When you decide to move to a life on the road there are so many things to consider. Tow vehicle, van, direction, schooling, supplies, recovery gear. The list goes on. Being a family of 6, food is a big component of our travel. When we first started, we decided that we would take the basics and support local towns we visited and stock up during our stay. However, we learned very quickly that the towns we were visiting were not equipped to support the volume of food we needed to keep our family running.
Lessons We Learned From Our First Trip
On our first stop in Barcaldine, we visited the local food store to buy milk and bread. The store only had four cartons of one litre long-life milk on the shelf. Our family drinks over 21 litres of milk a week, so these four cartons would have been lucky to last a day for our family. And what if the locals needed milk as well?
Another thing we discovered was the volume of food our children eat when they are home all day. There’s breakfast, second breakfast, morning tea, pre-lunch, lunch, and all this by midday! The food bill was skyrocketing too. It took some time to figure out that this was not a holiday where we eat out at bakeries and go to restaurants for dinner every night. This was a way of life and we had to watch where we were spending our money to ensure us the freedom to keep travelling.
Things To Keep In Mind
Available Storage Space
When feeding a large family, your storage area needs to be considered also. We have a slide-on camper and a caravan, giving us two fridges with a small freezer in each. Our usual frozen fruit smoothies were the first to go, as we do not have the freezer space to keep the ingredients frozen. Frozen vegetables are also off the list, as the available freezer space is kept for freezing meat for main meals.
Best Storage Containers To Use
Before we started our trip, I collected square flour containers that all of our dry goods are stored in. This saves room and also keeps them fresh. Some thought needs to go into the fridge stacking also. With limited space, having odd-shaped items can be the difference between keeping leftover dinner or having to throw it out. We use glass rectangle containers that we already had at home, they stack well in our fridge and our children are older, making the heavier more fragile glass not an issue. You can use any stackable containers and some companies sell containers that add to the shelf or fridge life of your food.
What We Eat On The Road
So, what do we eat? Here is a list of the foods we find filling, easy to store and great for the budget.
They’re nutritious, filling, and cheap. Making a big pot of oats in the morning fills tummies and gives slow-releasing energy to see our kids through until lunch.
We bulk buy long-life milk before we leave home and have milk crates in our truck storage area, so it makes it easier to store it all. If you can stomach it, milk is a great source of protein and calcium.
Rice is a staple in most countries and why wouldn’t it be. It’s easy to store and it gives your body the carbohydrates it needs to boost your brain function.
Sweet or white, both have a long shelf life and do not need to be refrigerated. They can be used as mash, chips, potato salad, hash browns, roasted or boiled. They’re super versatile and affordable!
Onions & Garlic
They add flavour and are good for your gut. There’s also no need to refrigerate either and they can make a plain meal more flavoursome.
Rice Cakes & Crackers
These are an easy snack to have with cheese, vegemite or peanut butter. They can be used instead of bread when you run out or to change it up from having vegemite sandwiches every day.
Cans Of Fruit
When you are unable to get fresh fruit, canned fruit can be a great substitute. You can add them to your oats or eat them on their own. You can even make a fruit crumble in your gas cooker by stewing the fruit and adding oats and sugar to the top.
They offer a complete mix of fat and protein. Eggs also do not need to be refrigerated in Australia, so this saves precious fridge space. When space is available in the fridge, we boil up a dozen eggs for quick snacks.
Great for calcium, protein, and fat. We buy a block of cheese and have a square container to put it in. We cut it into cubes that can be added to a platter or straight onto crackers. The kids often grab a couple of cubes when they are peckish.
It’s an amazing snack for the kids and when you make it from scratch, watching the kernels pop can be a science experiment (great fun if you’re homeschooling your kids while on the road).
Nuts & Seeds
These are another nutritious snack that are easy to store. A handful of nuts and a cut-up apple is a great morning or afternoon snack. Nuts can also be added to cereal or stir-fries, whatever takes your fancy.
2 Mintue Noodles
Love them or hate them, they’re a super quick snack or meal for our children. I’m not a fan and it did take me some convincing to pack them. But, at $1 for a pack of 5 at Aldi, the kids love them and can cook them independently, so my argument fell flat.
Lastly, keep cash on you and make the most of roadside fruit stalls along the way. You can pick up fruits, vegetables, eggs, and honey for decent prices – plus, it’s all fresh and you’re supporting locals.