Meal-Planning for Long-Term Sailing Trips

The Basics:

These tips and tricks are best used for trips that are longer than a few weeks. To start, create a meal-planning strategy that fits the length of the trip and the number of people on the trip to get a basic idea of how much food is needed. For example, a three-week trip would require more than three weeks’ worth of food. Always plan for a longer trip than expected because any number of mishaps can make for a longer time at sea. Adding extra canned goods and creating backup systems for cooking can take the stress out of possible delays.

Meal planning sheds light on which meals have overlapping ingredients and makes batch buying and cooking much easier. The same basic ingredients can be used to make tons of meals taste fresh and new. These meals can be frozen and kept for their designated day. 

Create kits that contain all the prepped ingredients necessary for a full meal, like stir fry or tacos. Write any extra instructions on the outside of the bag. This system keeps ingredients organized and makes meal prep that much faster. Kits can be frozen or kept in the pantry. 

Note: Some boats make batches or kits with the intention of trading with other boats. This trade is a fun way to keep meals interesting and make awesome connections!

Quick Tricks:

  • Stews, pastas, and rice dishes are usually simple recipes that hit a ton of food groups, which reduces time spent on meal prep and keeps everyone happy and healthy.
  • Root vegetables tend to last longer than other items. Cabbage, carrots, squash and apples are yummy shelf-stable options. 
  • Pack quick-spoiling fruits and vegetables where everyone can see them. They’ll get eaten faster and leave longer-lasting fruits and vegetables for later on in the trip.
  • Bring fish preparation items (filleting knife, bucket, cutting board), and any additions needed for a delicious fish dinner.
  • Create trail mix snack bags and limit one per week– strictly! This ensures that snacks can be enjoyed throughout the trip.
  • It is important to plan for that specific group: consider allergies, dietary restrictions, and preferences. Make sure to include some comfort food or meals that can put a smile on the passenger’s faces when spirits are low.
  • Keep in mind what space is available on board. Will there be freezer space? If not, is there space to store cans? Bonus: Try to create an organizational system that keeps track of where kitchen items are located. Some ingredients are tiny, which makes them easy to move or forget about.