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Old 07-30-2015, 03:50 PM   #1
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Healthy eating while on the road

I wanted to start a thread about eating healthy during your travels. I find myself struggling to not eat crap while on the road. Sometimes the trips are 300-500 miles but most of the trips are 100-150 miles. It is too easy to just pop off the freeway and pull into a fast food joint and grab something quick. This is a bad habit that must stop or I will pay dearly. I am finding it difficult to do better in my food choices. The temps sometimes climb to over 100* so I am worried about preparing food in advance and having it spoil. Some trips are multiple days. I am hoping to be able to use Texas(my short bus) for some of the trips. This would allow me to do some cooking. Until then, I am using my Excursion. Any tips or secrets you would like to share would be appreciated by me and probably other members.
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:50 PM   #2
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I take a cooler. I'm an organic vegan raw-fooder so the only place for me to get food on the road is in the produce section of a decent market. But I can usually drive about three days straight on a couple bags of carrots and apples.
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:41 PM   #3
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raw vegan not for me, I prefer my food to have had parents. My bus has a full kitchen so there's reason for spoiled food. We do have a 12volt cooler that use plugs into power port and works great, just like a reg fridge. It would be ideal for you to get one of these.
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:49 PM   #4
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raw vegan not for me, I prefer my food to have had parents.
Like my brother-in-law says, "salad is the food real food eats."
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:32 PM   #5
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Try making up salads & sandwiches ahead of time. With salads I suggest keeping the dressing & salad separate until right before eating. This will help with keeping your ingredients crispy.

With sandwiches, same thing keep it all separate. Put meat in 1 bag, bread in another and whatever else you want to add in yet another bag. Put your mayo or mustard on your bread add your meat & whatever else right before eating and enjoy.

Of course, a cooler is required or you can get inventive with anything and a frozen water jug or two.

As for hot food. Your engine usually has a place or two that can accommodate a piece of foil with food inside. I think you can even buy engine ready containers to cook in.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:03 PM   #6
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I cook for my kids 3 meals/day. Yes, I'm definitely getting an oversize freezer chest to turn down into a fridge. but my conversion is just beginning. Meanwhile I use a cooler to get from point A to point B. Eat what you want, but do some research if you're going for health. Our taste has been conditioned by commercials for generations and it takes some retraining to break the addictions that will always be profitable for the hucksters to instill.
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Old 07-30-2015, 11:03 PM   #7
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For me, preparing in advance is key. When I'm on a trip I just don't want to spend time preparing something. When I finally stop because I'm hungry, I want to eat right now! If I don't already have something that's ready quick, then I'll end up hunting for something just as you do. Sandwiches are great if that's your thing. Depending on the type of bread and filling, I find I can usually build the whole sandwich in advance minus any dressing/sauce (miracle whip?) and cheese, which usually turns mushy quickly. Those I pack separately and they're easy to add when it's eatin' time.

At home we've started making more freezer meals. Granted we're feeding a family... we'll make 3 or 4 meatloaves, casseroles, pot pies, etc in large "disposable" foil pans, then have one for dinner and freeze and vacuum pack the others for later. Maybe this could work for you if they were packed and frozen in single-serving sizes. Even rice-with-warm-stuff-on-top type dishes could be done.. maybe freeze the rice and the topping separately, and keep 'em that way or pack them together after they're at least partly frozen. Maybe you can use a gas station microwave or carry one of those small and cheap 700-900 watt microwaves with you. The frozen meals could help keep your refrigerated stuff cold in the same cooler! Eat the refrigerated first, and a day (or few?) into the trip the frozen stuff would be thawed and ready to warm.
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Old 07-31-2015, 05:54 AM   #8
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I have to live like this due to Celiac Sprue. When I picked up my bus, I hadn't planned for enough food and I ate almost nothing the last day of the voyage.
Having to carefully plan sucks but I've gotten used to it over the years.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:26 AM   #9
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I never heard of that before. Wow, that sounds rough. I've got some weird occasionally incapacitating ailments going on since adolescence that I've managed to keep under control in varying degrees by seeking out certain types of environments. It's one of the main reasons that the only real way I'm comfortable is by living a nomadic life. Easy to do with just a duffle bag and thumbing it when all alone, but impossible that way when there are children who depend on you. So a bus has always been my "Noah's Ark" to ride out bouts of ill-health and take me where I can recover. Along the way, I've found that diet is at least half the battle. I can only hope that you have good luck and success overcoming yours.
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:45 AM   #10
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I drove cross country for 20 years. I got so I really hated truck stop food, both the cost and the taste. Started out with just a cooler, then 12v cooler. For your Expedition that would be the way to go, they have come a long way in 20 years. For the last 10 or so I had a two door fridge. I tried all kinds of things. There was that one trip to LA on spicy beef jerky, cheese puffs and diet Pepsi, but that one ended in a three day stay in an LA hospital. Sometimes, you know some things just taste good together.
If you want something hot, the little butane hot plate works well. And doesn't take long. I know for a fact you can cook up a nice stir fry, eat,clean up and walk two dogs in 15 minutes.
Mostly for the last few years I just heated up frozen stuff in the microwave for meals.
What family wagon said about vacuum packaging works I did that for a while, but found I was too busy on the rare days at home to do the prep work.
I like raw veggies and would occasionally take them along, but I REALLY like them with peanut butter, which kind of defeats the purpose. When I had a fridge, the night before I left we would go to Chinese buffet, eat the buffet and order three meals to go. That would usually make 6 or more meals with some rice left over. I would use the last of the rice by adding it to a can of chicken noodle soup.
With a little planning, you really don't have to eat much different than you do at home.

