to be healthy every once in a while! If we're parked up for a while I love to fry up some chicken and pop it onto a quick salad with avocado, tomatoes and peppers.
- TOP TIP- WASH your salad. Even the ones in bags. They don't always wash it in Europe. It also doesn't seem to last as long (that might be the heat) so don't over buy.
- Barabrith– great snack for afternoon tea!
I have still not found a decent way to make toast in the van. It's an ongoing process that I will continue to work at! Still, Grilled Cheese sandwiches are a perfect snack:
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Sliced Bread
- Cheese (Cheddar and Mozzarella work well)
Butter bread thinly and put butter side down into hot frying pan (not too hot!) Add slices of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Add other slice of bread on top, butter side up. After a couple of minutes (when bottom slice is brown but not burnt), flip sandwich over. Grill for a couple of minutes. For an extra touch, transfer sandwich to oven tray and bake in oven at 170'c for 5-7 minutes until cheese is totally melted.
I only discovered cous-cous recently. I'm not entirely sure why- it just never appealed to me, but it's DELICIOUS! Lighter than rice and so versatile. I make a big helping of this and it lasts for lunch and dinner quite happily.
The trick is to double the amount of liquid to cous cous. One cup couscous= 2 cups stock. I love to use chicken or vegetable stock. Nothing fancy; those little cubes in some boiling water are just fine. Stir until the cube disolves, then pour it over the couscous. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. The beauty of this is you can add whatever you like to it. I love adding lemon and mint. I also love feta, avocado, red peppers, spring onions, celery… the list is endless. I generally make a bowl of plain couscous and we each add different fillings in.
9 Dinner recipes for camping and cooking
Ahhhh… now this is the fun part. Everyone's been driving in the exact same motorhome for several hours… and as soon as you arrive somewhere and the van is parked up for the night, they all turn to you and ask ‘what's for dinner?'! Like you've been thinking about it all day!
All of these take no more than 30 minutes, unless you want to let things simmer for a while and enjoy a glass of wine first.
TOP TIP- do NOT be judgemental about sauces from a jar. Pre-made sauces are your friend on a road trip. They make a meal ready in 10 minutes instead of 40. Yes, there might be a bit more sugar or salt- but it's a heck of a lot better than a pizza or McDonalds. So be kind to yourself and make things easy.
- Spaghetti (quick cook if using a sauce from a jar) I try to use wholewheat pasta where possible, but I often get told off! Boil in pan- make sure the water doesn't boil away completely!
- Spaghetti sauce- either from a jar or:
- Chop one onion and a garlic clove (or used dried varieties of each). Add to frying pan over medium heat and leave to soften for a few minutes. If you want a meat spaghetti, add minced beef, lamb or turkey. Alternatively, add mushrooms and green and red peppers- see if you really notice the meat is missing!
- Add can of chopped tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano and a good splash of balsamic vinegar. (You can add white sugar instead of balsamic if you prefer). I also add a little brown sauce, and some ketchup… just for fun! I've also been known to add paprika, cumin, and other spices… but that's because I make chilli the same way and get confused!! 🙂
- Simmer for 20 minutes until lovely and thick
- Garlic bread or crusty bread
- Grated cheese
- Side salad if your family will eat it. Mine just tend to pick out the cherry tomatoes!! 🙂
- Something sweet for pudding…
Mr WB is allergic to eggs, which is a great shame as I LOVE this Spanish Omelette. It's so easy to make and only uses one pan.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 potatoes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 4 eggsHeat the oil in large frying pan. Peel potatoes and slice thinly. Put the slices in the pan with the onion & garlic. Cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are tender, turning them occasionally. Beat the eggs. When the potato and onion mixture is cooked, add it to the eggs and mix together. Heat another spoon of oil in the pan, and turn the heat down as low as it will go. Pour the egg, onion & potato mixture into the pan. The essence of this dish is slow cooking and it should take about 20 minutes. When there is no liquid left turn omelette over for 2 minutes. It's now ready to serve and eat! Delicious..perfect with salad or french loaf.
Take 500g (4 people) of lean lamb mince and add spices (salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika… whatever you like!) Mould into balls or around a skewer and cook on BBQ or in oven until browned. If using BBQ and wooden skewers, soak the skewers in water for about 30 minutes first. Serve with Tzatziki- Greek yogurt, mint, lemon and cucumber
Other campfire recipe ideas could include:
- Sausages and Mash (using tinned hot dogs and jacket potatoes- see below)
- Jacket Potatoes- especially on the campfire!
Other recipes for your hob could be:
- Tinned Steak and vegetables
- Quesadillas (use wraps and fry for 2/3 minutes. TOP TIP- fold each wrap in half and put the filling in the middle… it makes it easier to flip)
- Chilli – pretty much the same as spaghetti- just add more spices and serve with rice or couscous
If you'd like more inspiration, here are a couple of our favourite camping cookbooks:
Whilst we're on the subject, don't forget to bring:
- Washing up liquid
- Big scrubbing pad for BBQ if using
- cleaning supplies
- Pans/ pots
- Kitchen roll
- Bottle/ can opener
- Mugs and glasses
- Tea/ coffee/ sugar
I hope these ideas have helped with some easy road trip meal ideas. Tell me- which is your favourite??
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