How exciting! It’s almost time for your next amazing on-the-road adventure! Before you head out, check out these easy road trip lunch ideas.
You have a plan, and stopping for lunch probably isn’t the highlight of your trip. Road trip lunches can range from simple snacks to full-fledged meals that you can bring with you.
To help you plan your next road trip, I put together a list of 10 meal ideas for lunch that are easy to prepare. Best of all, they will keep everyone full and satisfied on your journey.
Things to Consider When Planning Road Trip Lunches
Lunch is usually a meal that takes less time than dinner and doesn’t need to be as heavy. That means it can be a lot easier to pack some easy things for a long trip that can be eaten for lunch.
Here are a few things to think about when preparing lunches for a road trip.
How many lunches do you need to pack?
Lunches tend to be cheaper and faster than dinners, so you might want to stop and buy lunch some days on your road trip. Decide how many days you want to have your own food for lunch and pack accordingly.
How will you keep food cold?
Keep in mind that you’ll probably need a cooler to keep foods and drinks cold. Finding as many room temperature snacks as possible will help keep space in the cooler free for lunch foods.
Choosing foods that don’t need to be heated
Heating food on a road trip isn’t impossible, but it’s definitely not convenient. You can stop at truck stops or use hotel microwaves for heating your lunches. However, the best way to go is to bring food that can be eaten cold.
You can also use a cooler bag with ice packs for spillover items like extra drinks. Just remember, whatever you keep in that bag might not stay as cold as it wouldn’t in a solid cooler.
Will you need utensils?
Be sure to pack any utensils, paper towels, serving dishes, and a trash bag to put it all in when everyone is finished.
The best road trip food ideas are convenient to pack and to eat while driving, so the fewer utensils and dishes you need to bring, the better!
Don’t forget drinks
Packing drinks is one of the best travel tips for families. Packing plenty of drinks for the trip, like water bottles and juice boxes, will save you time and money.
Buying drinks at a gas station is much more expensive than buying them at a grocery store, so be sure to stock up before you leave.
An even better way to save money is to bring refillable water bottles for the whole family.
Don’t forget sides for your lunches
Plenty of snacks to eat as sides to your lunches are a must! Healthy snacks and some treats, too, will keep everyone happy on long drives. T
hings like individual bags of potato chips, peanut butter crackers, string cheese, sunflower seeds, granola bars, fruit snacks, trail mix, hard-boiled eggs, and some fun junk food for that occasional sweet tooth are good snacks for road trips!
Best Road Trip Lunch Ideas
Check out this list of delicious and healthy road trip snacks to make your travels easier, more enjoyable, and more affordable!
1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches or Pitas/Rollups
When it comes to road trip lunches, you can never go wrong with the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also a filling and satisfying option and is usually perfect if you’re traveling with kids.
For a twist on the classic, consider making peanut butter and jelly pitas or tortilla roll ups. Just cut a pita in half and fill it with peanut butter and your favorite jelly or jam. To make a tortilla roll up, just spread the peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla and roll it up.
This will not only add some variety to your lunch, but it will also make it easier to eat in the car without making a mess. Another fun variation is to substitute the jelly with slices of banana or apple for a crunchy twist.
2. Tortilla Roll-Ups
When you’re looking for a lunch option that’s both portable and easy to eat on the go, tortilla roll-ups are a perfect choice. These snacks/lunches are simple to make and can be filled with a variety of ingredients. Plus, they don’t require any utensils, which makes them ideal for road trips.
To make tortilla roll-ups, start by choosing your tortillas. Flour or whole wheat tortillas work well, but you can also experiment with different flavors like spinach or sun-dried tomato. Next, choose your filling. Some ideas to try include cream cheese or hummus, deli meat or tofu, shredded cheese, sliced veggies like cucumbers or bell peppers, and fresh herbs like basil or cilantro.
To assemble your tortilla roll-ups, spread your filling onto a tortilla and add your desired ingredients on top. Be sure to leave some space around the edges to prevent the filling from spilling out. Then, tightly roll up the tortilla and slice it into bite-sized pieces. Pack your roll-ups in a plastic container or wrap them in foil for easy transport.
