Road Trip Dining – Cheap & Healthy


I love road trips.  I think I get it from my father who could drive endlessly, happy and oblivious to the rest of us on the verge of barfing from motion sickness.  Like him I am a wanderer.  I love to see and experience new places.  Oh sure you get ass and leg cramps and the threat of an embolism but let’s be real – nothing is more freeing than the sky and open road with little more than the sun and stars to guide you.  Ok and maybe a map or even google maps. Yeah, yeah google maps…  Oh the day and age of technology… (eyelashes flutter) total bliss.

So preparing for that road trip couldn’t be easier.  Am I right?

Google maps downloaded on the iPhone?  Check.  Car has had a tune up and the gas tank filled to the brim?  Check.  Minimal clothes packed?  Check.  Epic road trip playlist ready on iPod?  Check.  A bit of cash in your fabulous new pair of skinny jeans?  Check.  Now you just need to figure out how to keep your ass fitting in those oh so lovely jeans and still have a nickel left in your bank account by the end of the adventure.  Well as luck would have it, I have some tips to save your waist line and your bank account.

No Refrigeration Required

  1. Buy wholesome non-perishables prior to leaving your original destination.  Healthier options become much more expensive in less dense populated areas.
  2. Seal items like cereal, crackers, nuts and seeds in freezer bags and store in the trunk of the car.
  3. Pre-season/sweeten dried goods so minimal processing is required during your trip.
  4. If you are one of those people who must eat cereal with milk then stop at Tim Horton’s and grab a single serve carton each morning.  In fact, Tim’s is a great resource for hot water for that oatmeal you’ve packed as well.
  5. Want real snacks? Apple chips and Skinny Pop popcorn from Costco are not only guilt-free but come in binge-inducing sizes!
  6. Stock up on bottled water or those tiny glass Perrier bottles which serve as a great beverage in place of pop.  All of this can be bought prior to when the trip begins and stored in the trunk on your journey.


Probably A Good Idea to Refrigerate

  1. If you don’t have a cooler purchase one of those styrofoam coolers.  If you have the funds or can borrow it, an electric cooler is an excellent ally on a road trip.  When you are far between towns plug the cooler in which not only extends the life of the ice but helps keep the cooler cool when the ice has all but melted.
  2. Each morning before getting back on the road visit the local grocer and purchase some fresh fruit.  Apples, grapes, bananas serve as a great nutritious snack and require minimal refrigeration.  Plus a bag of apples will feed you for multiple days and at a much cheaper cost than french fries or potato chips.
  3. While at the grocer pick up one of those trays in various sizes of fresh-cut veggies and dip.  Even small grocers are offering these trays and many offer cheese or meats intermingled. If you are eating meat make sure you only get what you can consume in a day – meats can go bad quickly and make you really sick if your cooler isn’t keeping a cold enough temperature.
  4. Another thing I enjoy at the grocer are those individualized packed salads, sushi and veggie rolls.  A perfect lunch or dinner for not that much money.
  5. If you have an electric converter for your car then pack your Bullet and make smoothies on the road.  When you’re done take a bottle of water and wash it out.  A more thorough wash can be performed at your nightly pit stop.


Eating Out

  1. Ok so you have some money to splurge and want to just grab something on the run.  Fast food restaurants are offering more and more healthier options at an affordable price.  A turkey sandwich, or small bowl of oatmeal at Tim Hortons offers good nutrition at barely a cost.  Or one of my favourites is the new Greek salad at McDonalds.  Without chicken this salad is under 300 calories and I think they are frigging delicious.  A country restaurant will usually have a soup or sandwich on their menu.  All of these options can be purchased for under $10.  One other great thing about fast food?  You can find a Tim Hortons or McDonalds on almost every corner.  Ok maybe not in real remote areas but if a small town has any franchised restaurant at all, my bet is it is one of these two giants.

Already then?  Now you can pack the car, crank the tunes, charge your iPhone and put the pedal to the metal!

Bon Voyage!

~ True North Nomad

How do you keep your waistline and food budget in check when travelling?  What’s your best advice?

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