Oh, the family road trip! Follow Kids Activities Blog and Julie Blair and her family as they travel 8 states in 30 days for the ultimate road trip story…
When you're enjoying a short trip, it's easy to forgo schedules.
For example, my bestie Michelle and I once powered through a four-day apartment-scouting trip in Philadelphia on only $1.99 powdered donuts, Twizzlers and Diet Coke pilfered from gas stations.
(We went on to score a rockin ™ bachelorette pad on the edge of gang territory, but that's another story.)
Alas, I cannot in good conscience serve my family Combos for breakfast for an entire month.
Moreover, eating at restaurants for three meals per day is not only expensive but unhealthy.
(Also, it's ugly. Can you imagine my 40-year-old body fueled on the Philly Diet for 30 days? At age 22, I could maybe have pulled it off and still worn a bikini, but that ain't happening today.)
Thus, I called Jannell Khu to help me develop a healthy road food strategy.
Making Healthy Road Trip Food:
Jannell is my wickedly funny personal chef friend who is going to teach us how to make healthy road trip food.
She offers a wildly successful dining service in the Dallas suburb of Double Oak called Supper Belle: She cooks beautiful, nutritious meals for her family from scratch ”but makes enough for, oh, another 40 families. Then, she zings out a snappy little e-mail asking who wants to kick in $30 for supplies.
Her friends and neighbors buzz over to her house at 5 p.m. She totters out in delicious Kate Spade heels holding a glass of white wine and delivers dinner right to your car.
Believe me, it is harder to get one of Jannell's tasty meals than it is to get into Harvard.
Did I mention that both her boys eat everything–even dried seaweed? So to my way of thinking, she's a kind of a nutrition shaman.
Here's Jannell the Supper Belle's take on what to cook to stay healthy on a road trip. She even included recipes just for you, dear readers!
How To Healthy Road Trip Food Kids Will Eat:
This is how Supper Belle fed her hungry family 2 years ago when we took a road trip up to GA, LA, Niagra Falls, NY, CT, VA and back. We were gone for nearly six weeks.
How To Store Healthy Road Trip Food
We kept a big cooler (on wheels) in the car with a fresh bag of ice that we changed every morning. This was basically our mini-car fridge and saved us a lot of money for simple meals and snacks. Which we then got to splurge on must-eat-restaurants at local stops for lunches and dinners!
What Is In Our Road Trip Cooler?
Mayo, mustard, ketchup, minced garlic, butter, eggs, milk, deli sandwich cheese, deli meats, jelly, hot dogs, salad dressing, yogurt, bag of froz carrot, peas and corn medley, chicken or egg salad that I made the night before, celery, onion, and wine… gotta have this stuff at night…
What’s In Our Road Trip Box?
– Vinegar, soy sauce, vegetable oil, and sesame oil. I transferred what I needed for the trip into empty red and yellow plastic ketchup and mustard bottles (affiliate link).
– Peanut butter, chicken broth, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned chx broth, Campbell’s cream of chicken and mushroom soup, diced tomato, marinara sauce, dried pasta and rice, mac and cheese boxes, stove-top stuffing, cereal bars from Costco, Nabisco Breakfast Biscuits, nuts-raisons-seeds for healthy snacking, healthy juice boxes for kids
Food-related etc. to pack:
– Make a jar of ALL PURPOSE HOUSE SEASONING: salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, dried parsley (you get the idea. you put in what you want). Then you use this one jar to season everything from beef, chicken, burgers to eggs and salads
– Take some plastic containers for food storage
– Buy ziplock bags of various sizes
– Buy disposable cutlery and plates, napkins
– Wet wipes and a roll of bounty paper towels
Hints For Making Healthy Road Trip Food:
When I cook at home, I try not to use canned condensed creamed soups. And when I cook as Supper Belle, I NEVER use canned sauces and soups. But on the road, I had to do what I had to do ¦ it was what it was, youknowwhatImean??
When we got to the Inn/hotel’s kitchenette, we were tired and hungry. I needed to make something fast which involved thin cutlets that I could quickly fry or sautee. I didn’t have the time or the energy to assemble and do oven-heated dinners. It was pretty much kung-foo-fighting-fast-as-lightening-stove-top-cooking.
If I was cooking dinner at the hotel kitchenette, I always made extra to put into a big plastic container, which then went into the hotel's fridge. The next morning the cold leftovers went into the cooler and this was what we had for dinner the next day.
We ate a lot of bfasts and lunches for dinner “ scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and toast. Whole wheat waffles and sliced and fried ham. Grilled cheese sammies with soup. BLTs with salads.
