Relax & Enjoy: Easy Meal Ideas for Your Vacation Destination

July 06, 2021 | Food Lion
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With school out and plenty of long weekends on the calendar, summer is a great time to go out in search of adventures. However you choose to vacation this year, whether that’s a road trip, backyard camping, a seaside getaway or a woodland retreat, food is an important part of the experience.

We’ve got some fun and easy meal ideas for vacation dishes and snacks, whatever your destination. Check out this blog for some inspiration, and then head to your local Food Lion to load up on all the groceries you need for your trip!

Easy Meal Ideas for the Beach

The fresh breeze and warm saltwater of the shore always help everyone work up an appetite! A day spent frolicking in the sand and swimming in the ocean is made all the better with a cooler full of snacks and beverages to keep the good times rolling.

It seems like fresh fruit always tastes even sweeter at the beach, so bring plenty of crowd-pleasers, like sliced strawberries, grapes and blueberries. Packing them in individual containers or snack baggies makes it easy to distribute them when anyone needs a pick-me-up. Juicier fruits, like stone fruit, watermelon, oranges and pineapple, should be sliced up ahead of time to reduce the chance of sticky swimsuits. A mixed fruit salad is also a perfect take-along beach dish.

Baby carrots, mini cucumbers, sweet peppers and grape tomatoes also make nutritious, portable snacks. Of course, salty items, like potato and tortilla chips, pretzels, cheese puffs and pork rinds are popular beach snacks, mainly because they won’t weigh down your bag!

For lunch, sandwiches are a great choice. They’re easy to pack and transport, relatively tidy to eat and everyone can have their own favorite fillings. Keep sandwiches wrapped up tightly in foil in the cooler until it’s time to eat! Egg salad, tuna, hummus and veggies, or classic lunchmeat and cheese on sandwich rolls, wraps or sliced bread are excellent options. 


 Cooler-Friendly Italian Sub Pinwheels on whit serving dish next to plate of ingredients

Want to get a little creative? Our recipe for Cooler-Friendly Italian Sub Pinwheels is packed with protein - and flavor! Here’s what’s inside: 

  • Pepperoni
  • Ham
  • Salami
  • Provolone cheese
  • Banana peppers
  • Olives
  • Italian-seasoned cream cheese

Add or remove ingredients to your family’s preferences for an easy meal idea that’s a big hit. 

Then, when it comes to sweet treats, packaged cookies travel well and tend not to lose their shape if they’re tossed around a bit in a bag or backpack. Gummies and sour candies are also fun to share.

If you’re staying overnight at the shore and have access to a kitchen, something simple and filling is best after a long day. A big batch of hearty pasta salad, like Southwestern Pasta Salad or Easy Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad, works well, and any leftovers can be packed up for lunch the next day. Tacos are also a quick supper option. Try shrimp, pulled chicken or chimichurri steak. And for the grown-ups, mix up some Melon Sangria for a little refreshment. After all, watermelon and the beach are a perfect pair! 

Easy Meals Ideas for the Mountains

An escape to the forest is another lovely way to beat the summer heat. Whether you’re staying in a cottage, cabin or camping tent, quick breakfasts, high-protein snacks and hearty dinners are the way to go.

For breakfast, especially if camping, instant oatmeal is a smart choice to get you ready for a day of hiking (or just relaxing in a hammock). Top oatmeal with fresh berries, dried fruit and chopped nuts. If you have access to refrigeration, eggs and pancakes are a classic cabin breakfast that never gets old.

 Lemon Blueberry Pancakes  on a plate with knife, fork and napkin, glass of orange juice

Our recipe for Lemon Blueberry Pancakes is one tasty and easy meal idea that’s perfect for a summer morning with its fresh berry and citrusy flavor. However, you don’t want to buy or bring the individual ingredients on your trip, right? Instead, mix up the dry ingredients at home. You can also combine the wet ingredients and pack them in your cooler. That way, you’ll have everything perfectly portioned and ready to whip together quickly at breakfast time. 

Then, for a mid-afternoon bite, trail mix, granola bars and jerky are common hiking snacks, and for a good reason. They don’t take up space or weigh much — you can even tuck them into a fanny pack. And they do pack a big nutritional punch. Homemade energy bites also make great fuel for outdoor activities.

Many cabins and campsites come equipped with grills, meaning you can cook up some hot dogs and burgers for dinner! Keep it traditional with mustard and ketchup, or get creative with toppings, like Sriracha Guacamole Hot Dogs and Grilled Pizza Burgers. Then, while the coals are still glowing, toast up some marshmallows for s’mores, an unbeatable dessert to enjoy under the stars! And finally, continue the chocolate and marshmallow merriment with a batch of Nutella Hot Chocolate that’s made in the slow cooker. 

Easy Meal Ideas for a Staycation

If you’re enjoying some chill time at home instead of traveling, consider adding some new and special dishes into your routine. Treating yourself with a few special occasion-type meals helps channel those vacation vibes!

Bagel Board,bagels, cream cheese fruit vegetables, strawberries, blueberries, tomato slices, cucumber slices, red onion, deli meat

Sleeping-in means you can indulge in a late-morning brunch! Create a delicious pancake board or bagel board with all the fixings and plenty of bacon and sausage on the side. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try S’mores French Toast or Cherry French Toast. Don’t forget a brunch drink for the adults in the family, like Brunch Punch or Mango Grapefruit Mimosas, and plenty of coffee. For lighter fare, a smoothie bowl hits the spot.

For snack time on your staycation, stock the pantry with all of your family’s favorite snacks, and let the kids help themselves! Or put together a meat and cheese board or dish up some party snacks, like mini pigs in a blanket and nachos. If you care for an adult drink, open a cold beer or mix up a summery cocktail, like a Grapefruit Rosemary Champagne Cocktail or Watermelon Frosé, or a family-friendly mocktail like a Lemon Berry Punch

At dinnertime, go for it! Whatever easy meal idea you’re craving is what should be on the menu. You’re on vacation after all, right? Maybe that’s a juicy steak off the grill, a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs or crab cake sandwiches. And don’t forget something indulgent for dessert, like ice cream sundaes or a nice slice of plum cobbler. If it’s too hot to turn on the oven, try tropical-inspired piña colada popsicles!

For more vacation meal planning tips, check out this helpful blog post! Wherever the summer takes you this year, your local Food Lion has everything you need to prepare snacks and meals. There is so much to discover in our produce and meat departments and along our grocery shelves. For even more ideas, let our Weekly Specials inspire you. Here you’ll find low prices on seasonal produce, proteins and more. 

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