How to prepare meals in a camper van

When your family hits the road in a camper van, you want your kids to be well nourished throughout your journey. After all, well-fed kids are generally happy kids, which can make your road trip more enjoyable. However, a small campervan kitchen might pose a challenge and leave you scrambling for diverse and delicious meal options that your youngsters can enjoy. Once you’ve devised your road trip and secured your camper van rental, take time to meal plan before you hit the open road.

camper van

Know What You’re Working With

Before your trip, familiarize yourself with the campervan kitchen. Typically, you’ll have a refrigerator, a couple of burners, and a small grill. So, while real estate might be small, you’ll have enough basic tools to throw together a variety of meals for your hungry family.

Focus on One-Pot Meals

You don’t have to rely on hot dogs every night—even if your kids might love that—when you’re road tripping in a campervan. However, you do need to get creative to provide a well-rounded meal that doesn’t require too many pots and pans. One-skillet meals are a smart solution when you’re cooking in a campervan. For breakfast, brown sausage in a skillet, pour eggs over the cooked sausage, and top with cheese. You’ll have a hearty breakfast skillet, which you can serve on its own or wrap in a tortilla to make breakfast burritos. Diced potatoes, veggies, and kielbasa or turkey sausage is another mouthwatering meal that requires just one skillet.

Get Grilling

If your campervan includes a small grill, take advantage of this versatile appliance. Hot dogs and hamburgers are, of course, a simple and kid-friendly option when you’re exploring the open road, but don’t limit yourself to these classics. Tortillas can double as pizza crust—just top them with sauce and your kids’ favorite toppings for a simple and crowd-pleasing dish. Enjoy a Mexican-inspired night with bean and cheese quesadillas cooked on the grill. Grill packets are also convenient when you’re on the road, and they minimize messes. Chopped veggies and potatoes, along with an easy-to-grill meat, wrapped in aluminum foil requires little effort and delivers a hearty meal every time.

Minimize Cooking But Maximize Meals

Don’t spend too much time on your journey in the campervan kitchen. Instead, focus on ways to cook in bulk for your family and use up every last ingredient to create a diverse menu that pleases both kids and adults. For example, chicken breasts have a variety of uses, so cook several pounds of breasts at once. You can boil the chicken and shred it or fire up the campervan grill. Make chicken salad for sandwiches, add shredded chicken to tortillas for tacos or quesadillas, or toss some barbecue sauce on it and add it to a bun. This way, you’ll devise several convenient meals in one cooking session, which leaves you more time to enjoy your adventure.

Even though the quarters are tight and the resources limited, cooking in a campervan doesn’t have to be frustrating. You can keep your family well fed during your getaway with thoughtful meal planning, simple recipes, and versatile ingredients.

Image BY studio tdes via flickr.com under a Creative Commons License CC BY 2.0

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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