Eat Cheap, Hot & On-the-Go

How do you have a hot on the go meal on your “out” days without breaking the bank each time?

Most traveling families are on a budget - and the cost of food can be a killer. Sit-down meals at restaurants can easily run $40-$50 even for smaller families. Add more kids or ever-hungry teens and your costs can go higher than that.

But - cold sandwiches can be a drag after a while too. There’s something re-energizing about a hot meal for lunch.

What to do?

WalMart Rotisserie Chicken

Our go-to hot lunch meal is a Walmart rotisserie chicken. We’ll buy the chicken, some chips and drinks and be out the door with a hot meal for the family for $10-$12.00.

Tailgating

Depending on how hungry we are we’ll either just tailgate right there in the Walmart parking lot or go find a better view at a local park or church parking lot, etc.

We try to keep the truck stocked with some paper plates, cups, plastic wear, and paper towels to make the eating easier.

We chose to eat supper rather than wait in traffic at Yellowstone

We chose to eat supper rather than wait in traffic at Yellowstone

The food really doesn't matter when you are with family and have this view

The food really doesn't matter when you are with family and have this view

Tailgating again in Arizona

Tailgating again in Arizona

We chose the luxury of a picnic table in Kentucky

We chose the luxury of a picnic table in Kentucky

Not Just Walmart

We’ve gotten similar chicken meals at more local grocery-chain stores like HEB or Safeway.

Half-Price?

This blog post suggests you might be able to get aging-out hot birds for half price (although the comments suggest store policy has changed).

We have also purchased the chickens out of the refrigerated section. Cold chicken makes for a good travel-day meal.

Boondocking Grub

We periodically stay overnight at Walmart, and the chickens are a nice hot ‘end of a long travel day’ meal (although we have been known to grab an inexpensive ready-to-cook pizza and cook it out in the parking lot).

What’s On Your To-Go Menu?

Do you have any go-to meals for when you are out adventuring?

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7 Comments Eat Cheap, Hot & On-the-Go

  1. Picture of JulieJulieMay 26, 2016

    For our travel days, we like to get the Amy’s Enchilada meals and extra frozen rice to go along with it.  Just pop them in the microwave for a few minutes and you have a great hot meal.  At Walmart the price of these meals runs anywhere from $3.50-$4.50.  It is convenient so we don’t spend time sitting in a restaurant but we do get a while away from the road.  (This assumes you have an available microwave.)

  2. Picture of DonDonMay 26, 2016

    OK, I’ll bite (pardon the pun)... How do you cook a ready-to-eat pizza in a Wal-mart parking lot? Are you grilling it?

  3. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkMay 26, 2016

    Nope!

    We just put it in the oven. It cooks while we take a hot shower, then we get a cold beer from the fridge and have supper while watching a movie…;)

    (The pizza is an option when we have the RV with us and we are overnighting in the parking lot).

  4. Picture of Nico VeenkampNico VeenkampMay 28, 2016

    Nice subject. Although I am not travelling all the time I still want to eat a hot lunch without much hassle.

    Because I love chinese food, I prepare my noodles or rice with vegetables and sometimes meat at the same time I prepare my breakfast. When the lunch food is hot and ready I put it in a Thermos King Food Jar and it keeps hot for at least six hours.

    It’s great when attending lectures or workshops or doing stuff outside the home.

  5. Picture of kay ~ the barefoot minimalistkay ~ the barefoot minimalistMay 31, 2016

    We like to put $25 on a Subway card.  You get a free 6” sub with it, so that’s one meal taken care of.  Then we buy the other, and we share a bag of chips and a soda.  It comes in cheap, you can get it hot, and it feels healthy with all those veggies on it.  But there’s only 2 of us travelling now, so I know that isn’t the cheapest option when the kids are still with ya’s.  I like your chicken suggestion!

  6. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkMay 31, 2016

    @kay - our son worked at Subway last summer. He got 90% of everything (and so did family).

    Needless to say - we have had our fill of Subway for quite some time..;)

  7. Picture of kay ~ the barefoot minimalistkay ~ the barefoot minimalistMay 31, 2016

    HA!  I understand completely.  And after I posted, I reread my comment and realized how goofy it looked with the healthy part alongside the chips and soda part.  Oh well.  At least I didn’t add the cookie.  :P

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