3. Chicken Salad Wraps
Chicken salad is a classic sandwich filling, but it can be messy and difficult to eat on a road trip. That’s why we love the idea of wrapping it up in a tortilla! Not only is it a cleaner way to eat, but it also gives you more room to add extra veggies or greens to the mix.
To make these wraps, start by preparing your chicken salad mixture. I like to use shredded rotisserie chicken, but you can also use canned chicken or cook your own. Combine the chicken with mayo, diced celery and onion, and any other seasonings you like (I recommend adding some dried cranberries or raisins for sweetness).
Lay out your tortilla and spread a thin layer of cream cheese or hummus over the top. This will help keep your filling in place and add a little extra flavor. Next, spoon a generous amount of chicken salad down the center of the tortilla, leaving a little bit of space on either side. Add some spinach leaves, shredded carrots, or sliced cucumber for extra crunch.
To wrap your tortilla, fold in the sides first, then roll it up tightly from the bottom. If you want to take these wraps on the go, you can wrap them individually in parchment paper or foil to keep them fresh.
These chicken salad wraps are a great option for a more substantial lunch on the road. They’re also a great way to use up leftover chicken from a previous meal. Give them a try on your next adventure!
4. Cucumber Sandwiches
These sandwiches are light and refreshing to keep you going but won’t weigh you down. Not only are they easy to make, they’re also so delicious.
Start by thinly slicing a cucumber and setting it aside. Then, spread a layer of cream cheese onto a slice of bread. Top with the cucumber slices and another slice of bread. Repeat until you have as many sandwiches as you need.
These sandwiches are great because they don’t require any cooking or heating, and they can be kept in a zip lock bag or lunchbox in the cooler.
Pro tip: To mix things up, try adding some fresh herbs like dill or chives to your cream cheese before spreading it on the bread. It’s a simple addition that can take your sandwiches to the next level.
5. Rainbow Pinwheels
These colorful bites are not only fun to eat, but they’re also packed with nutrition, and they’re filling and satisfying.
To make rainbow pinwheels, you’ll need to start with a tortilla wrap. Choose a whole-grain tortilla to keep things healthy and more filling. Next, add a layer of cream cheese or hummus as a base. This will help keep the toppings in place and add some extra flavor.
Now it’s time to add the rainbow! Start by adding a layer of sliced bell peppers in different colors. Then, add a layer of shredded carrots, followed by some thinly sliced cucumbers. Finally, top it all off with some fresh baby spinach leaves.
Roll the tortilla up tightly and then cut it into slices. These colorful pinwheels are easy to eat while you’re on the road. Pack them in an airtight container or wrap them in foil to keep them fresh in the cooler until it’s time to eat.
Rainbow pinwheels are the perfect lunch option for anyone looking for a healthy and tasty snack while on a road trip. Plus, they’re so pretty to look at that you might just find yourself wanting to take a picture before you take a bite!
6. Cracker Stackers
Cracker Stackers are the perfect road trip lunch option for those who are looking for something easy and customizable. The concept is simple – you just stack your favorite crackers with toppings that suit your taste buds.
To start, you’ll need to pick the crackers that you’ll be using as the base for your stack. You can use anything from plain crackers to flavored ones like cheese or garlic. Once you have your crackers, it’s time to choose the toppings.
You can use a wide variety of toppings for your cracker stackers, from veggies and fruits to meats and cheeses. Here are some ideas to get you started:
– Hummus, cucumber, and tomato slices
– Cream cheese, smoked salmon, and capers
– Cheddar cheese, sliced apples, and grapes
– Tuna salad, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes
– Roast beef, cream cheese, and chives
The key is to stack your crackers and toppings in a way that creates a delicious and balanced bite. Try layering your ingredients and experimenting with different combinations until you find the perfect match.
Cracker Stackers are perfect for a picnic lunch on your road trip. You’ll need to be able to spread out and assemble your crackers while letting everyone choose their own crackers and toppings. You’ll have a meal that’s not only tasty but also a fun bonding experience.
7. Mini Bagel Sandwiches
If you’re a fan of bagels, you’ll love this mini version that’s perfect for road trips. Not only are these little bites adorable, but they’re also delicious and easy to make.
Simply slice a mini bagel in half, spread on some cream cheese, and top it with your favorite toppings.
Some great options include smoked salmon, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and chives. Or, go for a sweet and savory combo with cream cheese, sliced apples, and a drizzle of honey.
