Eating healthy food on the road isn’t hard, exactly. It’s just that there are so many opportunities to choose the more convenient option, something quick and easy that also happens to be lacking in nutrients. The best way to eat healthy on the road is to prepare for the worst case scenario. We’ll get you started with a few ideas.
1. Plan a Menu
When you write out a menu for the week, or even just the next few meals, you’ll know exactly what you need to shop for, and it takes the guesswork out of what’s for dinner. It also gives you a chance to anticipate a delicious home-cooked meal, which can make convenience options seem lackluster in comparison.
If you’d rather cook too much, make one big batch of something and eat it for a few days in a row. Or, if you enjoy variety, plan to have something different every day. Either way, you’ll save money and time by having everything ready to go.
2. Think Like a Line Cook
Prep, prep, prep. If you know you’ll want to make homemade pizza on a trip, make a big batch of dough in your home kitchen and keep it portioned off in the freezer. If you hate chopping veggies in your RV kitchen, keep pre-sliced produce in containers in your fridge. Taking that extra step before you hit the road will make you more likely to cook as you go.
3. Get a Head Start on Cooking
Likewise, if you know after a long day of hiking or driving, the last thing you want to do is cook a meal, consider cooking ahead. You can keep personal portions or big batches in your freezer for easy reheating. Soup or chili is easy to warm up in portion-sized containers. Pre-assembled freezer enchiladas or lasagnas make a great alternative to store-bought frozen foods and cook just as easily.
4. Keep Snacks Close By
What good is a healthy snack if you can’t reach it? When hunger strikes on a long stretch of road, having healthy snacks nearby will help you avoid impulse stops to grab quick and easy fast food. Keep a variety of flavors near the front seats––something salty, sweet and savory will cover your bases and keep you satisfied no matter what you’re craving.
5. Invest in a Variety of Storage Containers
Keeping prepped and washed fruit in snack-sized containers makes it easy to grab a handful of something sweet. Cut celery sticks fit perfectly in wide-mouth, pint-sized mason jars, and storing them in water will help them stay fresh longer. Larger containers can hold big-batch leftovers, like casserole or stir-fry. And teeny tiny containers are perfect for traveling with single servings of nuts, peanut butter, or dips like hummus or salad dressing.
Plastic storage containers are cheap and ubiquitous, making them easy to buy. But borosilicate glass containers (like Pyrex) are easy to wash, don’t soak up odors, resist breaking and will last a lifetime, making them a sustainable alternative that’s cheaper over time. Mason jars can be used to store a variety of foods and liquids, and won’t leak when sealed properly. And as an alternative to plastic storage baggies, there are silicone or cloth storage bags that can be reused and are eco-friendly.
6. Hit the Bars
Snack bars are the perfect item to stock up on for the long haul. They come in a wide variety of flavors, ingredients and composition, from protein bars to granola bars to bars made from nuts, dried fruit, and even dried meat. They stay fresh for a long time, don’t require refrigeration, and stash easily in a pocket or bag.
7. Mix It Up
Everyone loves trail mix, but store-bought mixes can get boring over time. Use storage containers to make your own trail mix, featuring all the items and flavors you love the most. Start with something light and high volume, like popcorn, small crackers, pretzels, cereal or whatever else you like. Add in something more dense, like nuts, chocolate chips or dried fruit. Salty and sweet is a classic combo, but why not make a spicy blend with wasabi peas, cheese crackers and seasoned nuts? Or a peanut butter and jelly combo with roasted peanuts, dried cherries and honey wheat pretzel pieces? When you make trail mix from scratch, it can be as virtuous or fun as you choose.
8. Wrap It Up
Tortillas. You keep them in the fridge, they’re super flat, and you can use them to make any kind of sandwich just as easily as with bread. If you’re constantly finding half-loaves of moldy bread taking up space in your RV, tortillas could change your sandwich game for good.
9. Non-Traditional Jerky
Beef jerky is a classic road snack, but if you’re sick of the same old options, try exotic jerkys. You’ve probably already heard of–and maybe even tried–pork jerky, turkey jerky and chicken jerky. But what about salmon jerky? Buffalo and venison jerky are homegrown variations on a classic. And for vegetarians and vegans, you can find mushroom jerky in a variety of flavors. We’ve even seen off-the-wall jerkys made from alligator, kangaroo and ostrich. The sky’s the limit!