Road trips can be fun, especially when you bring your family or friends along. Great road trip meal options can greatly improve your road trip experience.
What are some creative road trip lunch ideas?
Some of the best lunch ideas for road trips include packing meals such as sandwiches, salads packed in jars, healthy snacks, flatbreads such as tortillas and pitas, boiled eggs, wraps, tinned salmon or tuna, tuna salads, cheese and crackers, muffins, and various other pre-prepared meals.
We compiled this list that addresses most of your road trip food concerns after researching lunches and other meal ideas to help you plan even better.
Apart from our research, we reached out to several road trip enthusiasts to ensure we suggest realistic and practical options. Let’s look at lunch ideas and other meals for your road trip.
Lunch Ideas for Road Trips
Whether planning a short or extended road trip, you must plan for lunch. You can carry packed lunch or make stops at food joints along the way.
Here are some of the food ideas you may want to consider.
StoppingAt a Café or Restaurant
If you are planning a short trip and want to experience a different cuisine local to the places you visit, you may stop at one of the cafes. Some hotels may need you to book in advance, so make proper arrangements.
This approach will cost a little more, especially if you bring family or friends. However, it allows you to experience and appreciate different cuisines; plus, you won’t have to worry about pre-making the food you’ll eat, making planning a bit simpler.
Bringing Your Own Food
This is the best option for a seamless road trip experience. It is especially the case if you are taking others with you. Besides being less expensive than buying lunch at a local cafe or restaurant, you can enjoy your favorite meals while road-tripping.
Furthermore, it lets you have more control over the choice of meals to bring along and addresses any dietary restrictions or preferences you may have.
You can prepare a ton of easy cold lunch alternatives in advance for road trips. Additionally, eating in a fast food restaurant is considerably less pleasant than finding a lovely natural area or overlooking a view during your trip.
Remember that you will spend most of your time in the vehicle packing food for the road trip lunch.
As a result, the greatest choice for compensating for the idea that you will not be as active throughout the day while traveling is to pack nutritious road trip meals.
For your road trip food, you should consider these cold lunch suggestions:
Salads in a jar – a good idea is to make the salads and store them in smaller containers or mason jars.
Each jar can contain a single individual serving to make it easy when serving them. Remember to eat salads early in the journey to prevent them from getting soggy or wilted. The salad dressing should be added right before serving!
- Wraps – which you pre-made with simple chilled fillings.
- Sandwiches (jam, peanut butter, honey spreads, Vegemite, etc.).
- Crackers and cheese.
- Savory Rolls such as pizza rolls.
- Boiled eggs (which you pre-peeled).
- Crackers with cottage cheese.
- Tinned salmon or tuna.
- Tuna salad sandwiches (ensure you store the ingredients separately until ready to eat).
- Pinwheels made with turkey, chicken, or your favorite fillings.
Snack Ideas for A Road Trip
There are countless options for snacks to take on your road trip! Most snacks you like at home are simple to bring along on a road trip.
Nonetheless, it is advisable to have snacks that are easy to prepare and make little mess.
Packing shelf-stable snacks such as crackers, nuts, granola bars, and nonperishable foods like vegetables and fruits is a wonderful idea for snacking, particularly if you are traveling with young children! During stops, grabbing a small bite to eat is essential in helping to keep the kids in the backseat content and calm.
The entire family should choose snacks made of natural ingredients since they will maintain their energy levels throughout a lengthy trip and, most of all, these snacks are healthy.
Many options are available, and choosing what you want to take with you on your road trip can take time. Nonetheless, here are some of the most common options:
- Dried fruit
- Fresh fruit
- Cheese sticks
- Bliss balls
- Seeds and nuts, including pepitas, sunflower seeds, seasoned pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Freshly made vegetables with dip or hummus.
- Muesli bars
- Cherry tomatoes
- Twiggy sticks or salami
- Sweet biscuits
- Protein bar
- Beef jerky
- Trail mix
- Sweet potato chips
- String cheese
- Granola bars
Dinner Ideas for A Road Trip
You like to have a dinner that will please everyone in the group after a lengthy day of driving.
Most of us would prefer a dinner that is not overly complicated and heavy.
If you and your group are booking a room for the evening and have selections nearby, dinner might be the one meal throughout the day you can decide to pick a restaurant for.
However, there are many options for dinner foods if you wish to reduce those expenditures and carry your meals for the length of your trip.
Ideas for a chilly road trip meal:
- Pre-made chicken or other meat slices that have been roasted. They may also be meats you have pulled apart to enjoy on their own or add to wraps and sandwiches.
- Cold salads like potato, egg, or pasta salads.
- Rice combined with chicken and vegetables.
- The main idea here is that the available options are many, and you can be spoilt for choice. Ensure that you pick meals suitable for your road trip dinner arrangements.
Breakfast Ideas for Road Trips
Sometimes you must start your road trip early in the morning (before breakfast time) or go on a long road trip taking several days.
Due to this, you may be required to plan your breakfast meals.
