Having a kitchen with you wherever you travel is a truly glorious thing. It means 1) less fast food during road trips, and 2) more money saved. It also means you can stick with specific diets on the road, and you don’t have to leave the campground to eat after a long hike or day of fishing.
That said, all of those amazing meals don’t just cook themselves. In other words, you actually have to spend a bit of time cooking in that tiny RV kitchen of yours in order to put food on the table.
This all may sound like a huge hassle. However, there are ways to make cooking in an RV a relatively painless process. One of the best ways to go about it is to prep your meals beforehand.
For those who take short trips, this might mean doing a bunch of meal prep a few days before each getaway. Meanwhile, those who take extended trips or live in their RVs might need to dedicate a day each week to preparing meals for the coming days.
No matter how you decide to prep meals, you’ll be glad you did each and every time you’re able to pull out a premade meal and have it ready to go in no time.
A Word of Advice: Instant Pot Meal Prep
One of the best tools a meal prepper has at their disposal is an Instant Pot.
This nifty kitchen gadget can be used as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, or even a way to sauté. This makes it ideal for an extra method of cooking during prep sessions, as well as a way to cook meals that have been assembled ahead of time but not cooked. It allows you to heat your prepped meals quickly when returning from a long day out, or you can leave it slow cooking all day so it’s ready when you return.
For all of these reasons, we highly recommend investing in an Instant Pot before embarking on your meal prep journey. We know you’ll be glad you did!
An Intro to Meal Prep for Beginners
Wondering what exactly meal prep entails? To be honest, because your meals can be customized for your family, you can make your meal prep sessions as simple or as complicated as you see fit.
Looking to stick to a completely vegan meal prep plan? This will be a bit more challenging than other options. On the other hand, those looking for simple breakfast meal prep or meal prep salads will have a super simple session that only lasts an hour or two.
Either way, there are a few key things you have to remember when doing meal prep in an RV:
- Counter space is limited. If you can, set up a folding table somewhere nearby to give yourself more work space.
- Stove space is also limited. Therefore, you might find that an induction burner or Instant Pot used in conjunction with the propane stove makes things go more quickly.
- You don’t have a ton of room in the freezer. Most meal prep plans call for lots of freezing. Since you don’t have a huge freezer in your RV, you might need to refrigerate the meals you plan to serve earlier in the week. Canning is also an option sometimes.
Healthy Meal Prep Tips
Many people do meal prep for weight loss or other health reasons. Preparing meals ahead of time helps discourage quick trips to grab a pizza and encourages healthy eating. Whether you wish to do keto meal prep or vegetarian meal prep, there are some wonderful healthy meal prep recipes out there for you.
Some of our best tips for those trying to hop on the healthy eating bandwagon by trying out meal prep are:
- Cut your veggies beforehand and add them to everything you prep. Cutting vegetables is a pain, but when all the cutting is done in one fell swoop, it seems much less annoying and helps ensure every meal includes some yummy veggies.
- Prep smoothies beforehand by putting all smoothie ingredients into a baggie and storing it in the freezer. This can then be dumped into a blender and blended into a refreshingly healthy drink in no time.
- Portion everything out. If you make something like overnight oats ahead of time, store appropriate portion sizes in separate containers. This discourages overeating.
If healthy eating is your goal, you’ll love the cookbook appropriately titled The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook.
Cheap Meal Prep Ideas
For some, meal prepping is more about saving money than anything else. This is yet another great reason to do some dinner meal prep each week. Not only will prepping prevent you from eating out, it’ll also help ensure you use all of each ingredient you buy, forcing you to plan ahead and thus make it easier to price things out.
Some ideas for making your meal prep cheaper include:
- Preparing things like casseroles and soups. This will allow you to stretch expensive ingredients such as meats.
- Rice, beans, and eggs are all wonderful, filling ingredients that don’t cost much. Use them as much as possible. Dry beans are much cheaper than canned, so plan to purchase dry and soak them overnight. If you make a huge batch, you might consider canning rather than freezing in order to save freezer space.
- If you find yourself using the same key ingredients in several meals in order to save money, make good use of seasonings to mix things up. You might be surprised what a difference this makes.
Easy Meal Prep
Of course, everyone wants their dinner, breakfast, and/or lunch meal prep to be as easy as possible. While being in the tight space of an RV kitchen can make things a bit more complicated, planning wisely will keep things as simple as possible.
Consider these things when planning:
- It’s easier to cook big batches of the same ingredients and use them in multiple meals, rather than cooking smaller batches of different ingredients.
- You might want to purchase frozen veggies. This removes the need to chop your own, which is time-consuming and requires counter space you may not have.
- It’s smart to invest in stackable, microwaveable, easy-to-clean containers. Matching containers can make all the difference when it comes to storing your foods and finding lids, and microwaveable containers that are easy to wash make heating your food and cleaning up after a breeze.