Road Trip Food 101

Vacation. That long awaited, much anticipated one week of relaxation and rest is finally here. This morning we embark on our 14 hour drive from our home in Ohio to Cape Cod, MA.

I’m actually quite fond of road trips. It always brings back memories of vacations past, of making sandwiches in the car, of playing the license plate game, of steamrolling through one novel after another until we arrived at our destination.

I believe vacations are a time to splurge a bit. To eat lobster. To ride ferries. To sunbathe far too long. To get pruned skin from all that ocean time. But one thing I don’t like to splurge on is road trip food. You know what I’m talking about. The low quality, high grease, unbelievably overpriced stuff you find in the mini strip malls they’ve created to rip people off while they’re on toll roads (I’m not bitter).

Well, this year I decided we’re not doing it. I refuse to spend $8 for a burger with a smashed bun and watery ┬átomato. So we decided to pack a cooler with all the food we’ll need for the upcoming drive.

Now road trip food presents its own challenges and questions. Each food I packed had to endure a sort of “road trip ready” test that went something like this:

Portable? Good. Messy? Bad. Tasty? Great! Crumbly? Really bad.

Easy to assemble? Hop on board! Easily spoiled? Sorry, seats taken.

After much deliberation, we came up with what I like to think of as a pretty darn good road trip ready menu, complete with meals, snacks, and drinks. Here’s what we’re taking:

Since the Mr. is doing the majority of the driving, he got to choose the drinks. He chose frozen Capri Suns (which act as great ice packs for your other food) and Vernors.

For meals we decided to go with simple sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly or Nutella. I also made some stromboli, sliced it in half, and wrapped it in foil so it could be eaten without unwrapping. Stromboli is a great food for road trips because it can be eaten hot or cold.

For sides and snacks, I chose protein packed hummus and carrots, celery, and Triscuits for dipping, frozen grapes, a few apples, homemade granola bars (more on those later!) and some Baby Bell Cheeses.

Finally, part of the joy of road trips is stopping at a gas station and splurging on that candy bar you would otherwise resist. But again, we didn’t want to spend $3 on a candy bar. So instead we went to Sam’s Club and each payed $10 for a giant bag of our “guilty pleasure” snacks: pretzel M&Ms for me and jerky for the Mr. A little counter-productive? Probably, but believe me, there’s nothing like starting a road trip with a huge bag of Pretzel M&Ms by your side.

So everyone! We’re off! I’ll catch you all in a week, but until then, what are some of your go-to road trip foods?

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