Vacation Meal Planning

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on May 23, 2011

Kevin’s mom and I working away in the kitchen last time she was visiting

Kevin’s mom, sister; Asli, and her husband; Marco, are coming in just a couple of hours!

When Asli told us earlier this year that she and Marco would be coming from Germany to spend a week with us in the mountains, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

The first order of business was to find a cabin to rent, then the obvious second was figuring out what I was going to be feeding everyone!

After weeks of back and forth meal ideas, I’ve figured out a plan that looks something like this:


If you don’t already know, I’m kinda obsessed with breakfast. So, it should come as no surprise that I nailed down these ideas way earlier than everything else.


We’re going to be out horseback riding, rafting, and hiking, so I’ll probably pack leftovers, or whip up something fast like:

  • Bean salad
  • Veggie salad
  • Hard boiled eggs and veggies
  • Sandwiches
  • Muffins


I tried to think of meals that were high in protein and carbohydrates to fuel us for the next days’ activities.

Do you think they’ll leave hungry?

Meal planning for a larger group

I’ve given everyone a chance to make their own meals. That’s why you’ll see:

  • make your own pizza night
  • make your own waffles
  • smokies cookout evening

This will not only give me time to relax, but will allow everyone to pick and choose what they’d like to eat. From vegan, to meat-full, and everything in between.

I’ve tried to include a variety of meals that can be adapted based on taste.

Snacks will be totally unplanned. I’ll be packing a lot of random things like: dried fruit, nuts/seeds, chia, coconut, smoothie ingredients, LARABARs, baked chips, left over baking, grains, hummus ingredients, guacamole ingredients, crackers, etc.

Types of meal planning

The way I see it, there are two different approaches to meal planning:

  1. Plan everything, down to your snacks
  2. Pick a couple of meals and allow for changes

I’ve done both, but like #2 a lot more. I find being open to decisions helps lessen the stress around eating as opposed to having an hour by hour plan. But, it really boils down to your personal preference.

The steps I use for meal planning

  1. Come up with recipe ideasfor lunch/dinner + snacks
    • 1 vegan meal and 1 meat based meal works nice
    • preparing salad toppings in advance encourages me to eat my veggies: roasted chickpeas or veggies are great salad toppers
    • casseroles are awesome and can be stored in your freezer in small containers for weeks to come!
  2. Write a grocery list
    • the less stops the better. My favorite place to shop is Superstore because it has everything I need in one place.
    • organizing my list based on sections of the store helps cut down on the time I spend searching through the isles. Sections include: organic isle, produce, bakery, main isles, deli
  3. Prep meals
    • set aside some time to start preparing your meals

Meal planning isn’t for everyone. With the busy schedule I have though, meal planning assures me that I will always have healthy food with me, no matter how late I work.

And that; to me, is priceless!

Do you plan your meals?

Which meal do you think Kevin’s family will like the most?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey

Sometimes I plan meals sometimes I don’t. I usually plan more in the school year when I don’t have a lot of time. In the summer, I just kind of go with the flow!


Cait @ Beyond Bananas

I do plan my meals.. but not has specifically as you do! I think it is awesome that you are doing those “make your own” nights.. so true that you should get to have a few nights off from cooking as well!
it sure seems like you guys will be fed WELL on this trip! Have fun :)



I ALWAYS plan my meals! Well, sort of. I actually do most of my cooking/preparing/portioning on the weekend or beginning of the week so I’m always ready. I make a new folder in my recipes bookmarks section with Monday’s date, and put all my dinner, snack, breakfast recipes in it, then make my grocery list and prepare away! It’s nice as a student to just be able to grab a tupperware container out of the fridge on my way out the door.


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

Everything looks fantastic! I wish I was going – haha. Can’t wait for the upside down apple pinwheel cake recipe. That sounds amazing!



can I please come on vaca with you?


Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free

Sometimes I plan, but a lot of times I don’t. If there is a specific meal I have been dying to make, I will plan for it…but often times I just wing it based on what I have in da fridge ;)



I have to agree that having healthy food that you like on you or available is priceless! Food is, after all, what fuels us through life and our each and every day. :) Well, water, too – but hopefully that’s available by default.

I plan a lot of my meals, but find it difficult to do so when I have to plan for others as well! I’m so used to cooking for just one person, and I constantly worry about whether or not what I make will fill up others, or even suit their tastes! And even though I do plan, I’m flexible enough that I can decide not to do something if I don’t feel like it… Or I’ll cook it up, freeze it or store it in the fridge for later~

And hah, no – I definitely don’t think they’ll leave hungry! Everything you have planned looks delicious, and the “DIY” meals are a great idea! The first time I cooked for others, I just grilled up some chicken and tofu, made salsa + guacamole, chopped veggies and made a build-your-own-taco bar. :P


Tiff @ Love, Sweat and Beers

I always plan my meals. I make a grocery list every week with all my breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner needs. I’ve even gotten the hubby into planning his lunches/snacks for the week. My planning usually fails though with company. I’ll buy a bunch of stuff, but then we end up going out to eat just to get out of the house. I end up with so many uncooked leftovers!


Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

I don’t ever plan my meals – although I probably should! I just go with the flow.

Kevin’s family is going to be more than satisfied – they’re going to be in awe of your superb culinary skills! :)


Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)

I posted all about meals on vacation AND just a half hour ago about desserts/healthy eating/as it pertains to be on vacation with a linkback to the other post.

I love this post, Leanne! And if anyone went to THIS much trouble for me, or to ensure I’d be well fed like this, I’d run up and hug them :)

Job well done my friend!


Ari@ThE DiVa DiSh

You are brilliant! Everything sounds great and delicious! SUch great Ideas! Beautiful pictures as well!


Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie)

I’m a big meal planner, it’s just so convenient to plan ahead! The oatmeal breakfast bake looks incredible.


Junia @ Mis Pensamientos

leanne, this is such a fantastic post idea. after my quest for healthy eating, i always worry about having guests over, esp. for an extended period of time. what will i feed them??? what will i eat?? hahaha i always stress over it. love your ideas here. :)



I don’t plan my meals too specifically, I usually just listent to my body and have whatever I’m craving :) however, at the beginning of the week I like to make big batches of veggies,grains (quinoa, buckwheat, ect.) and anything else I might want so I always have something healthy to reach for when I’m hungry!
And everything looks delish but I think the waffle bar will be a hit! I’m the kind of person who loves hands on meals like that.


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