Over a year ago, I shared a post about meal planning on vacation. The post was written from the beach house my husband’s parents rented for a week. It was a week full of surf and sand and three kids three and under.
While we were away, vacationing, I wanted to enjoy the holiday experience too. But, since kids still need parents and everyone still needs to eat, sometimes a vacation can seem like doing what you always do just in a much more scenic landscape.
Hence, my goal when I sit down and meal plan before a vacation is to create a plan that allows me to spend as much time as possible VACATIONING. Out of the kitchen. Enjoying my family. Maybe even putting my feet up for a few minutes.
I plan for every meal while we are gone– breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s not in our budget to eat out more than a couple of times, and I try to prioritize healthy eating while we are traveling too. So the meals are simple, healthy, and budget-friendly.
Recently, my family had the opportunity to spend a week in a cabin in the mountains. We needed space and time to grieve. Six days in a cabin, atop the steepest driveway I’ve climbed, with no wi-fi or cell service. We had time to read, time to process what happened, and time to invest in each other.
More than on any other “vacation”, I
wanted needed a break from the work that usually occupies my time. There wouldn’t be laundry to wash or floors to mop. And if I prepared a little beforehand, there wouldn’t be much food to cook either.
Keep reading to see what my easy meal plan was for each meal, as well as a prepping and shopping list for the weekend before our trip.
Raisin, Date, & Walnut Steel Cut Oats
Eggs and Bacon with English Muffins
Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Veggie Straws, Yogurt & Fruit
Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam Sandwiches, Veggie Straws, & Fruit
Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Cooks Illustrated) & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Hot Dogs, Sweet Potato Fries, & Sautéed Zucchini and Onions
Meatloaf, Green Beans & Macaroni and Cheese
The nacho meat, soup, and meatloaf were cooked before the trip and only needed to be reheated. Everything else took little time to prep and cook at the cabin.
Preparing Food Before the Trip
Our trip to the mountains was from a Monday to Saturday. I used a few hours on Saturday and Sunday before we left to make most of the food on our meal plan. The trade-off of cooking over the weekend was that my time in the cabin kitchen would be very limited.
- nacho meat
- broccoli and cheese soup (Cooks Illustrated)
- cook pasta for salad and bag with toppings (wait to add dressing until ready to eat)
- dressing for pasta salad
- bag oatmeal toppings (raisins, chopped dates, chopped walnuts, brown sugar)
- strawberry jam
- cook meatloaf
- watermelon fruit leather
- sandwich loaves
- bag breading for chicken parmesan
- ranch dressing
- steel cut oats
- deli turkey & cheese
- fruit pouches & fig bars (snacks from Costco)
- veggie straws
- peanut butter
- apples, peaches, bananas
- hot dogs & buns
- zucchinin, onions, & sweet potatoes
- spaghetti noodles
- pasta sauce
- chicken breasts
- ranch dressing
- tortilla chips
- parmesan cheese
- green beans
- Annie’s macaroni and cheese
- English muffins
Kitchen Items I Brought Along:
There are a few kitchen tools that I bring with me whenever we go places. These tools are small and worth the space it takes to bring them along. The only thing that I wish I would have brought with me, but didn’t, is a good nonstick frying pan. Making fried eggs in a not-so-great pan isn’t fun. Hashtag, live and learn.
- microplane (for grating parmesan cheese)
- bread knife
- chef knife
- paring knife
- cutting board
- 1 large baking sheet
Can you tell I’m particular about my knives? I had a bad experience once visiting a friend and having to chop a dozen bell peppers with a dull knife. Never.Again.
We have another short trip coming up and I’m planning our meals once again. It’s so nice to be able to make dinner in fifteen minutes or less when there’s R&R that needs to be done.
What about you? Do you plan meals before vacations? What is your favorite travel food?
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