You've got your route planned, your overnights booked, bags pack, and playlist loaded. Now all you need to do is pack the cooler full of food and you're ready for an epic road trip. Oh, wait, that's right. The food! Road trip food is the really the best part of the trip, but if you think you have to find or forage along the way, we've got all sorts of road trip food advice for you.
With all your careful planning, packing up the food can easily get put on the back-burner. But like your overstuffed bag, road trip food is just as important. It's what keeps you fueled, happy, and moving. That's why we went ahead and rounded up the best road trip recipes for you to take along with you. They'll save you from splurging on fast food and keep you from making a meal on gas station food.
On any long car ride, make sure you pack plastic bags you can use for trash, paper towels that can double as plates and napkins (plus be used for clean up) and reusable water bottles for filling up at rest stops along the way. Pack any foods that need to be kept cold in a good ice chest with plenty of cold packs; keep a tote bag full of other snacks in the front seat with you for easy (and safe) access. Plus that tote bag could come in handy if you run across an interesting grocery store along the way.
Here are 15 of our favorite road trip food recipes, including some perfect for meals, for snacking and even for healthy eating.
1. Antioxidant Trail Mix
Keeping energy levels up when driving on a long stretch of road while breathing in gas fumes can easily become tiresome. That's why you need this antioxidant trail mix recipe. Filled with healthy nuts and dried fruit, you get the energy boost you need along with the nutrition your body seeks.
2. Chewy Granola Bars
Having homemade granola bars on hand as part of your road trip food kit is a must. They can serve as a quick breakfast or snack. I recommend making a batch of these soft granola bars. They're loaded with peanut butter, oats, pretzels, peanuts and honey.
3. Best Beef Jerky
There are two times when beef jerky tastes even better with a scenic setting. One is on a trail. The other is on a road trip. Fuel up with protein with this tasty recipe next time you venture out on a long journey.
4. Spicy Southern Cheese Crackers
Easily quiet back seat drivers with this yummy recipe. It's crunchy, spicy, and loaded with cheese. And who can resist cheese?! This is a terrific road trip snack.
5. Baked Beet Chips
For some healthy road trip food, ditch the bag of greasy potato chips and choose a different veggie instead like these beet chips. They'll satisfy your salty cravings and are incredibly easy to make for your next road trip.
6. Classic Hummus
Packing snacks are important as part of your road trip food set. What's even more important is packing healthy snacks. One of my favorites is classic hummus with veggies. This hummus will only take you 10 minutes to whip up. Then pair it with some celery sticks, carrots, mini bell peppers and broccoli for dipping.
7. Easy to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs
Squeezing in a healthy breakfast when you're driving across country can be challenging. That's why I love to pack the cooler full of hard-boiled eggs. Prep them ahead of time, then peel and eat when you're ready. Just be sure to have someone else peel if you're driving.
8. Vegetable Frittata
Another egg-cellent breakfast idea is this vegetable frittata. It doesn't take long to make, can be eaten cold, and one-handed. I do recommend pairing it with some hot sauce though and wrapping it in foil for easy cleanup.
9. Chicken Salad
Getting a proper meal on the road can be tough, especially when you need to make your daily mileage. In this case, pack some of this light, healthy chicken salad in a jar. You can eat it as is or lather it on some tortillas for an easy meal.
Chef's Note: You can turn this recipe into a sandwich too, but tortillas keep better than bread on long road trips.
10. Lebanese Lentil Salad
This lentil salad is perfect for road trips for various reasons. It tastes good, it's packed with protein, it's easy to make, it's healthy, it's cheap, and it gives you a break from layering things between bread. And you can make a giant batch to eat for lunch or dinner. Fill up on this road trip food and you'll have plenty of energy for the drive.
11. Chicken and Black Bean Burritos
Find yourself craving a burrito with no good taco shops around? Prep your own at home with this 8-ingredient recipe. They're loaded with flavor and much-needed protein. You can have them ready in no time so you can get out there on the open road.
12. Hummus Veggie Wrap
When you find yourself indulging in junk food on a road trip, turn to these wraps. Turning hummus and veggies into a meal, load up a tortilla with red bell pepper, red onion, carrots, spring mix, and avocado - or your favorite farmer's market veggies. Then add on some feta and hummus, and roll your wrap.
While it also calls for balsamic, I find adding liquid makes things soggy faster so either drizzle it on later or leave it off. The wraps are still delicious either way.
13. Turkey Avocado Ranch Club Wraps
These wraps are the ticket to keeping everyone satisfied. Tortillas are loaded with deli sliced turkey breast, creamy avocado slices, lettuce, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, tomatoes, bacon, and ranch dressing. Word to the wise, roll these up and squeeze on the ranch come time to eat so they don't get soggy in the cooler.
14. Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders
Remember all those ham and cheese sandwiches your mom packed in your lunch bag? She did that for a reason, they're cheap and they travel well. Pack yourself some for the road with this recipe. The Hawaiian rolls add a nice twist, plus they're easier to eat with one hand. For best results, eat these on day one.
15. Travel Snack Kits
When in doubt, pack a travel meal kit. Perfect for if you have little ones or want things organized, take a divided container and fill it with all kinds of goodies. Fresh fruit, veggies, crackers, string cheese sticks, dark chocolate, and pinwheel wraps are a few ideas that make great road trip food. You can even turn it into a full-on meal, making things like deconstructed rice bowls or a sandwich lunch box. With these travel kits, packing food is a breeze.
This article was originally posted on August 9, 2018.