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30 Make Ahead Recipes – Perfect for Road Trips!

May 30, 2023 | Roundups | 0 comments

Make Ahead Recipes

These make ahead recipes are perfect for roadtrips but are also great for super busy weeks when there's no time to cook.

Are you gearing up for a family vacation and looking for some healthy make ahead recipes to balance out the nutrition (and expense!) of restaurant meals? Or perhaps you're about to embark on a super busy season at work and know you won't have much time for cooking.

Whatever the specific circumstances, we all have seasons when made-to-order cooking is just not possible Enter, healthy make ahead recipes!

I personally LOVE bringing a few of these items on road trips. I don't know about you, but dining out three times a day with two little ones in tow is not my idea of a vacation.

A few of the recipes, like some of the breakfasts, lunches and snacks, even make good healthy airplane food.

I've tried to include a variety of flavor profiles as well as a mix of items that need refrigeration and those that don't. A solid cooler is definitely helpful if you're looking to bring these make ahead items on a road trip!

Do you have any make ahead recipes you love? I want to hear 'em! Send me a message on Instagram @prepdish.

Make Ahead Recipes for Breakfast

I don't know about you but I like to leave good and early for a roadtrip. And I definitely don't want to be stopping that early in the trip to buy food. I also want a meal that's going to leave everyone feeling good. Make ahead recipes for breakfast are key for this! You'll find a mix of recipes that need a cooler or insulated bag and those that don't. The scones, muffins or breakfast cookies would be great for plane travel as well.

Gluten Free Blueberry Scones

Gluten Free Blueberry Scones w/ Lemon & Ginger

Something about scones feels so fancy but, I promise, these are totally approachable! Made with almond flour, they also call for fresh lemon and ginger which imparts the best flavor.

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Chia pudding makes the best make ahead breakfast or snack. You can add whatever fresh fruit your family loves. It's also super easy to make multiple jars at once so make a pre-portioned jar for everyone in your crew!

Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies

The kids will think you're the best mom ever when you pull out cookies for their road trip breakfast. You can feel great knowing these are full of protein and healthy fats though. They're also sweetened with dates so no sugar rush here!

Batch Cooking Muffins

Cherry Berry Muffins

My cherry berry muffins are both gluten free and paleo. Loaded with flax and fresh berries, they're quite healthy as well. The best part? These freeze really well. Make a double batch and freeze them and you'll have a grab and go breakfast whenever you need it!

Gluten Free Chai Spice Muffins

Chai Zucchini Muffins

These little gems were an immediate hit when they hit our meal prep meal plans. The chai-inspired spices lend the best flavor. Plus, they call for zucchini and I love knowing everyone's getting a little hit of vegetables with breakfast! These make a great snack as well.

Freezer Breakfast Burrito Recipe

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

You'll need an insulated bag to keep these warm unless you're going to eat them right away, Trust me though, it's worth it. I love eggs in the morning because they actually keep me full for hours. You can make these ahead of time and freeze so you can easily heat up and bring in the car if you're leaving for a road trip.

Healthy Egg Muffin Recipe

Lumberjack Muffins

Lumberjack muffins are another easy way to enjoy eggs on the go! Load these up with whatever veggies you love.

Grain Free Granola Recipe

Paleo Cherry Vanilla Granola

This paleo granola is loaded with nuts, which means they offer plenty of protein and healthy fats. This one freezes well too. You can eat it on yogurt, with your favorite milk or all on its own by the handful.

Make Ahead Lunches

When it comes to a road trip lunch, I want something filling but veggie-packed. I don't want to eat something super heavy and then be trapped in the car all afternoon. You'll find lots of salads and healthy wraps below. These work great as make ahead lunches for a super busy week at work too!

Best Steak Salad Recipe

Steak Salad with Almonds & Blackberries

Simple and delicious, this steak salad is loaded with protein and flavor. You could of course sub a different protein if you prefer.

Salmon Wrap Recipe

Easy Salmon Wraps

If you're using this make ahead lunch for a road trip, you may want to wait to actually assemble the wraps when you're ready to enjoy. You can also use the homemade caesar dressing as a dip rather than in the actual wrap for less mess.

Tuna Salad with Grapes

Tuna Salad with Grapes

Tuna salad is the perfect make ahead lunch. The grapes give this version a lovely hit of sweetness while sunflower seeds add just the right crunch.

Middle Eastern Salad Recipe with Homemade Tahini Sauce

Middle Eastern Salad w/ Tahini Sauce

This salad is bright, fresh and loaded with veggies, making it the best healthy make ahead lunch, for a roadtrip or anytime.

BLT Lettuce Wraps

BLT Lettuce Wraps

Just like the salmon wraps above, you may want to wait to assemble these BLT lettuce wraps until you're ready to eat. I would skip the jicama fries though, as they're better fresh!

Greek Salad with Chicken

Greek Salad with Chicken

I love this make ahead lunch anytime. I do like to bring salad dressings in a separate small container to keep everything fresh.

Zucchini Pasta Salad

Zucchini Pasta Salad

This zucchini pasta salad is MADE by the lemon basil sauce. You'll basically want to eat it on everything.