At home, I always serve a meat-main, starch and salad and/or veggies but when cooking on the road, it was all about, one dish meals – ie turkey sausage stove-top-stuffing and cut up fruit. or pasta tossed with diced chicken and broccoli florets. Or fried rice with tons of protein (see recipe). Or mac and cheese added with frozen vegetable medley and canned tuna or chicken, tossed with cream of mushroom or chicken soup.
Buy several Rice Roni boxes or Lipton seasoned noodle and serve it with simply sauteed chicken breast, burger patties, or pork chops.
If you ™ve stopped at a grocery store before hitting your hotel, buy a rotisserie chicken (or two) and that's what's for dinner. Leftovers? Make chicken salad and have it for lunch on wraps.
Whenever we made local grocery stops, I bought a veggie crudite party platter. Fabulous to eat as snacks, side dishes, and upon Inn arrival, I used the veggies for cooking!You can also do this with fruit party platter or you can just buy fresh fruit.
We are a big egg family (thank goodness) so I always had boiled and peeled eggs in our cooler.
It took some planning but my husband Joo was very good about finding family Inns/hotels that served breakfast, many that served hot bfast buffets. We ™d eat a hearty breakfast and to be perfectly honest, we snaked healthy in the car with nuts and fruit or veggies (from the party tray!) and we were fine until dinner!
Simplified Recipes For Road Trip Eating
Super Simple Sesame Noodle
- 12 ounces, spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
- 4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
- 4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin
Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat. Sprinkle with green onions and toss. Add shredded or diced poached/grilled chicken and serve with fruit or salad or veggie sticks for a complete meal.
Seriously Simple Egg Salad
- 10 hardboiled eggs (cover with cold water, dash of baking soda to make peeling easier, bring to boil, turn off heat and put a lid on for 10 minutes – pour off hot water and cover in cold)
- ¾ cup of Hellman’s mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 heaping teaspoon of your house seasoning – pinch or two more at the end if you desire
- 1 teaspoon salt
- several grinds of black pepper
Chop up eggs. In a separate bowl, put mayonnaise, garlic salt, salt and pepper – stir together then pour over eggs and mix gently until it is distributed throughout. Optional, diced up celery and/or onion for crunch and extra yum! Serve this for breakfast with toast instead. Or as a sandwich later in the day at a picnic stop. Or eat it as a snack on Ritz crackers.
Seriously Simple Chicken Salad
Do you have leftover store bought rotisserie chicken? Or any leftover chicken? Just add mayonnaise and mustard to your taste and mix. Feeling more inspired? Add nuts, raison and some diced onion and/or celery. Eat this over greens mom or for the kids, wrap it into flour tortilla. If you first layer the tortilla with cheese before adding the chicken salad, it won't get soggy and it will be yummy and fresh for lunch, placed in the cooler.
Simple Road-Kill- Steak
Buy 4-6 premade burger patties. Season with your house seasoning on both sides. Sear quickly for a minute on both sides on high heat. Next place them onto a shallow bowl to catch the juices/fat. Using the same pan, deglaze with 1/3 cup of red wine or beer dislodging any bits. Add ½ cup of milk and 1/2 a can of cream of mushroom soup. Add drippings from meat and whisk. Place patties back into the pan. Turn heat to low, cover and heat patties thoroughly, about 5-7 minutes. Place on top of plain white rice or buttered egg noodles. Ladle sauce on top. Enjoy with steamed veggies or salad.
Simple Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- 12 ounces, spaghetti noodles, Cooked and Drained
- 1 tablespoons garlic
- 1 tablespoons oil
- 1 Diced medium onion
- 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey/chicken)
- 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
- Your house seasoning to taste
Cook pasta per box directions. Heat garlic in oil until golden brown. Add onion and cook until transparent. Add ground meat and cook thoroughly. Drain as much or little of the fat as you ™d like. Pour in jar of marinara sauce. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste. Ladle over pasta.
Simple Non-Fried Protein Packed Rice
Prepare rice according to package directions. While rice is cooking, in a frying pan, cook breakfast sausage or diced up ham. Or burger meat that you ™ve seasoned. Whatever meat you like! Put meat onto a big bowl that will also accommodate rice. Now scramble eggs and put that into the bowl with the meat you cooked. Add frozen vegetable medley to the pan and cook until heated. Add the veggies into the bowl. When the rice is cooked, add the rice into the bowl with the other ingredients. Add a tablespoon of butter (or more to your liking) and some olive oil. Add your house seasoning and gently mix the rice so all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. The leftovers taste even better the next day. We ate leftovers for breakfast before hitting the road. Make extra of this rice to eat as a side for the next meal when you cook up simple chicken or beef.
NOTE: Supper Belle isn't into soy sauce and sesame oil in most of her rice dishes. It overwhelms the other ingredients. She uses salt or her house seasoning.