Meal Prepping Tips for a Long Trip or Vacation

If you’re going to be spending a long time in an RV, you’ll likely want to be well stocked. Not only that, you’ll also want to find some easy travel meals so you aren’t spending tons of time prepping meals in a teeny tiny RV kitchen.

Fortunately, this is totally possible. Our suggestion? Meal prep to go!

Preparing meals ahead of time takes away the need to do lots of cutting, seasoning, and other small jobs before starting your meal each night. This is perfect for those staying in an RV because it removes the need to clear space to prep your meal each night, a task that can get old pretty quickly.

Additionally, having easy vacation meals prepped in advance ensures you can fully relax and enjoy your getaway rather than worrying about food 3 times each day.

How do you meal prep for a long trip?

Wondering how to go about planning and prepping for meals while traveling? In this section, we will cover the basics so you can choose the right recipes and take all the right steps toward having some super easy meals while on vacation.

Consider Your Plans

First, we recommend considering your vacation plans:

  • Will you be out and about every single day? If so, you’ll want to plan for super fast travel meal ideas that can be served in mere minutes once you arrive home.
  • Meanwhile, those who will be hanging around the campground taking it easy might opt for vacation meal ideas that require a bit more time to cook.
  • If you’ll be doing a mix of both, plan accordingly.

Additionally, you will want to make sure to plan on some food to travel with, such as sandwiches, salami, fruits, raw veggies, cheese, and crackers. These items are ideal travel lunch ideas for those days spent on the road getting from one campground to another, as well as days spent sightseeing. Figure out how many days you’ll need these easy lunches to go, and buy enough to last.

No matter how you’ll be spending your days, prepping your meals in advance is helpful and highly recommended.

Find the Best Cooking Methods

Another thing you’ll want to consider is what kind of appliances you want to use to cook your meals.

If it’ll be super hot outside, you may want to consider an Instant Pot, as it won’t heat up the RV. The Instant Pot is also great for cooking things relatively quickly on the pressure cooker setting, while the slow cooker setting can be nice if you prefer to start cooking early in the day and return to a dinner that is ready to eat.

Grilling outdoors can also be a good option in hot weather, especially if you won’t have electric hookups, which the Instant Pot will require.

Of course, the RV stovetop is also a valid option. Those who have ovens in their rigs might choose that option, but should consider adding a pizza stone to the oven to cook things more evenly.

Consider Your Storage Space

One of the biggest issues people have with RVs is the lack of storage space. This applies to equipment of course, but it also applies to food, especially when trying to stock up for a longer trip.

For this reason, when looking for travel meal ideas, you will want to keep your food storage space in mind. Try picking some meals that can be stored in the fridge and others that go in the freezer to spread things out. Waiting to add canned goods into your meals can also be helpful, as it allows you to store that part of the meal in the pantry rather than in the fridge or freezer.

Finally, you might find it helpful to choose meals that use pasta or rice as a base, as these items are also stored in the pantry, stretching your meals while also freeing up fridge space for other things.

Start at Home

As mentioned above, preparing meals in a small RV kitchen can be a bit of a challenge. If you’ll be in a house before the start of your adventure, go ahead and take advantage of the larger kitchen space by doing all of your meal prep there, then transferring the food to the RV fridge or freezer fully prepped and ready to go.

Need to prep in the RV? No worries! It’s totally possible and we will discuss tips for doing so later in this article.

Write Down Your Plan

Planning easy and quick meals to take on vacation—and matching each meal to a specific day based on your plans—is a decent amount of work. You definitely don’t want to mess that work up by preparing the wrong meals on the wrong days, causing issues when you need one particular type of meal and have already used it.

This is where a road trip food planner comes into play. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, just a note in your phone or on a sheet of paper will do. Make sure you write down 1) your vacation meal planning recipes, 2) when each meal should be eaten, and 3) any notes that go along with that particular meal.

This will help keep mealtimes stress free so you can fully enjoy your vacation.

Can you meal prep for a week?

As we said before, storing a lot of food in an RV can be a bit of a challenge. For this reason, many people aren’t so sure they will be able to stock up on food to take on vacation when they’re planning a longer trip.

We’re here to tell you it’s totally possible to stock up and meal prep for a week or more, as long as you plan things right using the tips above.

Other ways to make sure you have enough storage space for all of your food include the following:

  • Using a can organizer and lazy Susan in your pantry.
  • Keeping sodas and other beverages in an ice chest outside rather than in the fridge.
  • Buying a hanging fruit basket to store produce up off the countertops and out of the pantry and fridge.
  • Keeping excess dry goods in plastic tubs under the couch or other furniture.
  • Purchasing smaller-sized condiment bottles.

How do you meal prep on the road?

Let’s say you aren’t starting off in a house, or maybe you’ll be on the road for several weeks, meaning you’ll need to meal prep while in the RV. How do you go about it?

Honestly, you can meal prep in an RV in much the same way you would in a sticks-and-bricks house. That said, there are some tips and tricks that’ll definitely make the process a bit easier on you.

Make Time

The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure you make time for meal prep. While preparing your meals in advance does save you time and energy on a day-to-day basis, it still requires a decent investment of time in the beginning.

For this reason, we recommend choosing one day each week of your vacation to dedicate to meal prep. You may spend the entire day chopping, slicing, boiling, grilling, and washing dishes, but you’ll get almost all the work of cooking out of the way for the entire week.

We recommend using this day to catch up on laundry and cleaning up the rig as well. Since you will have set aside an entire day for these things, they will feel less stressful and you’ll be all set and ready to continue your adventures the next day.

Make Room

Secondly, you will need to make room to do meal prep in your RV. Depending on the size of the rig in question, this can be pretty tricky. If the sun is shining, you might consider setting up a table outside and doing most of the work there. You could even take an induction burner, Instant Pot, and grill outside to do the cooking there.

Have no way to take it outside? Cleaning the countertops and the dining table of everything will ensure you have as much room as possible. You may also want to wash dishes as you go to avoid having things pile up, using valuable counter space.

Easy Travel Meal Ideas

Of course, if you’re going to prep all of your meals for vacation ahead of time, you’ll need to figure out what you’re going to eat. Fortunately, there are plenty of super easy ideas that make for perfect easy vacation meals.

Salads

Salads are light and healthy. They make perfect lunches and great dinner sides. Best of all, they’re easy to prep in advance.

Cut all your veggies, add grilled meat if you like, and create tiny salads in mason jars to store in the fridge. All you’ll have to do is add dressing, shake, and enjoy right out of the jar.

These are perfect for taking on the go!

Soups

Another great option is to combine the ingredients to make soups beforehand, freeze them (ideally in separate portions), and then throw them in the Instant Pot or slow cooker for later. We love soups because they freeze well and are easy to customize.

Pasta and Rice Dishes

Sauces to put over pasta or rice also freeze really well. Make a spaghetti sauce or a nice curry, and freeze it. When you’re ready to eat, simply warm the sauce in a slow cooker or over the stove, and cook your pasta or rice.

Sandwiches

Sandwiches are the most obvious on-the-go meal option. You could of course stick with lunch meat or a classic PB&J. However, we really like to make chicken salad, egg salad, and tuna salad to keep in the fridge and use throughout the trip.

Grilled Meats and Veggies

Nothing says camping quite like grilling out. Fortunately, grilling is one of the easiest ways to cook meat and veggies. To prep these meals, all you’ll need to do is toss the food into a marinade. Throw it on the grill when dinner time rolls around, and you’ll be eating well in no time!

What do you think?

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