The best thing about mini bagel bites is that they’re easy to customize to your liking. If you’re traveling with picky eaters or people with dietary restrictions, you can just adjust the toppings to fit their preferences.
Plus, they’re easy to eat on the go and won’t make a mess in your car. Pack them in a small container or bag and enjoy them during a rest stop or on the road.
8. Chicken Salad and Crackers
Chicken salad and crackers are a super easy option for a road trip lunch. Chicken salad can be prepared ahead of time and easily packed in a cooler for your trip. All you need is some cooked chicken, mayonnaise, celery, and spices, and you’re good to go.
Add a little crunch to your lunch with crackers. You can choose from a variety of crackers, like wheat crackers, whole grain crackers, or even cheese crackers.
To add some extra flavor and nutrition to your chicken salad, consider adding some diced apples, grapes, or cranberries. These sweet and tangy fruits pair perfectly with the savory chicken and create a well-balanced and satisfying meal.
Chicken salad and crackers are not only easy to prepare and pack, but they’re also a healthy and filling option for your road trip adventure.
Don’t overlook the so very simple lunchables for your road trip lunches. If you’re traveling with kids, nothing can be easier than tossing some lunchables in the cooler.
Lunchables are pre-packaged meals that typically have crackers, cheese, and lunch meats, but they also come in other options like pizzas, chicken nuggets, and more.
This can be an easy way to make everyone happy with their favorite lunchables and make lunch time as easy as passing out lunchables while you’re driving down the road.
10. Fresh Fruit
You’ll want to have some hearty options on a road trip, but it’s equally important to have some fresh and healthy options too. That’s where fresh fruit comes in! Apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes are all easy to transport and make for a refreshing snack and a good light lunch if you have a heavy breakfast.
11. Protein Bars
Protein bars are great for snacking and as part of a really simple lunch. They come in a variety of flavors and can provide you with the energy you need to keep going throughout the day.
Look for protein bars that have a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. This will keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal. Some of our favorite brands include KIND, RXBAR, and Quest Nutrition.
Not only are protein bars convenient, but they also don’t require any preparation or clean-up. You can easily stash them in bag and take them out whenever you need a snack. You can pair this with fruit for a light lunch.
12. Charcuterie Box
A charcuterie box is the perfect adult lunchable. Not only is it easy to put together, but it’s also really easy to eat in the car.
To start, grab a plastic container with a lid. Then, add some sliced meats like salami, prosciutto, or turkey. Cheese is another must-have component of a charcuterie board, so add some small cheese cubes or sliced cheese.
Next, add some crackers or bread to the box. You can also include some nuts, dried fruit, or olives to add more flavor and texture to your lunch.
Don’t forget the finishing touches! Add some fresh fruit, like grapes or berries.
13. Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Pimento cheese sandwiches are so easy to throw together and eat in the car. All you need is some pre-made or homemade pimento cheese spread and your choice of bread. You can also add in some sliced tomato or crispy bacon if you want to take your sandwich to the next level.
When it’s time to assemble your sandwich, spread a generous amount of pimento cheese on one slice of bread, add any additional toppings you like, then top with the other slice of bread. Make these ahead or just toss the ingredients in your cooler and toss them together when you’re ready to eat.
14. Veggies and Hummus
Veggies and hummus are the perfect combination and a lot more filling than you might imagine. You can chop up your favorite vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, celery, and bell peppers into easy-to-eat sticks or slices.
Bring a container of your favorite hummus flavor for dipping. Not only is this lunch option delicious and easy to pack, but it’s also healthy and satisfying.
15. Tuna and Crackers
The best part about tuna and crackers is that you can buy premixed/flavored tuna packs that don’t need to be refrigerated.
This frees up space in your cooler to pack foods that need to stay cold. You can also use your favorite vegetables, like celery sticks or carrots, to eat the tuna, along with the crackers.
Bringing along meals that are easy to prepare, pack, and eat on road trips. It’s a great way to make sure you save time and money and get some healthy-ish food on your trip. It just takes a little bit of planning.
No matter where your travels take you, I hope these road trip lunch ideas are helpful! Now that you have lunch ideas for your road trip, check out these road trip dinner ideas!
Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:
What to pack in a Car Emergency Kit
12 Benefits of Drinking Olive Oil Before Bed