Watermelon Feta and Arugula Salad

Watermelon, Feta & Arugula Salad

If you need a make ahead meal for the summer, this watermelon, feta & arugula salad works great for either lunch or dinner. Pair it with some shrimp or grilled chicken and you're good to go!

Make Ahead Dinner Recipes

Dinner is probably the trickiest meal when it comes to road trips. I've put together a few make ahead dinner recipes for ya though. Think about proteins that are good hot or cold like shrimp, salmon and chicken. Also, don't feel bad if you just put together “snack dinners” for everyone. There's nothing wrong with some fruit, veggie sticks, nuts and a hard boiled egg for a road trip dinner.

And if you're looking for make ahead dinner recipes for home instead of travel, definitely check out this make ahead dinners roundup.

Sheet Pan Shrimp and Veggies

Sheet Pan Pesto Shrimp & Veggies

I love this easy sheet pan meal as a make ahead dinner recipe because I think shrimp are just as tasty cold as hot.

Grilled Curry Chicken Skewers

Grilled Curry Chicken w/ Yogurt Mint Sauce

The chicken in this easy, summery recipe would be super tasty cold as well, perhaps over a simple salad.

Summer Quinoa Salad

Summer Quinoa Salad

This summer quinoa salad is an obvious pick for a make ahead dinner recipe. It's nutritious, super tasty and really good leftover.

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

When it comes to make ahead recipes, it's great if you can find one that's best enjoyed cold like these chicken salad lettuce wraps. Eat them in a lettuce wrap, in your favorite tortilla, with crackers or over a salad.

Make Ahead Dinner Recipe BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad

A homemade creamy basil dressing brings this simple pasta salad together. This works just as well as a make ahead lunch.

Make Ahead Recipes for Dinner - Shrimp Cobb Salad

Shrimp Cobb Salad

Salads make a great road trip meal but they've got to be substantial or everyone will be asking for snacks within five minutes. This shrimp cobb salad fits the bill. You can also easily serve a deconstructed version to the kiddos if they prefer!

Easy Seafood Dish Coconut Lime Shrimp

Grilled Coconut Shrimp with Lime

Grill these shrimp at home and then bring them along as a make ahead meal that will have everyone looking forward to dinner and no one asking to stop at the drive thru.

Make Ahead Recipes for Snacks & Treats

While there's nothing wrong with some good ole goldfish and larabars for car snacks, sometimes it's nice to have something a little extra special. The below make ahead recipes for snacks and treats will satisfy those snacks cravings, while getting in some quality nutrition as well!

White Bean Hummus Recipe

White Bean Hummus

I love hummus as a make ahead snack because it's healthy AND filling. Dip crackers, pretzels or any veggie stick you like in this one. It's also delicious spread on a wrap or sandwich.

Make Ahead Treats Chocolate Energy Bites

Chocolate Bliss Energy Bites

We all know that part of the fun of road trips is the treats. That doesn't have to be M&Ms from the gas station though. These chocolate bliss energy bites are easy to throw together and make the perfect packable make ahed dessert!

Low Carb Snickerdoodle Bars

Sweetened with monk fruit extract, these tasty little bars are the perfect on-the-go sweet treat for the low carb eater in your life. They're also just plain delicious so consider giving them a try even if you're not low carb!

Healthy Popcorn Recipe Roundup

3 Healthy Popcorn Recipes

Homemade popcorn is such a great healthy alternative to chips. It has all of that delicious salty crunch, with no weird ingredients! These recipes take it a step further with fun mix-ins and spices for the popcorn.

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Sweet & Savory Rosemary Pecans

The very first recipe I ever shared on our Prep Dish blog, these sweet and savory rosemary pecans remain one of my favorites today! You can of course just bring plain nuts along for a healthy travel snack but if you want to take it up a notch, you can't go wrong with these.

Make Ahead Recipes - Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

Energy Bites

Packed with protein and healthy fats, energy bites are excellent for part of breakfast, a make ahead snack OR a healthy dessert! They're super versatile and totally delicious. This is a great freezer-friendly recipe so make a big batch and freeze for later!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

If you need a make ahead dessert that's perfect for road trips, these gluten free peanut butter cookies are an excellent choice! The best part? They're sweetened with dates and only require 3 ingredients!

More Resources for Make Ahead Recipes

What is batch cooking?

10 Healthy Freezer Breakfasts

The BEST Freezer Breakfast Burrito Recipe

10 Healthy Meal Prep Breakfast Ideas

Make Ahead Fall Dinner Recipes

Prep Ahead Lunch: Pecan Crusted Chicken Collard Wraps

Homemade Freezer Meals

More Resources for Healthy Road Trip Food

Healthy Travel Foods – Road Trips, Hotel Rooms & Airbnbs

Conquer the Gluten Free Road Trip

Easy & Healthy Travel Food

Healthy Hotel Room Food Ideas

10 Healthy Prep Ahead Snacks

5 Things to Prep for a Road Trip with Kids

Beginner Menu Guide


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Allison Schaaf Chef, Prep Dish

Prep Dish is a gluten-free, paleo, and keto meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes. Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

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