My fiancé and I (first time I’ve ever written that) just got back from a week long cross-country road trip. Orlando to Seattle. First off, one week is far too short to see a whole lot from outside of your car window. Having said that, it was an amazing trip and I saw a part of the country I never had before. The Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and the Redwoods were the highlights of the adventure. Most exciting of all, it was when we got engaged. After eight and a half years together it’s official. We both knew even without a ring that neither of us was going anywhere, but this was the next step for us and I am thrilled! You can see a ton of pictures from our trip on his website. As you probably know I am passionate about food, especially the healthy kind. Mostly I am passionate about fueling the body in the best way possible. This means no matter where I am, or how difficult it may be. Our society has saturated the food market with ‘easy’ and ‘convenient’ foods that are absolutely terrible for our body. Often times even if we are good about our eating habits at home, when we are traveling things sort of get a little crazy. I am determined to show everyone that with a tiny bit of forethought and a lot of determination eating a healthy wholesome diet is possible anywhere.
I learned on this trip that with a camp stove and a pot you can make delicious and simple meals. In this post I am obviously talking about the sort of travel that allows you to have a heat source. A fire, portable burner, Coleman, or any other cooking medium. I understand that while traveling this isn’t always possible, but that is a post for another day. For today though you do have something to cook with. If you don’t own one of those things buying one should be on your list. They take a bit of the stress off of camping and general travel eating. In all honesty they are not that heavy or a hindrance to pack either. Spencer packed ours in his backpack and checked it on the plane so we had it while we were on the road.
While on the road you don’t want a whole back seat full of groceries so you must get the most bang for your buck. Buy what will keep you the most satisfied for the longest time. Guess what that means? PROTEINS AND FAT! Mmmmm. Here is a list of what we bought on the road, not necessarily all at once, but throughout the trip this is what I had to work with.
Proteins: Organic free range chicken thighs, Grass fed ground beef, organic cage free eggs
Veggies/Fruit: Onions, Sweet Potato, Kale, Romaine, Garlic, Tomatos, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Apples, Carrots, Olives
Misc: In shell sunflower seeds, Coconut flakes, Raw nuts, Coconut milk, Herbal Tea, 85% dark chocolate
Condiments/Spices/Oil: Hot sauce or salsa, Coconut oil, Salt/pepper, Mustard packets (from gas stations or airport), Tahini (nut/seed butter of choice)
With these simple ingredients you can make a bunch of combinations. You just have to get creative. Be sure to think about flavors and what will taste good, not what you have seen done before.
For on the road meals we premade our proteins and utilized leftovers. Hard boiled eggs are essential on road trips for me. We cook up a dozen and then just keep them in the cooler. Many people have expressed a dislike for hardboiled eggs, but I find that it is because they are over cooking them. No one likes to eat rubber with chalk mashed in the middle. Here’s what I have found works best:
- Place eggs in pot
- Cover with water
- Bring to a rolling boil
- Cover with lid once boiling
- Take off of the heat
- Let sit undisturbed for 6 minutes
- Drain and run cool water over them
This way your yolks are soft, and your egg is still tasty.
Back to what we ate on the road, when we didn't have time to stop and cook. We ate a lot of lettuce wraps. Scooping our premade proteins into romaine and adding avo slices and hot sauce or mustard. Other easy finger foods were carrots and tahini, coconut oil with dark chocolate, nuts, apples with coconut oil and olives.
With one pot meals I would just toss in some veg while cooking the meat. Ground beef with tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. Chicken thighs cooked with kale, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion in coconut milk and hot sauce for a ‘curry.’ Scrambled eggs with kale, sweet potato, zucchini and onions. The possibilities are enormous.
Remember that by eating a large and wholesome breakfast you won't be plagued by cravings and insatiable hunger the rest of the day. By eating a good breakfast you will not having to stop and snack or cook as often. It really is the most important meal of the day. So don't skip out even when you are in a rush on the road.
Neither of us ever got bored of what we were eating, which is important. I am the type of person that cannot eat the same thing for days on end.
No excuses. You can make it happen. Healthy takes a little more thought than a peanut butter and jelly but it will serve you so much better. You will have more energy and feel a whole lot better if you are fueling with whole foods. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. Just take a deep breath and think "Keep it simple."