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July August 2023

How to Meal Plan for Any Summer Vacation

Vacation meals, for wherever your destination may be.
July August 2023

When fun in the sun away from home is on the agenda, you need an easy-breezy menu to match.  Skip the line at the touristy restaurant, the fast food drive-thru, or gas station snacks by making your own customized menu of vacation munchies. With just a little planning and prep, you can keep the whole crew satisfied and keep the good times rolling, too. These tips and recipes for trip-friendly eats have got you covered, no matter where or how you vacation.

Road Trip

The great American road trip is a summer tradition, and so is the phrase “mom, dad, we’re hungry!” Kick those complaints to the curb with protein-packed meals and snacks that will keep everyone fuller, longer. For easy serving on the go, portion food individually with parchment wrappers or plastic baggies. Be sure to bring cooler bags and ice packs for perishable items (anything with meat, dairy, eggs, or mayo), or choose items that can stay at room temp, like nut butter sandwiches, homemade trail mix, and granola bars.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bites

These kid-friendly PB&J energy bites are ready to hit the road when you are. They check all the boxes: mess-free, finger-friendly, and loaded with the protein power of peanut butter and rolled oats.

Vacation Rental

Ah, the joys of a home away from home. A rental property with a kitchen can make life easier when it comes to meal prep, but some advanced planning is still required. Before you leave, get a rough inventory of the equipment available. Is the kitchen fully stocked or is it a BYO spatula situation?

Just because you have a kitchen on vacation doesn’t mean you want to spend all of your time there. To cut down on cooking, choose a streamlined menu of easy recipes that can be prepared quickly in large batches, without a long list of ingredients.

Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken and Ramen Noodles

Ramen is always a crowd-pleasing option for filling bellies while stretching a buck, but you’ve never had it like this before. Cooking on a sheet pan alongside marinated chicken thighs and veggies turns the noodles into a crunchy, nutty-tasting accompaniment the whole family will love.

Beach or Park Day

You don’t have to travel far to get that summer vacation feeling, especially when you pack something delicious to savor together. Make the most of a day trip to the beach or park with a picnic-style menu that feels like a special occasion. Instead of plates and utensils, opt for finger foods that can be served creatively, such as skewered onto craft sticks or scooped into paper cupcake liners. A muffin pan is a great way to transport and serve an array of small snacks, dips, and sauces. Just fill the cups and keep the pan wrapped tightly with plastic until you’re ready to eat. When it’s time to sit down for the meal, keep everyone comfortable and dry by spreading a plastic tarp (a plastic tablecloth or shower curtain liner also work) underneath your picnic blanket as a barrier against wet grass and sand.

Ham Salad Pinwheel Pops

Serve up summer fun on a stick, anywhere, with this customizable recipe that turns ordinary lunch wraps into whimsical, two-bite pops. We love the combo of zippy ham salad with relish and fresh chives spiraled inside flour tortillas. Try mixing and matching with any of your favorite sandwich ingredients.

Boat Day 

When summer travel takes you to the high seas (or lakes or rivers), portability is key. Keep hunger at bay with a menu that’s easy to pack, eat, and clean up. Keep your vessel looking spic and span with pre-moistened wipes for hands and choose mess-free foods that won’t leave a stain. The motion of the ocean makes a day on the boat extra fun, but it can also mean a big mess if you don’t plan your menu accordingly. Reusable glass jars with tight-fitting lids are a convenient, spill-minimizing option for transporting drinks, snacks, and desserts.  
Mason Jar Southern Banana Pudding

This treat from the Deep South makes any summer outing twice as nice. Individual Mason jars layered with vanilla pudding, fresh banana, and vanilla wafer cookies are make-ahead friendly and easily portable. 

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