I remember how awful James and I were about healthy eating our first couple of years of RVing. Gas station junk food, fast food restaurants, overindulging, gaining weight each trip—we were like kids with a wallet of cash let loose in a candy store. We’re on vacation! Throw caution to the wind! Food was a bit of an afterthought. We were too busy having adventures to worry about the pesky business of eating right. It took us a while, but we eventually realized this hedonistic style of RVing wasn’t jiving with our otherwise healthy lifestyle.
Once we started looking at things differently, we made some changes. We didn’t want healthy eating on our trips to feel like punishment, though. To avoid that, we flipped the story. Instead of food being quick and convenient so we could get on with our adventures, we focused on making food THE adventure. Turns out when food becomes a priority in your travels, it can be the best part of the journey!
Here are some fun ways we’ve reconnected with food on our own RV trips and ended up having some of our best trips ever. Mix some food-focused adventures into your own RV travels, and perhaps they’ll become some of your favorite trip memories, too.
Incorporate unique culinary experiences into your trips
How does having a local chef cook for you in their own home (or venue) sound? The website Eatwith is a bit like Airbnb, connecting you with up-and-coming chefs in locations all over the country.
Eatwith chefs have all been vetted, and you can reserve a spot at their table for a truly special experience that’s sure to be the highlight of any trip.
Take cooking classes
Taking a class is an opportunity to reconnect with food in a healthy way and have a memorable experience while doing so. Cozymeal is one of many sites listing cooking classes around the country. Don’t want to leave the RV park? No worries! Many of the cooking instructors on Cozymeal will even travel to you and provide a private session right in the comfort of your own RV!
Tour a farm or dairy
There’s a saying, “Nothing becomes real until it is experienced.” Visiting a farm can open your eyes to all the work it takes to get food from the ground to your fridge. You’ll get the chance to go behind the scenes to see what makes a farm hum, and you’ll get some much-needed fresh air as you do so. If you’re ever in the Poconos area of Pennsylvania, put Pocono Organics on your radar, a unique 380-acre regenerative organic farm that offers a fascinating farm tour not to be missed.
Seek out roadside farm stands
It’s hard to beat the satisfaction of spotting a handpainted farm stand sign along the side of the road, doing an impromptu stop, and then leaving with your RV fridge stocked with a colorful display of freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Did you know that local farm produce tends to be more nutrient-dense than commercially grown foods? Commercial produce is picked before it’s fully ripe so it can survive transport, while local produce naturally ripens at its own pace, allowing it more time to pull nutrients from the soil.
One roadside farm stand I especially enjoyed was at Peace and Plenty farm—an organic farm near Kelseyville, California. I liked their saffron tea so much, I ended up giving it as gifts to loved ones for Christmas!
Find local farmers markets
Farmers markets are a great excuse to get outside, eat some good food, and buy some fresh in-season produce or unique artisan goods. There’s a lot more to farmers markets than stalls of fruits and veggies. There’s an “experience” aspect to visiting them, too. Each market has its own personality. They allow you to get to know an area you’re visiting in a unique way. Check out the online Farmers Market Directory run by the USDA to find farmer’s markets around the US.
Pick your own produce at a U-pick farm
Thanks to u-pick farms, anyone can play farmer for a day. Pick-your-own farms are a fun tradition that lets you dig your hands into the soil and harvest your own produce; which for me is an incredibly satisfying experience.
Visiting a u-pick farm is a great way to get to know an area you’re visiting and get some exercise while you’re at it. Some u-pick farms, like Walter’s Fruit Ranch in eastern Washington, also offer farm-fresh meals. Once you work up an appetite out in the fields, you can stay a little longer and enjoy a meal made with foods grown just steps away.
Experiment with new recipes
New adventures don’t only have to happen outside the RV, they can happen inside it too—like right in your RV galley. Use the trip as an opportunity to get creative with your trip meals. Experiment with new recipes using the outside-your-box ingredients you’ve found locally.
If you need some recipe inspiration, swing by Sonja and Alex’s blog over at A Couple Cooks. They focus on simple and healthy plant-based recipes, and I’ve successfully made quite a few of their recipes in our RV (the chickpea curry was fabulous). We even developed some custom healthy recipes for Camping World ourselves, like Crab Cake Eggs Benedict and Chicken Tandoori. See all the recipes here.
On your next foodie-inspired RV trip, perhaps you’ll discover a love for a dish that was never on your radar before, all because you got creative—and adventurous—right in your RV’s kitchen.
Kit out your RV kitchen with all the essentials so you can be a fully equipped roving chef on the road.
- How to Cook for Large Groups in an RV Kitchen
- The New Essentials for RV Kitchens: Tips and Tricks, Proper Tools and Utensils
- Camping Kitchen Gear You Need for Your RV
- 7 Must-Have RV Kitchen Items
- Camping World’s Gear Guide for Camping Cooking Gear
So on next RV trip, consider giving one of these food-related adventures a try. Each of these 7 experiences will get you a little closer to your food; helping to boost your appreciation for its back-story. Once you gain that extra appreciation, it’s easier to respect and reconnect with food in a healthy way. It’ll not only motivate you to eat more high-quality healthy foods, but you’ll also have some incredibly enjoyable adventures along the way.
Stef & James hail from thefitrv.com, where they work to promote healthy RVing… for both you and your RV! Stef is an RVing health/fitness pro, and James is a former aerospace engineer known for doing over-the-top RV mods to their Winnebago EKKO “Number One”. You can find Stef’s fitRVing tips and James’ RV tech tips either in RV Magazine or over at thefitrv.com.