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5 Tips For Eating Better On The Road

Ditch the drive-thru.

By: Megan McDuffie + Save to a List

Whether you’re going on a week long road trip or hitting the road full time, you still have to eat. Preferably three times a day. But traveling often means giving up the classic amenities of a full kitchen - like refrigeration, running water, and counter space to prep food. Throw in limited supplies, unfamiliar surroundings, and unpredictable weather into the mix, and cooking meals on the road can seem like a real struggle.

We’ve been there. Having spent the last 4 months traveling the country in our small hatchback, we know that trying to eat well on the road is a unique challenge faced by travelers. It’s no wonder so many people opt for the dollar menu or a value pack of Top Ramen. And who could blame them, right?

Well, I’m here to make the case that it is not only possible to eat well on the road, but it’s not much more difficult than eating healthy back home. While we have certainly eaten our share of instant oatmeal and ramen, more often than not, we cook delicious, fresh meals from scratch on a daily basis.

Photo: Megan McDuffie

Here are 5 tips to show you how you, too, can eat better while on the road:

1. Get Equipped

While you don’t need a full kitchen to cook great meals, you do need some kind of set up. For some, a small one burner canister stove and a pot or skillet will suffice. For us, a two burner propane stove and a cast iron is ideal. Figure out what kind of setup will work best for your cooking needs, and then practice cooking with it before your trip. While you’re at it, pick up a decent chef’s knife, which will make chopping all those fresh fruits and vegetables you’re going to be cooking with so much easier.

2. Plan Ahead

This might not be the most interesting aspect of eating on the road, but I think it’s the most important. Planning ahead means you will always have at least an idea of what you can eat when hunger strikes. We tend to plan out 3 days of meals at a time so that we aren’t grocery shopping all the time, but we also don’t have to worry about storing a week's worth of food, either.

Photo: Megan McDuffie

3. Know Your Standby Meals

Just like at home, we have a few meals in our arsenal that we can always turn to when we are lazy or need to cook and eat something fast. These meals tend to be fairly simple to make, with few ingredients and little prep. Having a couple recipes that we know well and can execute quickly means we are less likely to be tempted to eat out, because we know we have some delicious meals we can whip up in no time.

4. Variety is the Spice of Life

That being said, having a good variety in your diet is important, too. It’s easy to get on the oatmeal-for-breakfast, beans-and-rice for dinner train and get burnt out on eating the same thing day in and day out. Eating a variety of different foods not only keeps your nutrition balanced, but prevents those “I can’t even look at another PB&J, let’s get some drive-thru” moments.

5. Snacks!

Don’t let yourself get too hungry between meals. This usually results in desperate gas station garbage binges and/or getting hangry at your travel partner. Having a few snacks in tow, like fresh fruit or granola bars, can go a long way in preventing a mid afternoon slump followed by the shame of realizing you just ate an entire bag of Cheetos by yourself.

Photo: Megan McDuffie

Still not sure where to start? Check out our blog, Fresh Off the Grid, where we share the recipes that we have developed out on the road to get some recipe inspiration!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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