Breakfast meal ideas for your road trip have to be tailored to your needs and preferences. While there are a lot of options you can go with, here a some to get you started with your planning:
Breakfast at A Hotel
This can be a great option, especially if you spend nights in hotels during your road trip. You might find a few offering free breakfast in your night package.
Eating breakfast at a hotel can be advantageous because it is one or fewer meals you do not have to plan for.
However, if this is not an option or not in preference, you can bring many breakfast meals on your road trip.
Bringing Your Own Breakfast
When planning what breakfast meals to pack for your journey, consider all considerations. After all, we all know breakfast is the day’s most important meal. Eating a well-balanced, nutritious, and filling breakfast is a great way to start the next leg of any road trip, particularly the long ones.
Below are some road trip breakfast ideas to give you the energy to take on and enjoy your day:
- Dry cereals – for example, cheerios (which you can even consume without mixing with milk)
- Pre-cooked egg and bacon wraps or muffins
- Bagels spread with cream cheese
- Banana bread
- Blueberry pancake pieces
- Oat cookies
Things to Consider When Planning Road Trip Meals
Road trips require special attention paid to the meals you will eat. Here are some things to consider when planning meals for your upcoming road trip.
Ensure you pack tasty and healthy meals. Just because you are going on a road trip does not mean you have to eat junk and unhealthy food.
If you intend to eat in a hotel or restaurant, plan. Know what kind of food the hotels offer, and if necessary, make bookings in advance.
Ensure you pack enough food for the entire road trip, especially if you visit remote places where stores and supermarkets are few and far between.
Snacks are a must-have if you have kids. They will ensure you have something to give your children and even older occupants whenever boredom or hunger strikes and it is not time for a meal.
Like everything else, make sure you bring healthy snacks.
Pack your food well. Pack one person’s serving portion in a single container or ziplock bag, making serving much easier.
Ensure you take any dietary restrictions or preferences you or your family and friends may have into consideration when planning meals for your road trip.
Ensure your cooler is packed efficiently to save on space and also so that it can keep your packed meals refrigerated for longer.
When packing food for your trip, ensure you pack everything you need. Take your time and think that you will find it a long way in stores or supermarkets. This is especially important to remember when going for road trips in remote areas.
The Best Hacks for Traveling with Food During A Road Trip
You need more than knowing what food to bring on your road trip. You must know the right way to travel with the food and make-ahead meals. This will ensure you enjoy the meals while they are still nutritious and in good condition.
To help you with this, we have put together a list of hacks to help you travel with the food during your road trip. These are:
Start with delicate fruits
If you are going on a long road trip, it is essential that you first start by eating any delicate fruits you might have brought with you because they may spoil easily. In short, delicate fruits such as berries and bananas should be eaten first before moving on to sturdy ones like oranges and apples.
Have a packing strategy that is well organized
When going on a road trip, foods such as pitas, tortillas, and sturdy flatbreads are a better option to bring with you than loaves of bread. The main reason is that they do not have a higher risk of being smashed. Second, flatbreads take way less space – and if there is something you will not have plenty of on a road trip is space.
Pack your cooler efficiently
One of the biggest mistakes people make on road trips is packing their coolers inefficiently. If you are one of them – there is no need to worry. Here are a few tips on how to do it the right way.
Whenever packing items that need chilling in your cooler, ensure the ice is laid on top of those items and not at the cooler’s bottom.
This is because cold air will sink and disperse more uniformly when you lay it on the food items than below it.
Open the cooler the least number of times possible
You must open the cooler only a few times during the day – one or two times should be fine. This is so that the ice does not thaw, and the cooler can refrigerate your items longer.
Make snacks and other foods easily accessible
Additionally, keep all meals and snacks accessible the whole time you and your friends or family are on the road.
This eliminates the need for someone (usually dad or mom!) to often lean over the rear seat or pull over to access the trunk whenever boredom or hunger strikes.
Do Not Use Glass
During the road trip, avoid taking anything made out of glass, like glass food utensils or containers you use to store the food. Glass can be bulky, heavy, and especially dangerous when smashed inside your family car.
This is particularly the case if you are traveling with kids.
Pack a Box with Essentials
- Create and pack a road trip box that includes the following items for clean-ups, spills, and motion sickness:
- Hand sanitizer
- Anti-bacterial wipes
- Garbage bags
- Paper towels/napkins
- Saltine crackers
- Ziplock bags
- Medication for motion sickness
Remember to take out the trash
It is normal to make several stops, especially when you are going on a long road trip. This might be to look at the scenery, stretch your legs, get some fresh air, etc
Whenever you stop, you must remember to pitch the garbage you may have accumulated in the car. Doing this will help keep your car clean and prevent garbage build-up and bad smells.
- Ensure you pack enough food for your road trip.
- Even though it is a road trip, you and your family or friends should still eat healthily.
- Pack each container with a single person’s serving portion.
- If you plan on eating in a hotel, plan and make bookings whenever necessary.
- Snacks are a must-have, especially if you have children on your road trip.