What do you pack to eat when travelling? With some preparation beforehand, you won't need to turn to prepackaged, processed, “travel-friendly” foods. These are not good for you, and often carry a high price tag.
The stress of being away from home, no matter how fun the trip is, weakens our bodies. We are outside of our comfort zone, exposed to a different toxin load, and often suffer from lack of sleep. So traveling is one of the most important times to keep up good eating habits.
I received a question along these lines recently.
My husband, son and I are planning on going camping for about a week. Our camper has a small fridge, so I can take some things that require refrigeration but space is limited. Could you offer some menu suggestions that would be easy for me to prepare so I can enjoy the vacation without spending a lot of time cooking but not have to purchase those processed, instant, packaged meals? I don't mind spending some time preparing food before we leave.
Funny… I didn't think I could answer this question at first, not having camped much. But, even though I am not a camping expert, but I am a simple-food expert, so I think I can help with this. I do alot of planning ahead for busy weekends, or days out hiking.
So, my approach for camping would be the same as my approach for a busy weekend, or for a day out hiking, or a for a road trip. The scale may be different, but all those scenarios involve the same strategy.
(Thinking about this is very timely for me. In about a month, we are headed to Montana for a week-long vacation at my parents' house. I will have to pack food for two days on the road – and we don't ever go out or buy any packaged, prepared, convenience foods.)
The key will be to prepare ready-to-meal components. But first, let's consider some possible meals that lend themselves well to easy, on-the-road assembly.
Meals That Are Easy To Assemble On The Road
When planning your meals, you need to know if you're going to have access to a fire pit or cook stove – which will affect whether or not you'll be able to assemble warmed up meals.
- Cold Grain Salads – Just combine meat, grain, beans, and seasonings on the spot.
- Sandwiches – Combine meat (chicken, beef, or salmon), cheese, and veggies on bread, and serve a salad on the side.
- Skillet Dish – Following the skillet dish formula, create a meal by combining the meal components you've prepared – endless variety here! This assumes you have a skillet/pot and a heat source to cook the dish.
- Cold Cut Meals – Put out plates of cold meat, cheese, bread, veggies and dip.
- Eggs, Sausage and Biscuits/Pancakes – This assumes you have a covered cast iron skillet and a cooking fire or stove to cook these items.
- Bread with Hummus or Bean Spread and Salad
- Kefir/Yogurt with Fruit
- Add your own ideas! I know you've got some…
Ready-to-Go Meal Components
Once you have some road-friendly meals in mind, you'll spend time in the days before the trip preparing the meal components. If you have all the meal components ready to go, then assembly or brief cooking is the easy, last step to getting food on the (picnic) table.
Here are suggested meal components you can cook or prepare ahead of time. Obviously, you would pick and choose for the number of meals you need – and the meals you're planning to create – and only take what you need! 😀
- bread, crackers, biscuits, and/or tortillas
- pastured chicken – cooked (easy way: crockpot) and deboned, then chilled
- grass-fed roast beef – cooked (easy way: crockpot) and sliced, diced or shredded, then chilled
- organic grains – cooked, then chilled
- organic beans – cooked, then chilled
- salad fixings – washed and prepped – sprouted beans are very travel friendly!
- mixes – for biscuits, muesli, or pancakes – all dry ingredients ready in a mason jar or reusable plastic zipper bag
- dips and spreads – herbed kefir cheese, hummus, chevre, black bean spread
- brownies or sprouted whole grain cookies
Also bring these items, which I would consider as garnishes. They are simple foods that you likely already have ready to go, but just need to pack up.
- raw cheeses from pastured animals
- seasonings and oils – salt/pepper/herbed seasoning salt/herbs/olive oil/balsamic vinegar, etc. – to make every meal taste good!
- pastured butter or virgin, unrefined coconut oil for frying eggs, biscuits, pancakes, etc.
- a bit of Kombucha for any overnight soaking – plan on 1 tablespoon per dry cup of mix
- organic fruit
- pastured eggs, nitrate-free sausages from pastured animals
- kefir or yogurt
- wild canned salmon
- water, water, water – for soaking and drinking
I can't tell you how much my family enjoys the feasting when we have all these foods on hand to combine in endless ways. We eat so well! And I enjoy the time very much myself – because there is very little left to do. So the day trip, weekend trip, or busy weekend, actually feels like a sit-back and relax time with my family!
What do you pack when on the road? How do you eat healthy and keep your costs down? Please share your ideas so we can help each other during this travel season.
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