Travel-Friendly Dishes For Summers On-The-Go

Is your family constantly on-the-go during the summer months? The craziness of camp, more warm weather play dates and sleepovers, as well as impromptu picnics all call for crowd-pleasing recipes that stay fresh and travel well. It goes without saying you don’t want to eat processed junk or spend too much time slaving in the kitchen, so these dishes also need to be healthy and easy to prepare. Here are 3 inspirations for meals you can prep and pack ahead.

Instead of mayo-heavy picnic salads that roast in the summer heat (a food safety nightmare waiting to happen), mix up a side of whole grains, fresh vegetables, and vinaigrette. The combo has tummy-pleasing fiber and keeps unhealthy fat and calories under control. Plus, grain salads hold up better than their mayo-based counterparts and will actually taste yummier if they sit and marinate a bit longer. You can create flavor and texture combinations like farro with olives, tomatoes, and feta, or quinoa with beans and bell pepper.

Unlike sugary store-bought granola bars, homemade bars can be packed with nutrition. A combo of oats, nut butter, dried fruit, and a hint of a natural sweetener (like maple syrup or honey) can be cooked into bars or hand-molded into no-bake bites for tasty and healthy snacks to fuel those active summer days.

Pack along a fresh salad without soggy lettuce or fumbling with a tiny plastic cup of dressing. Line the bottom of a sealable jar with salad dressing, then layer your favorite salad fixings on top, saving the lettuce for last. Cover and pack; give the jar a shake to mix the ingredients when lunchtime rolls around.

One of the most important parts of packing food for an outing is keeping it temperature controlled. The hotter the weather, the more mindful you need to be. Reuseable ice packs are a must and keep any raw foods (think burgers and other raw stuff for the grill) in a separate cooler away from ready-to-eat foods. No salmonella on my fruit salad, thanks! To lessen the risk of foodbourne illness, prepared foods should not sit out for more than 2 hours, cut this down to one hour if the temperature is above 90 F. After time has expired, food must be reheated or placed back in the fridge. If that’s not an option, toss it!