Guide to Planning Meals for House Boat Vacation

So, you’ve decided to go on a houseboat vacation with people dear to you. You have gotten commitments of each one, you have shopped for great outfits, and you’ve paid your deposit for the trip. So now, you may have questions about how to prepare for meals during your houseboat vacation. One of the best things that you can do as you embark on your vacation is to plan, cook, and enjoy meals while you’re on board. Remember, you’ll be in a houseboat, and you have the option to save plenty of vacation dollars by not eating out daily. This way, you can enjoy more quality time with your family and friends, as well as waterfront dining. If you’re going on sailing, check out these helpful meal planning tips.

If you need a little inspiration, here’s a guide to give you ideas:

Plan ahead

There are many ways in which you can plan your meals, depending on the type of group you have. You can make your meals as simple or even elaborate as you wish, as kitchens (also called galleys) on most houseboats have everything you need. It often comes with a good variety of cookware, bakeware, utensils, stovetop, microwave, and barbeque grill (for some). Start with simple and delicious meals that can be readily prepared, packed, and enjoyed. Then branch out from there. If there’s a grill, you can marinate your chicken and meat beforehand, and keep them cold or frozen. Add salads and bread.

Stock up on food and supplies

The best way to prepare for a houseboat vacation is to make a list of everything you might need while you’re out in the water, then compare it to the list of amenities on the houseboat. Ask ahead, so you won’t end up bringing what’s already provided. From paper towels to hand towels, utensils, and dishes, the supplies provided in the houseboat may vary depending on the boat you are visiting. This list of provisions can be found with the confirmation email packet, in the houseboat website, or a section of the pamphlet for each houseboat.

As you plan meals, make sure to account for all ingredients you may need for cooking, down to the salt and pepper, and spices and condiments.

Look for the nearest grocery store in the area

Finding the closest grocery store from the houseboating area is a great idea to keep your ingredients fresh as you go on the trip. If you’re driving hours away from home, the greens and other perishables may become stale as it reached the destination. And depending on the groceries you are planning to bring, and you can bring with you some coolers, boxes, and Ziploc bags. It’s suggested that you do your shopping early in the morning or late at the day to avoid the crowds of other people stocking up for their houseboats during the middle of the day.  Also you can plan a great party as well with nautical themed disposable place sets for some fun!

Plan and pack carefully and consider the people you are vacationing with

The houseboat vacation you’ll experience will differ based on the people you are with. Vacation with the family will be very different from vacation with friends. As it turns out, even the meals – from planning to cooking to cleanup – will vary quite differently.

When you’re houseboating with family, there can be a wide age range of people aboard. There can be toddlers to grandparents. Obviously, the kids can’t cook or pay for their meals, and you might want to spare the elderly from doing some work. But sometimes, the parents will insist on cooking. They may write up menus and tasks, and distribute them in advance. Everyone can pitch in to clean up to make sailing smooth and organized.

When you’re with friends, you might be the responsible one (as you’re the one looking on how to plan meals on the internet!) Perhaps what they will never forget bringing is the drinks. You can take captain by doing the shopping in advance, then just let them pay you back. Then plan the meals ahead and assign people to do the cooking, the serving, and the cleanup. Your group will not mind these if they are truly your friends, and it will be a great bonding moment for all of you.

Plan meals that require little cooking

Simplicity is key on a houseboat vacation. Supply the food for the trip rather than have each couple or family provide a meal. Plan meals that are filling, tasty and needs a little cooking, because honestly, who likes being stuck on the kitchen cooking meals while on vacation? Some quick meals include hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled steak or chicken, chili, foil dinners, and baked potatoes.

As much as possible, prepare foods ahead of time to keep cooking time and cooler packing to a minimum. For instance, you can pre-chop your hard veggies, or crack eggs ahead of time and scramble them up with salt and pepper, and place them in gallon-size bags and freeze them. This will eliminate your need for bulky cartons and the worry of having your delicate eggs broken. Transport them into a cooler or pre-freeze them to keep them fresh.

Divide your group into teams

To distribute labor, divide your group into teams. It can be couples or teams of two. They can be spouses, adult siblings, pairs of close friends, or whatever you like. Then, divide them up the total number of meals needed for your vacation. Assign people evenly to different teams, so each team can get a certain meal on a certain day. Depending on the number of days you’ll spend on board, the schedule can rotate more than once. Make your meals great for everyone to enjoy.

If you assign meals to various people and make them responsible for cooking one or more specific meals, the meal preparation becomes fairly distributed, and everyone can have a great time at the houseboat, with no one or two people left to always slave at the kitchen. Also, once the meals are assigned in advance, there will be less chance of anyone forgetting anything.

Know what not to bring

As mentioned earlier, know what amenities to expect in the houseboat. First-time houseboaters always wonder about how to make their meals, so some bring unnecessary items such as deep fryers. Each boat has its own complete kitchen and a grill, so take advantage of it. Bringing more than enough cookware and appliances may only make your luggage bulky, and these can also cause fire damage.

Know the easy types of meals you can enjoy on the houseboat

Going on a houseboat vacation means prepping easy-to-cook meals. Here are the things you can enjoy on your houseboat:

  • Barbeque and grilled feasts

Hotdogs, burgers, steaks, and chicken are all staples for a barbeque party, but to make sure it’s delicious, try mixing it up with marinades, rubs, and spices to make your barbeque feasts shine. Most houseboats have gas barbeques onboard with propane, so all you need to bring are the ingredients. You can also cook ready-made pizza, as it can have robust flavor when heated up on the grill. You can also grill veggies and kabobs for a healthier option.

  • Portable picnics

You want to spend more time exploring the beautiful shorelines, not making meals for everybody. So, it pays to pack decadent picnic meals like gourmet salads, seafood salads, pasta salad, marinated veggies, or potato salads. This way, you can enjoy yummy, filling, yet portable feasts.

  • Comfort food

Any food that brings you joy and comfort like baked lasagna and microwave mac and cheese is great to bring on a houseboat trip. You simply need to pop them in the oven whenever you’re ready to eat.