Traveling by RV is a lot of fun, especially when exploring our National Parks. However, it’s not as easy to run out for a teaspoon of paprika or a quarter cup of heavy cream when on the road, so you’ll want to think ahead about grocery shopping and cooking your meals for a week or two while in an RV.

RV-Empty Kitchen

One of the first things you will do when you pick up your RV is stock up the kitchen by taking a trip to the local grocery store. As you’ll quickly learn, there’s not as much storage space inside the RV as you may have at home, so you’ll need to be strategic about what you buy, what you cook and how you store it all, including leftovers.

But, don’t let space discourage you. It’s actually a fun opportunity for you and your kids to get creative and find as many space savers as you can. Take a look at these grocery tips, checklists and recipes that will help ensure a smooth RV adventure ahead.

1. Create a Kitchen Checklist: You won’t have everyday staples, like pepper, ketchup, even dish soap and paper towels in your RV. So you’ll want to make sure you pick them up on your first trip to the grocery store. Print out this RV Kitchen Checklist to get you thinking about what you’ll need on your adventure.


2. Use Space Wisely: Groceries don’t necessarily have to be kept inside the kitchen cabinets. Look high and low for unused spaces in your RV to safely store items that don’t require refrigeration, like potato chips, cereals and granola bars. Your RV’s storage compartments underneath the bed, above the table, even inside the microwave (while not in use, of course) can keep your kitchen items safely tucked away.

3. Realize You Need to Shop Every Few Days: If you’re someone who shops once a week, you’ll need to understand that in an RV you need to shop every two to three days to replenish your perishables. The refrigerator is small and it’s not possible to stock a refrigerator with food that will last more than a few days. Many RVers shop twice a week for fruits, vegetables and dairy items, like milk and butter.

4. Repackage: Keep a good supply of resealable food storage bags on hand to save space and store half-empty boxes of cereal and cookies. By repackaging foods as you use them you’ll find you have more space available when you stop at grocery stores and farmers markets to pick up perishable items.


5. Consider a Slow Cooker: If you can, head to a Walmart or Target on your first grocery trip. You can pick up a slow cooker for less than $25. This way, you can leave the RV to explore all day, then return to find dinner waiting for you back at the RV. Even better, you should be able to make enough for two meals. ** It’s wise to only use the slow cooker when at a campsite with full hook-ups, including electricity.

6. Keep Cooking Simple. Remember that you don’t have a fully stocked spice cabinet and your refrigerator door is not stocked with condiments, like ketchup and mustard, like it is at home. So keep it simple. Don’t do elaborate meals. Instead, look for meals that require just a few ingredients. If you can, prepare meals with leftovers that easily lend themselves to a new meal the next night.

7. Look to One-Pot Meals: Beyond the slow cooker, look to one-pot meals that save space and make clean-up a far simpler task. Look to pasta meals that enable you to add in all the ingredients at once, including the noodles and vegetables. A simple web search for “one-pot pasta” will display loads of recipes.


8. Meal Plan: It’s completely doable to go grocery shopping once a week, but you will need to meal plan and use the same kinds of food for multiple meals during the week. There are loads of resources on the web, particularly on Pinterest, with great RV and camping recipes. One to check out is RV Camping Food.