Traveling with a Large Family – Part 2: Planning the Menu

My menu is the second page of my “travel packet” that fits in my homemade planner (more on that later, maybe.)  Most of my vacation menu planning is for staying at a cabin where we can prepare our own meals, at least for part of the trip.  There is sometimes a day (or two) of traveling before and after our destination.  So this is what I usually do . . .

1.  Make a calendar-chart big enough for all the meals on our trip (organized by day, of course) and then label each square (in little words) with where we will be for that meal. 

2.  Plan each meal based on three things:  1) Where we will be—as in, on the road, at a hotel, or at our destination, and 2) How much time will have gone by since the food was refrigerated or frozen, 3) What is easy to make ahead of time and pack, versus what can (or needs to be) to be made or heated up at our destination. 

Then filling in the squares usually goes like this…

Meals on the road – Most perishable and/or squish-able sandwiches eaten first, ending with peanut butter and jelly.  (Egg salad sandwiches, tuna salad sandwiches, meat wraps, taco dip with tortilla chips, then PB&J.  (This goes for the drive home, too, but those meals are prepared at the cabin.)

Any breakfast before arriving at our destination – continental breakfast at a hotel (I know, not very healthy)

Meals at our destination – at least semi-healthy breakfasts , like scrambled eggs, homemade pancakes, and french toast; lunches that we can make at the cabin and bring on day trip or hike (sandwiches and wraps), and dinners that I can make and freeze ahead of time to just heat up at the cabin (beef stew, BBQ beef sandwiches, spaghetti casserole, etc.)  I have even brought a crock pot and our own large griddle a few times

Scattered throughout – since we don’t eat very much convenience food normally, our kids find it a treat to have “special” foods like little yogurts, applesauce, pudding, crackers, chips, granola bars and trail mix.  In our family, these snacks have become synonymous with traveling, and going to the grocery store to buy these things is about as fun as the trip itself!

Next time . . . Planning and Packing the Clothes

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