Hi Georgie (?),
My hubbie and I are weekend sailors with a 3-week cruise in mid summer. Nights are spent mostly at anchor and I tend to take fresh food with me for the weekend. Often try to have a barie on the beach but often end up eating on the boat as the weather is bad. Hey this is the UK!
However you cook ashore will have a tremendous correlation to how you cook on the boat. It does make sense to have some canned foods on the boat "just in case" but if you don't generally cook with canned foods you probably won't on the boat either. If you do then, well, you're set.
If you are hopping up the coast you will have the option of buying as you go along so the fresh veg can be bought as you go.
My trouble is that I get over enthusiastic about how much food I put on the boat when we launch and end up taking most if it off again as we don’t use it.
I do the same thing. The trouble is not having too much food and having to take it off again. The trouble is wasting food because you can't eat it fast enough before it goes bad. We all accommodate as we can. I keep most of my veg in baskets on the galley counter (with non-skid) under the baskets so I can see what I have and use up what is nearing end-of-life. For coastal cruising, keeping the veg in front of me is worth losing a day or so of life buried in the fridge. You may choose differently.
I do tend to build menus so I have all the ingredients for things I like to cook. I also keep non-perishables (flour, sugar, salt, etc) on the boat so I can bake bread and have the staples for many recipes. If you don't bake at home you probably won't on the boat.
Even with menus driving my shopping list, I don't overplan. We eat what appeals to us each day. Weather will drive some of your decision making.
I plan for leftovers. For example, I like to roast a whole pork tenderloin. Offshore with a crew of six we may eat the whole thing (in which case I cook two). Cruising with my girl friend, we'll have pulled pork sandwiches the next day, and shredded pork tacos or burritos the day after that. Chicken on the grill sets you up for chicken tikka masala and chicken salad thereafter. If you boil pasta you can hard-cook eggs at the same time for egg salad. Leftover pasta becomes a base for stir-fries, and leftover rice turns into fried rice.
Since you don't have a freezer you can freeze a lot of things at home and take the hard-frozen food with you to the boat where it will help keep the power draw of your fridge down while it thaws.
What sort of foods would you put on?
The same things I put on when I lived ashore. If you don't cook and eat it at home, why would you do so on a cruise, especially a coastal one.
When I left Plymouth for the Azores I shopped at Tesco and bought the same stuff I would have in the normal course of things, just more of everything. *grin* Somewhere I have picture of one of my crew loading 14 dozen eggs.
All that said, I tend to cook roasts, casseroles, and one-pot meals on the boat. Mise en plase is even more important in cooking aboard than at home.