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Old 07-31-2015, 10:33 AM   #11
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why do you think that eating raw veggies with peanut butter defeats the purpose? That's a really good combination!
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:41 AM   #12
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Depends on if you're going for low calories.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:01 AM   #13
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We traveled for four months with nothing but a cooler and used pocket change on fast food. Fast food is definitely cheaper than real food, unfortunately, and I have a huge soft spot for good ole' cheap Taco Bell. But we had our cooler and bought a bag of ice for it every other day. We always had on hand bread, milk, cheese, ham, spinach, mayo (doesn't have to be refrigerated!), peanut butter, and honey. It was easy to stop and take two minutes to whip together a sandwich. Tortillas were also great to carry because like someone else here mentioned, carbeque is an excellent way for hot food on the go. Wrap up cheese in a tortilla with some strips of veggies and meat, secure it to your engine block, drive a while, then voila! Steamy hot quesadilla. Another option we're going to employ this time is to bring a crock pot. Plug it into an inverter at the beginning of your trip, fill up and turn on, stop when it smells ready. Just make sure to put it somewhere secure so it won't shower you with hot chili in the event of a heavy stop.

If you happen to see farmers markets along your route, stop and buy your eggs from there. Yard chickens have more nutrients in their eggs and also if they've never been refrigerated or commercially washed then you don't have to refrigerate them and they stay good for a week or two.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:43 AM   #14
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When I went to get Heavy, I went into trucker mode. I ate at a Chinese buffet and loaded up on veggies and beef the night before. Then I went out the next day and drove home eating a 1/2 block of cheese and a packet of "cold" cuts the entire trip home. When I need to get somewhere, I get focused like a laser beam. That's just me.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:49 AM   #15
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Some very good feedback and ideas. It will come down to me preparing food in advance which I struggle with sometimes. I just need to get me act together and get it done.
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:12 PM   #16
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I'm a Celiac which means I can't have the protean called gluten. It is found it wheat, barley, rye, and oats. I also can't eat refined sugar beet white sugar. It shuts down my pancreas and puts me back on insulin. I have been Insulin free for 6 years.

I just do a cooler for drinks, and eat canned fish, and non spoiling carbs like potato cookies and dry cereals when on the road. I buy fruit fresh every few days, and eat salad fresh from supermarket deli sections.

For the record, I'm on the road everyday. My work takes me everywhere. I eat the same 5 things for most meals, and I don't mind it a bit.

I don't do red meat too often due to how hard it is to digest. Caned wild fish is far far more healthy, and never spoils in my car. I alternate between 5 kinds of fish to keep me from getting tired of one thing.

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Old 07-31-2015, 12:41 PM   #17
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I will second the notion that there are some very good 12v coolers, fridges and now even freezers that can help make life on the road a lot more palatable than in the past. But it still calls for careful planning unless you build in a mongo sized unit. Canned goods, dry foods (beans, rice, etc.) go a long ways towards filling out any menu. Fresh veggies & fruits will always be the problem children. They simply don't last that long, at home or on the road. But many can be kept for a much longer time if chilled to the right temp.

Occasionally, you can find good deals on MRE's (Military..."Meals, Ready to Eat"). The new gen meals are light years improved over the old stuff we ate when I was in the service and they are good for as much as five to ten years. I've had a bunch that were downright tasty and they are very well balanced.

Not "Vegan" or "Organic"...just tasty and nutritious.



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Old 07-31-2015, 12:49 PM   #18
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I have never heard of potato cookies before. Curious about the cereal, doesn't that contain gluten? I don't about Canada but down here we are bombarded with gluten free products.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:00 PM   #19
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The gluten free products are becoming more available.
They're still horrible, processed foods, but at least they don't get me sick.

There isn't actually gluten in oats, but since the vast majority of oats are processed on shared equipment, most oats don't count as gluten free.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:12 PM   #20
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There isn't actually gluten in oats, but since the vast majority of oats are processed on shared equipment, most oats don't count as gluten free.
I was just going to write the same thing. Some time back I read an amusing rant written by a person who'd just had enough of being asked about "gluten-free oats" -- "THEY'RE ALL GLUTEN FREE! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!" he finally replied.

I'm kind of surprised that pure oat isn't a bigger thing, honestly. Seems like there would be many people who would love to have their oats but who don't because of the contamination risk.
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