11 days, 30-some meals, and 650 photos later…we’re back home from one of the most epic road trips we have been on yet.
I am so happy to be home. And yet part of me wants to go on another vacation. (Know the feeling?)
No matter the challenges we face while traveling, I still get that same old travel itch almost immediately after returning home.
This usually leads to lots of photo browsing in an attempt to relive the moments…and put off that ever-growing to-do list. So, please allow me to relive those moments with you, along with some of my favorite tips for travel meal prep.
Before the trip:
In my opinion, meal prep is the number one thing that can make or break your epic road trip.
(Okay, I admit, food is pretty much always number one on my list but seriously, having nourishing snacks and meals ready right when we needed them made such a difference.)
Don’t want to be forced into eating greasy fast food while traveling? Meal prep.
In the middle of nowhere in Idaho and feeling hangry? Meal prep.
Not about to pay crazy prices for food sold near tourist attractions? Meal prep.
Because of meal prep, we never felt like we had to resort to fast food or eating out (though we definitely left room for delicious restaurant meals too!) and we always had something on hand when needed.
The following meals and snacks all work great for bringing along to road trips, camping trips, flights, and hotel stays. Eating well while traveling is possible!
Healthy Road Trip/Camping Meal Prep:
This is one of my favorite ideas for healthy breakfasts on-the-go. Mix together dry ingredients (quick cooking oats, nuts/seeds, dried fruits, spices) and pack into plastic bags/containers. To eat, just mix with boiling/hot water, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and enjoy! (We used boiling water while camping. In hotels, I just ran the coffeemaker (without coffee in it) to get the hot water needed.
I made three varieties of oatmeal for this trip:
- oats + raisins + toasted coconut + almonds + cashews + cinnamon
- oats + dried mango + coconut + almonds + cashews + cinnamon
- oats + currants + cranberries + cashews + almonds
We had so many sandwiches on this trip – they’re so great for travel! I packed whole grain bread and added ingredients to a cooler so we could whip up a quick lunch whenever we needed. We stuck with PB&J’s most of the time (classic!) but also mixed in some hummus veggie sandwiches when we were looking for something different.
Foil wrap tacos:
My favorite camping meal! At home, I mixed together chopped vegetables like onions, kale, and mushrooms with tempeh (beans work well too) and wrapped it all up in a double layer of foil. At the campsite, stick the foil pack right on top of some hot coals and leave it until warm. To serve, we just spooned the filling on top of whole grain tortillas. Try with any of your favorite taco ingredients!
Mac & Cheese:
This was my first time trying camp kitchen mac and “cheese” and it was so delicious! I packed along a vegan cheese sauce (made with nutritional yeast and silken tofu for protein). We just tossed the sauce with cooked whole grain noodles for a quick and nutritious camp stove meal. (I have to share this cheese sauce recipe soon!)
Ramen & dehydrated meals:
This isn’t so much meal prep but a couple of prepackaged foods that we tend to keep on hand for road trips and camping: First I love single serving ramen packets (I like these) because they can just be added o boiling water like the oatmeal. Dehydrated meals made for backpacking (we love the curries!) are also convenient, lightweight options to have on hand.
Special seasoning blend:
Because we were going to be away for so long, I also packed some whole fresh ingredients so we could cook some simple meals from camp. This girl can’t live without her spice cabinet, so I brought it with me by combining my favorites into a single jar for ease and space-saving.
You can use any of your favorite spices, I used:
nutritional yeast + cumin + coriander + oregano + paprika + onion power + garlic powder + thyme
I made three blocks of tofu jerky for this trip. And it was not enough. This stuff is seriously so good. You can read more about it and get the recipe here.
A bunch of kale chips also didn’t last too long. I actually used the mac & cheese sauce from above to season my kale chips but you can also try this curried kale chip recipe for another take.
Trail mix is another road trip must-have! Just combine your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and other non-perishable add-ins.
Here’s a favorite combination:
cashews + almonds + coconut + cacao nibs + raisins + dried currants
An obvious but delicious snack! Bananas, grapes, apples, and oranges are good options to have on hand. (I’ve been known to grab extras from the complimentary hotel breakfast buffets.) 😉
Hummus and fresh vegetables:
The hummus for our sandwiches did double duty as a healthy snack, since I included a jar of chopped carrots, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes for dipping. You could also bring a box of whole grain crackers if that’s more your thing.
Western U.S. (CO –> WA) Road Trip Itinerary:
Okay, get ready for travel photo overload! (Just be thankful I’m not posting all 650) 😉
Days 1-2: Idaho:
We started the trip with some camping in Caribou Turghee & Sawtooth National Forests. This spot by the river was one of our favorite spots of the trip.
Days 3-8: Washington State:
Wine & Hop Country // Seattle
This trip was primarily a business trip for Dan, so we spent a lot of time touring Idaho and Washington’s wineries and breweries. (Tough life!) My favorite was Bale Breaker in Yakima, which had a fresh hop farm right on premise. (I’m a sucker for any sort of farm, really.)
My favorite meal on the trip was this fried oyster caesar salad from Circa in West Seattle. (Go there!)
I spent the day in Seattle working at Chaco Canyon Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant serving vegan hippie bowls and delicious chai lattes.
Olympic National Park (Hurricane Ridge)
I have wanted to visit Olympic National Park ever since looking through a national parks book as a child. Mountains, coastline, rainforest, and so much wildlife…this place has it all.
Olympic National Park (Pacific Coast & Ho Rainforest)
Sandwich break! This one had Field Roast mushroom deli slices, thinly sliced roasted sweet potatoes (I roasted them at home and packed them in the cooler), lettuce, and avocado hummus.
Our time in Washington ended on a sour note when we had a ton of camping gear stolen out of our vehicle in a Spokane, WA hotel parking lot. (I won’t mention names, but apparently there have been other incidents there recently.)
Talk about putting a damper on the trip.
In the end (after beer, pizza, and a quick sob) we decided that if we just went straight home, the thieves would have won. Instead, we headed straight to REI to replace the essentials and headed on to Montana.
One thing about travel…you have to expect the unexpected and deal with whatever life brings your way…good or bad.
Day 9: Montana:
Luckily, Montana made up for our East Washington struggles.
Seriously, how much more Montana can this get?
We were out on a little walk near camp and a rancher stops us to let us know that we might want to watch Neil (our pup) because they were about to run 90 horses across the canyon to a new grazing spot. Breathtaking.
Camp oats helped brighten the mood too.
Day 10-11: Wyoming (Yellowstone & Tetons):
We decided to (quickly) explore Yellowstone and the Tetons on our way home. We only had about 24 hours but I think we really made the most of it. There is no other place like this in the world – so amazing to see firsthand and a great way to end the trip on a high note.
Do you have any road trips planned for this summer? What are your favorite meals and snacks to pack while traveling? What’s your favorite travel destination?
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