So you’ve got your perfect road trip planned. The itinerary is mapped out, your bags are packed, and you’ve got your playlist put together. Summer road trips are a great way to get out and enjoy your favorite outdoor activity. Once you know where you will go and what you will do, remember to prepare one of the most important pieces, the menu! When you want to eat healthy it can be a challenge to find something every day, if you do not plan ahead. There are plenty of healthy (and easy) meals that you can prepare while out on the open road so you are not stuck eating fast food.
For many RV travelers, cooking in the RV is one of the most dreaded chores of the trip. The standard cooking appliances in most RVs are substandard, space is very limited and even cleanup can seem unnecessarily difficult. While dining out at local restaurants is often the chosen cure for these dilemmas, that too has its ugly downside. Dining out is one of the most expensive things you can do while RVing. It is typically five times more expensive to dine out then to make meals back at camp. It can also be significantly less healthy.
Once you get the hang of it, having healthy meals on a road trip becomes part of the fun. All you need to do is make a list of your favorite things to eat, add in some new options from our menu, and head to a grocery store before you leave. Keep an eye open along the way for fresh and unique ingredients along the way and your journey will be paved with deliciousness.
Waking up should be a pleasure during the slow summer pace while you are relaxing on an RV road trip. All of that calls for simple and filling meals to start the day.
Yogurt parfaits are not only delicious but they’re also super portable and easy to bring along. Grab a mason jar and fill with layers of vanilla or plain yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, and granola. And don’t forget to pack a spoon!
There are so many different kinds of toast you can make, whether you like it simple (with just jam) or you like to dress it up a bit. One of my favorites is peanut butter and banana toast. Simply toast the bread and top with peanut butter and banana slices for a sweet yet healthy way to get a punch of energy. Or top it with avocado and chili flake. Then pack it in a Tupperware container and go!
Most RVs have a cooktop, oven and microwave. This should be all you really need. Other appliances that can be helpful, but are not necessary include instant pots, air fryers, toasters, blenders, mixers and convection ovens. These can all make cooking faster and more efficient. The actual cooking appliances also offer the advantage that they run on electricity which saves your propane when you are at a campsite with shore power. On the downside, they will require a generator or robust solar system to operate off grid.
Next, let's tackle the space issues. There are two great solutions to this. First, take it outside. You can pick up a couple small folding tables that will store easily in your RV for travel. Get those out and set them up outside to do your prep work. If bugs are an issue, you can pick up dome shaped screens at your local department store that work great for covering the food. Make sure you are using all the space you have available. Many RVs have outdoor kitchens. These can be used in conjunction with your indoor appliances to give you more capacity and options in making meals.
Usually lunch needs to be flexible, depending whether you are having a travel day or are out on a sight-seeing adventure. Portable options means lunch is ready, wherever you end up.
Sandwiches are by far one of the easiest meals to make for lunch. And the best part is they are so versatile. You can make them with hundreds of ingredients including ham, chicken salad, turkey, avocado, veggies, hummus, and more. Pair them with some veggies or pretzels and you’ll be all set and ready to keep driving for hours.
Protein boxes are super popular at Starbucks but instead of spending money on one why not make your own? Combine a selection of diced meat, eggs, cheese, and pretzels for a meal that’ll keep you full and make even the kids happy.
One of the arguments for dining out is that it allows you experience the local culture. While this is true, cooking at the RV can give you the same, and in many cases a better, experience. This can be accomplished by shopping at local farmers or private specialty markets that specialize in local fare. The vendors in these markets provide a great connection to local culture while providing knowledge and products that you would be unlikely to see at a local restaurant. Getting the ingredients for your meals can be an integral part of the RVing experience.
For a great meal at the end of the day, learn to cook over an open fire. There is almost nothing that can't be made perfectly over a campfire with a little practice. No special gadgets are needed. An adjustable height campfire tripod and a good cast iron dutch oven would be recommended, both of which can be found inexpensively at the big chain stores.
Chicken & Veggies
I know what you’re thinking. How am I supposed to enjoy chicken and veggies if I’m on the road? Well, this one is for everyone traveling by RV. If you have access to a kitchen on the road or you pull over at a campsite for the night, use the grill or oven to make some healthy baked chicken with a side salad or a variety of veggies. You can even combine the two by making kebabs!
As long as you have a pot and some heat, you can make some burritos. Canned beans (or chicken), cheese, and some roasted peppers wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla make for the perfect easy dinner that everyone in the family will love.
Who doesn’t love some Italian food? You can use either whole wheat noodles or if you’re looking to live a low carb life, you can substitute the noodles out for zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Top with some marinara sauce and a little parmesan and serve with a Caesar salad for a traditional Italian meal.
Just because you’re out on the road, doesn’t mean you don’t have healthy options. There are so many different ways to turn some of our favorite comfort meals into healthier options that can be enjoyed anywhere in the world, even the middle of nowhere. It simply takes a little advanced planning and a quick stop at a grocery store and you will be stocked up on snacks and meals, and ready for adventure.
Basically, it boils down to making a couple minor equipment adjustments, using the right tools, keeping your workspace clean and uncluttered, making the most of the space you have and choosing great local ingredients. By combining these suggestions, you can not only make great meals in your RV, but making those meals can become an integral part of your RVing experience.