You’ve heard that before when you’re on a road trip. And that’s just from your spouse. Just imagine what happens when you add kids into the mix.
Yeah, it gets bad.
The problem is, once you’ve stopped for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’ve blown a day’s pay, and it’s possible you’ll STILL hear “I’m hunnnnnngryyyyyyyyy” from your spouse, your kids, the dog, the cat, AND your belly.
Here are some tips on how to feed your family on the road.
Learn to cook from scratch,
then freeze the meals and take them on the road. Simple ingredients are a lot cheaper than food that’s been prepared for you, so learn how to bake potatoes into French fries instead of buying a bag yourself. And yes, your kids will say McDonalds’ fries are better, and they are probably right, but Lawry’s seasoning salt goes a long way.
Foods in season not only taste better and are better for you, they’re cheaper as well. Research what’s in-season and look for those foods. You may also consider buying from farmer’s markets. That’s those places where a lot of people who know how to grow things gather to sell their wares accompanied by an Americana band named ‘Smile on Your People Now.’ They’re also really friendly and willing to haggle!
Yes, the easy road trip food. Why? Because the hard work is already done. When you do go to a restaurant, cook a big meal, or fall for the “25 chicken chunks with honey ranch for $5” deal, you will have leftovers. Leftovers are wonderful. They taste good, are easy to fix, and are essentially free, and you can store them in an RV because you’ll have a fridge. If your kids refuse to eat them, tell them McDonald’s is out until the leftovers are gone.
Cut out junk food.
Sigh. Yes, junk food is so good, so tasty, and so sweet. I should go open a bag of chips and grab a soda and…
Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Junk food is SO BAD for you. It’s also expensive when you compare it to whole ingredients. A bag of chips, for instance, can be $5 or more, while a bag of potatoes can be a couple bucks. Crackers are also alarmingly expensive. Snacks also prevent kids from eating well at dinnertime because they are so full of said snacks. Cut out soda, chips, and snacks, and your food bill will already be cut in half.
Healthy road trip food might be more work, but it’s better in the long run, trust us.
Make your own coffee.
Believe it or not, that daily treat from Starbucks may cost you $5-$10 a day, or $300 a month. Homemade coffee is much cheaper and tastes good. Besides, when it’s 5 a.m. and your turn to drive, you aren’t going to care if your coffee was roasted by monks on top of Mt. Fuji.
In fact, just get the ice water at a restaurant, too, as those drinks are up to $3 or more a pop. And don’t even get us started on cocktails (seriously, don’t, because we love them and it’s our turn to drive soon).
Share and share alike.
The adults should share a meal at a restaurant, and if your kids are young enough, they can share an adult meal between each other, as well. You’ll have trouble with this once your kids develop an affinity for their own meals (which will come earlier than you like) but you can tell them that they either share or it’s leftovers for dinner again. Also, keep your teenagers to eating just one meal.
Look for deals.
Deals abound in the restaurant world because the competition is so tough. Some may give out rewards, such as McDonalds and Chick Fil A, and sit-down places may offer discounts for those who eat around 4 p.m. And the best places to eat give steep discounts for kids, especially during the week. Take advantage of all these perks.
The best road trip food is the kind that immediately reminds you of the outdoors. So, cook, grill, and make sandwiches at the campsite. The whole point of having an RV is to make your own meals, right? Especially when it’s done at any of the exterior kitchens you can find on select Fleetwood RVs. Your RV has a kitchen, after all, so take full advantage of it!