How to pack food for a road trip, eat healthy and save you money!

Day #3 – Ride thru the Badlands
September 4, 2017
Road trip West Wyoming/Montana [Day #6]
September 7, 2017

So we are 5 days in to our trip and I thought I would share a bit about what I made and how it held up.

One of the things that is important to us is eating healthy and saving money for experiences rather than on food that doesn’t make you feel good. Don’t get me wrong, we have our treats and even some snacks where you can’t pronouce the ingredients, however when you are heading out on a pretty lengthy road trip, or even trying to create make ahead lunches for your family, junk food doesn’t need a starring role.

Preparation is key, as to anything in life and this is no different. I must disclose that I (Danielle) am a vegetarian and Greg is more of a carnivore so I had to prep for both. I went to the grocery 1 week before we left for our trip and two days later committed 3 hours to making our meals. Keep in mind, if you are heading out on a road trip vs packaging make ahead lunches look at what you have in your fridge and use it! The key is to not waste. The loose grocery list I used is at the end of the post for a reference.

So – let’s start with the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. I used almond butter and local blueberry jelly. After assembling I wrapped them in freezer paper individually and then vacuum sealed them before freezing and they have held up great so far. I have 2 more I am going to eat tomorrow. I think I went to light on both the PB & the J but they weren’t soggy, which was amazing. PRO TIP: I got the great tip of putting peanut butter on both sides of the bread in a thin layer so the jelly doesn’t seep through when you freeze it! Thank you Must Have Mom!  

PB & J

On to the wraps – I cut all the veggies and tossed them in a bowl with olive oil and Mediterranean seasonings then on to the grill they went. I did roast a poblano and a red pepper too because I had them in the garden, they were a great addition! While the veggies were grilling I was cooking the chicken in the house (I cheated and bough cut up chicken and seasoned it with some garlic, salt and pepper. I also cooked my bacon and then when that was done mashed up the black beans with some chipotle seasoning for the veggie wraps.

Grilled Veggies

Chicken, bacon, cheese


Ok – so about the wraps – here are the key points and what worked –

  1. with deli meat – everything I read says put the fat down first closest to the wrap, I didn’t I went with the meat then thin layer of mustard then cheese and wrapped – they froze great and weren’t soggy at all! We did 2 ham and cheese and 2 salami and cheese
  2. with the chicken – as pictured, I did chicken then bacon then cheese – they froze great but Greg said it was a bit dry
  3. with the veggie, since I opted for nooch and no cheese I put the veggies down and on 2 of the 4 I put beans on top – the beans were amazing! These were delicious!
  4. PRO TIP: Once they were wrapped I labeled them and then put one veggie and one meat in a food saver pack and froze them so that they would be ready to go – this was awesome!

    label the wraps and then portion in to food saver bags

  5. With the thick cuts of meat I cut them in to cubes with some hard cheese I had in the freezer, tossed a few banana peppers in the dish, put down a layer of the deli paper to act as a barrier and then cut up a pita I had and put it on top – in to the freezer it went! Worked great. The cheese was a little grainy but … well, it was good and better than stopping.

cubed meat and cheese ready to go with pita bread on top

Want to talk about what didn’t work?? Using just the plastic wrap without the food saver is not recommended especially in a cooler where things can get wet… and SOGGY. Another item to note, Figs do not freeze! They were in season and so I was excited to pack them on our trip – well, I put them in this sweet little pre-pack snack pack that contained:

  • my homemade, clean out the cupboard, trail mix with almonds, dried cherries, granola, raisins and peanuts
  • figs (again don’t freeze the figs)
  • hard boiled eggs – for the love of all that is good in this world – do NOT freeze hard boiled eggs
  • a few cubes of cheddar cheese
  • a few cubes of hard cured meat
  • and some had some meat and cheese roll ups – Greg loves this as sometimes a sandwich is just too much…

So the snack pack is a winner if you exclude the figs and eggs, separate the trail mix in a separate bag – I didn’t get a picture of exploded eggs and most figs on the trail mix and cheese, I was too busy tossing it in the closest garbage. But the ones that i separated did great and this was super convenient for that in between meal; you know that one when you are getting ready to grab a bag of chips at the gas station. PRO TIP: This paired great with the Town House crackers snack packs – these are small individual bags of crackers, one bag was perfect to share.

Snack Packs – some winning…some losing

Not sure how I didn’t get any pics of the egg cups but google egg cups, this recipe has some great flavor and I have made it before this trip, I just whipped up some eggs, but the bacon or the spinach and mushroom in the bottom of a cupcake pan (spray some cooking spray 1st) then poured the egg on top and put some cheese on top of that it worked great!  For 2 of them I put the biscuit down first and the followed as above, this was more filling and felt a bit more like breakfast but it was a lot of bread and not alot of filling. PRO TIP: package 2 to a pack so when you heat up your Jet Boil you will heat them up in a jiffy. There was a burn ban in SoDak and in Montana so we avoided our charcoal grill and used just the Jet Boil.

Here is me working in the car enjoying my carrot, celery and pepper snack with one of the pre-pack single serve hummus. I did not freeze the raw veggies and so making them almost 2 weeks before eating them was one day too many for the peppers but I am a risk taker, I would recommend doing the fresh veg as close to your trip as possible.  I hope this helps you navigate the pre-pack and make ahead meals for your next road trip or even your husband and kids back to school lunches. I feel like you could do some of this a month at a time!

Grocery list:

  • Good quality deli turkey & genoa salami – one slice of each about 1/2 – 3/4″ thick
  • 1/2 pound shaved ham
  • 1/2 pound salami regular slice (greg loves cured meat and a bonus is it lasts a while)
  • 1# sliced cheddar cheese regular slice (don’t do too thin)
  • shredded cheese – blend like pizza cheese or mozzarella (I used a mix of what I had in the fridge)
  • sausage or bacon
  • a chicken breast
  • 1/2 pack of celery (the celery & carrots were just for me – so add more if you have more people)
  • 1/2 # carrots
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • spinach – I just used a handful in my egg cups so if you don’t have it on hand don’t buy it
  • mushrooms – portable are my fave but whatever you like
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 single serve packs of hummus (to go with the veggies)
  • 1 package of wraps
  • Loaf of hearty bread
  • PB & J
  • pack of crescent dough
  • pizza sauce
  • can of black beans