5 Food Tips for Road Trips

With many of us still waiting to see how states will open up this summer, road trips look to be a safer travel option for people who still want to get out and adventure. This summer, AAA is predicting Americans will take 700 million trips from July through September.

Often road trips can lead to questions how to still maintain a healthy lifestyle and how to avoid snacking on gas station food. Allie Coulter, a Registered Dietitian at PRO Medical, outlined five tips to help keep you on track for your goals, while still enjoying your vacation.

1. Have a plan!

How long will you be gone? A short-day trip, several days, a week or more? Outline the travel route and identify if there will be grocery stores or restaurants along the way. If there are places to stop, you may only need to plan for a few meals at a time.

2. Identify food storage possibilities

Research and to determine if you will have access to a refrigerator or if packing a cooler will be the best option.

3. Determine what type of cooking methods will be available

Knowing what will be available will help plan meals or pack the necessary supplies.

Full functioning kitchen – RV, camper, or hotels/home rentals

Grill – provided or bring along a portable travel grill

Campfire pit – typically included in establish campgrounds

Singe burner stove – small, portable, and great when camping or hiking in remote areas

4. Create a list of meal and snack options

Identify perishable and non-perishable items to bring. It may only be feasible to bring non-perishable items. Prep food ahead of time, whether this be preparing a full meal, side dishes, sandwiches or cutting up produce. Less time spent prepping allows for more time traveling and exploring.

Ideas for non-perishable items:

  • Canned foods – beans, vegetables, or soups
  • Dried fruit or fresh fruit (apples, bananas, oranges)
  • Freeze dried meals
  • Granola bars
  • Individual condiment packages – mayo, mustard, nut butter, taco sauce
  • Instant coffee or tea
  • Jerky
  • Nuts, seeds or trail mix
  • Protein bars or shakes
  • Sandwiches – PBJ or pouches of canned chicken or tuna
  • Whole grain tortillas

5. Food safety

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before cooking and eating. Avoid keeping foods in the “Danger Zone” 40°F -140°F for longer than 2 hours to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Bring a food thermometer and put food away promptly after eating.

Cooking temperatures for meat:

  • Poultry 165°F
  • Ground meat 160°F
  • Beef or fish 145°F

Cool food below 40°F

Refrigerate or place in cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs and store food in small, shallow containers.


By Allie Coulter, PRO Medical Registered Dietitian

PRO Medical’s Registered Dietitians provide personalized meal plans and education to support you in making realistic lifestyle changes and in achieving your individual goals. We have experts in a variety of areas and provide support for adults, pediatrics and families.

Find more tips and tricks from our Registered Dietitians here.

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