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  1. #1

    Default Healthy Food on the Road

    I understand that it's a good idea for saving money to take a cooler and pack some foods instead of just eating at restaurants on the way.

    What kind of healthy options are there for packing in a cooler, then? And what kind of options without taking a stove? I think we'll be a bit cramped for that.
    Last edited by UKCraig; 11-12-2009 at 12:51 AM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Erm, pretty much anything you'd eat at home. My esky would generally include milk, yoghurt, fresh fruit, salad, cheese, meat, OJ, water and that sort of stuff. I'll also have some bread, some wraps and a box or two of cereal in the trunk too. You can usually do breakfast and lunch pretty easily with that and then use the fire ring/grill at the campground to cook in the evening. Nothing to stop you treating yourself every now and then - just avoid McDonalds and find somewhere a little healthier...

    I ate for best part of eight months like that and lost 10 kilos. I'm now back in Europe and fatter than ever :( grr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default a small price to pay

    I would think hard about bringing a stove or a grill. They really don't take up much space. I've got a 2-burner propane stove that's about the size of a laptop computer, and they do have some single burner models that are even smaller. I actually do most of my camping cooking right over a fire, like Craig suggested, but for that I have some nice cast iron gear that gets a little bulky. The stove is nice because it can easily and quickly be set up in a park and it actually works better with small and lightweight gear - or I just use a tabletop gas grill (costs about $20) and skip pans all together.

    Certainly, there are a lot of foods and snacks that you can enjoy that don't need heat, but I find that I want at least one hot meal a day, and having even a basic heating element can really be helpful to avoid eating out every single day.

  4. #4
    Eaglebait Ranch Guest

    Default Healthy Eating on the Road

    My wife and I use our experience as ultra-lite backpackers when we plan our means on the road. Our cooking gear consists of a small 2 burner white gas stove and a couple of pans. When we come across a grocery store, we buy food for the next 24-72 hours (fruit/veggies, soft cheese, hard cheese, yogart, nuts, etc.). Veggies consist of those which we can use as "finger food" with cheese and peanut butter. We pack things like p/butter, flavored cream cheese/s and honey for lunches and snacks, grains/noodles to cook at night. Sliced veggies (yams, celery, carrots, whatever) takes up less space in the vehicle than boxes of crackers - and is less expensive.

    Our major, major sin is when we find an Olive Garden Restaurant. When that happens, through all I wrote above out the window!

    Chuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Olive Garden is a bargain when you get the all-you-can-eat soup, salad, and breadsticks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default yes, yes, and yuck

    Welcome to the RTA Forum Eaglebait!

    Those are some excellent trips about saving money and eating healthy on the road. I like the creativity of using the different veggies and cheeses.

    The only thing I can't agree with is Olive Garden. Personally, when I'm on the road, I'd rather take advantage of local restaurants or even regional chains I can't get in my hometown. Of course, even at home, Olive Garden is about the last place I'll eat, since I personally think they (and their sister chain Red Lobster) serve some of the worst, lowest grade, tasteless, mass produced garbage that I've ever consumed!

  7. #7
    Eaglebait Ranch Guest

    Default Eating Healthy, kinda, sorta

    Thanks for the welcome! Yes, this is day one of finding this site. Susan and I love to hit the road/trail (we backpack way more than we consume dinasaur squeezin's) but even when we are on the road we basically stick to taking what we ultra-lite backpack with.

    We would rather take to a Nat. Forest or search out a piece of BLM land to park our truck on and spend the night. So, I am hoping to use this discussion group to find some special places to travel to........

    Anyway, as to restaurants, I totally agree with the evaluation of Red Lobster, and finding good local restaurants. There are some great mom and pop restuarants in some of the small towns along the Oregon coast.

    I have to agree also with Olive Garden's "soup and salad" choice. 99% of our orders at Olive Garden is soup and salad.

    Two years ago, while driving through Idaho Falls, Idaho late one morning, we got wind of a great restaurant for breakfast. We found the place, and had an awesome breakfast. As we drove out of the parking lot, across the street was an Olive Garden! We missed our opportunity for soup and salad, but we know where we can get a good soup and salad if we are ever in Idaho Falls again.

    Chuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I would think hard about bringing a stove or a grill. They really don't take up much space. I've got a 2-burner propane stove that's about the size of a laptop computer, and they do have some single burner models that are even smaller.

    Certainly, there are a lot of foods and snacks that you can enjoy that don't need heat, but I find that I want at least one hot meal a day, and having even a basic heating element can really be helpful to avoid eating out every single day.
    I'm with Michael on this one. Bringing a small camping stove allows you to have more variety. Even when I tell myself I'll stick to cold meals, I just can't stand it after a few days. Besides, having a stove on board helps you resist the temptation of going to restaurants and spend extra money that you don't have.

    You can browse local food stores to find specialty products and local flavours and occasionally stop at restaurants.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default can't wrap my brain around it

    Quote Originally Posted by Eaglebait Ranch View Post
    \
    Two years ago, while driving through Idaho Falls, Idaho late one morning, we got wind of a great restaurant for breakfast. We found the place, and had an awesome breakfast. As we drove out of the parking lot, across the street was an Olive Garden! We missed our opportunity for soup and salad, but we know where we can get a good soup and salad if we are ever in Idaho Falls again.
    See, this to me is exactly the kind of thing that is so completely opposite of my thinking that I really can't wrap my brain around it.

    You got to eat at a great local restaurant that you'd never get to experience again unless you happen to drive through the city of Idaho Falls again, and you talk about "missing an opportunity" to have the same meal of soup and salad that you could have at anyone of several hundred restaurants located in just about every city of at least 50,000 people in this country.

    To me the only missed opporunity would be to eat at an Olive Garden and have the same meal I could eat anywhere in the country, and find out after leaving there that there was a great local place that I hadn't see right across the street. The key difference is that, I'd actually be missing something that I couldn't get anywhere else, not just bookmarking one of a thousand restaurants that take pride in serving the exact same thing. While I personally think Olive Garden's food is horrible, there are chains that I do enjoy stopping at from time to time, but I'd feel the exact same way if say I ordered a good sub from Subway, only to find out there was a great local deli across the street.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Bringing the grill

    I also prefer to have a grill along for the ride. Many times I've pulled over into a rest area and fired up the grill and have had a good fresh hamburger or steak. It doesn't take up too much room and is great should I find something at a local market that I'd like to cook up, whether it's some fresh fish or grilled chicken, etc.

    There are some models that have one side as a grill and the other as a stove, which can also be quite convenient.

    As for chains versus local establishments, I straddle the fence on this one. On one hand, going local allows you to have a unique experience; however, there's no guarantee that you're going to have a good experience (say, for instance, the only thing on the menu is scrapple, and you don't like scrapple). On the other hand, on a recent trip to the Carlisle swap meet, I had the pleasure of stopping in a barbecue establishment in a strip mall. It was very unassuming, and didn't look like anything special, but I figured I'd give it a try. It was delicious, real slow cooked barbecue, in a very odd location.

    With chains, at least you know what you're going to get, and it can be a safety play.

    My thinking at this point is that I won't wait until I'm very hungry to start looking for a place to eat, so that gives me some time to wander around a place finding what the local options are.

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