Road trips can be expensive, nutrition free odysseys or provide gourmet healthy travel; it all depends on what you pack! Delicious picnics that need no refrigeration and a healthy travel lunchbox are the best steps to prevent the fast food and tummy troubles that can ruin a vacation.

Pack a picnic basket with these shelf stable ingredients and have a gourmet roadside experience. To make things even better, you can accommodate everyone in the car in one fell swoop: your vegetarian, your paleo person, your vegan and your gluten free traveller.  Be sure to bring plates, wet wipes and napkins because you will be enjoying al fresco with your hands instead of a la paper wrapper from a drive through.


Seaweed Wrapped Cheese

Some cheese is just fine in a lunchbox, particularly baby cheeses that come wrapped in wax.  They are just fine on their own but to amp them up roadside, try skewering them with a seaweed snack sheet. Seaweed contains all of the minerals found on planet earth making it the tastiest way to get vegetarian nourishment and protein on a stick. And to think…we had pogo hot dogs…

Jerky Pizza

With jerky being the hot new artisan ingredient, it is only a natural travel companion. Use the jerky itself as the crust, use a squeeze of tomato paste (again from a tube!), sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning and top with sheep’s Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano. I know you are thinking “but I need a fridge for the cheese!” You don’t. These hard cheeses are actually best at room temperature and will keep quite well for a couple of days in a cool hotel room. Paleo Friendly.


Deviled Eggs

Pickled eggs are found in jars the refrigerated section but are just fine at room temperature for up to 24 hours thanks to the high amounts of salt and vinegar in the brine. Think of these as premium protein deviled eggs halfway done. In Europe mustard comes in a tube and you can find these in gourmet grocers or in neighborhoods with European shops. They are cheap, smaller and more convenient than a big ol’ jar. Feel free to keep these tubes for about a week at room temperature (don’t leave in the hot car but your cool hotel room is just fine). Slice an egg, top with a squeeze of mustard and enjoy!

Tuna Tomato Bites

Tuna comes in teeny cans now all flavored and ready to serve. Sun-dried tomatoes become high nutrient, non wheat, non carb crackers.  With the flick of a fork you have a bite sized deliciously filling morsel.

car charcuterie.dried fruit creme

Dried Fruit with Cream and Nuts

You have had tea and scones with clotted cream. There is a cream product  of pseudo high tea-ness that is canned and ready to serve up to 4 people as a decadent smear of yummy goop to hold healthy, tasty nuts in place. Dip dried apricots, prunes, apples or pineapples into the cream and sprinkle with slivered hazelnuts. 2 kinds of protein, fiber, carbohydrates and nutrients from the fruit in one delicious bite.

If you are really ready to go all French and picnic like a pro, consider a stop at a grocer and go full on car charcuterie. Even the local 7 11 will have a block of cheddar and a packet of ham that can be dressed up to go to the dance. Pack these extras:

Jarred salsa in many cool flavors and blue corn chips

Unsweetened applesauce goes great with sharp cheese

Pickled vegetables not only amp up the flavor and color of your platter, the vinegar comes in handy to “pickle” leftover veg

Ajvar is a puree or paste made from roasted red peppers which is great for spreading on crackers


Sauerkraut is terrific pre-biotic food for the tummy and a forkful in a ham rollup is divine.

In short, don’t let summer coerce you into scraping the bottom of the drive through barrel. With a few shelf stable ingredients, healthy gourmet is better, faster and cheaper and will keep your motor running.