Grab the kids, pack the car, it’s time for a road trip! If half the fun of summer vacation is the “getting there,” then the other half must be the snacks you bring for the trip, right? Okay, maybe the only great part about spending seven hours in the car with your family might be the food.
There’s something nostalgic, indulgent, and extravagant about devoting a little time and effort to putting together good meals for a car trip: a little “no thanks” to the stand-bys of gas station chip bags and McDonald’s French fries. So we’ve rounded up some amazing make-ahead recipes to keep you and your family well-fed all the way to grandma’s house, the beach, or wherever you’re headed this summer.
1. Egg, Sausage, and Cheese Bundt Breakfast Sandwich
If you have to hit the road early to beat the heat or the traffic, make the bread and frittata portions of this dish ahead of time and warm this in the oven while you pack the car. It will definitely be the best-shaped sandwich on the road, and it might even quell some of those early morning grumbles after everyone takes a bite.
2. Vegetable Supreme Egg Bake
If you’re all about portability and less about pretty, try this breakfast option — you can make it the night before and hand it out in the morning, cut into personal-sized pieces. With the wealth of spinach, carrots, and mushrooms baked in, this will start the day — and trip — off on a healthful note.
3. Cakey, Oaty Energy Bars Packed with Fruits & Seeds
Keep car snack time from falling into the dark territory that is letting small children pick cookie packages at a mini-mart with these hearty, allergen-avoiding energy bars. Packed with oats, applesauce, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, and dried fruit, they’re sweet, thick, and will keep everyone’s energy up for the next round of “20 Questions.”
4. Savory Babka with Pesto, Ricotta, and Sun-Dried Tomato
In between packing your suitcase and your kids’ stuff, let this savory stuffed bread rise, and then bake it the night before and keep some slices handy for the trip. The eggy bread with its hearty insides make it just filling enough to keep everyone feel like they’ve eaten a light meal, without overstuffing them or requiring lots of assembly in the moving vehicle.
5. Peanut Butter, Banana, and Granola Wrap
Lunchtime rolls around and you’re still rolling down the highway, so bust out these wraps to keep complaints to a minimum. These simple roll-ups are easy to put together, even amidst the chaos of packing the fam up, and will stash well for whenever they’re needed on the trip.
6. Salad in a Jar
Everybody knows that road trip food can be pretty heavy — which is hard when you’re not moving much. But if you’re looking for a lighter lunch to make ahead and pack for the car, a jar salad is the perfect answer: self-contained, easily stored, and can be customized to everyone’s tastes.
7. Easy Tomato Pie
But if you’re looking for more of a gourmet-style lunch, look no further than this easy tomato pie. Make it ahead of time and slice into individual portions and stash until lunch time. The big flavors and summer vegetables will make even a roadside picnic table seem like a Michelin-starred restaurant.
8. Egg Wraps with Ham and Greens
For a gluten-free spin on a classic car sandwich — or a savory snack — check out these easy egg roll-up wraps. The pinwheel cut makes them easy to pop in your mouth as you’re driving, and if you’re not, they are as easy on the eyes as they are to make.
9. No-Bake Peanut Butter Protein Cookies
It’s not a road trip without a few sweet treats that you can pretend are healthful and not just because there’s not much else to do in the car. These no-bake cookies work well on-the-go, whether it’s to help you get through those last few hours of the drive or to bribe the kids to just be quiet for 15 minutes, please.
10. Apricot Newtons
Make a delicious homemade replacement for classic Fig Newtons (but with apricots, of course)! Your kids will love them.
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