How to Avoid Road Deli Belly

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Peanut butter jelly sandwiches. Beef jerky and cheese sticks. Walking tacos (?!).

These are what I would be subsisting on during my road trip if I relied on what the internet suggests for “healthy (car) camping meals”. Being stripped of any sort of routine regarding meal times and even where you’re sleeping that night can take its’ toll on your body. As such, I think it’s rather nice to be able to at least rely on food that makes you feel good. Here’s a round-up of some meals we’ve been able to enjoy that are relatively inexpensive, healthy, and easy to make.

Snacks

  • I try to not snack. Having snacks nearby when you’re doing something like driving can make you mindlessly eat. I just grab a handful of plain almonds or an apple if I really start to get hangry.

Breakfast

  • Overnight oats: Put oats in a container, fill with water until it covers the oats, close container and place in the cooler. The next morning, give it a stir and add toppings. I usually went with almond butter, unsweetened coconut flakes, dried raspberries, flax seeds, dark chocolate chips, etc.
  • Almond butter and bananas
  • Apples and nutella

Lunch/Dinner

  • Sandwiches: Usually some combination of food glue (mayo, hummus, pesto, etc.) plus turkey, cheese, and veggies
  • Salads: Buy salads that come in a boxed container already, put half away in a different tupperware for a later lunch and add toppings. I drizzle olive oil and strawberry balsamic and buy packages of precut veggies -the kind used for kebabs- and mix them in
  • Burritos: Mix canned chicken, pre-cooked rice, and can of black beans then added cumin, garlic powder, and shredded cheese. On the side, we have tomato and avocado slices to put in the burritos
  • Curry Coconut Chicken: canned chicken, coconut milk, curry powder served over couscous (optional topping include shredded coconut, nuts, cilantro, etc.)
  • Polenta and the canned eggplant/tomato/onions mix
  • Sauteed mirepoix then added tomato basil soup
  • Gnocchi (cooks quickly) with canned smoked trout, pre-cut green onions, sundried tomatoes, and nutritional yeast
  • Spiralized zucchini (I’m morally opposed to using the word “zoodles”) and tomato sauce

Non-perishable staples

  • Fast-cooking pasta like gnocchi
  • Assorted spices: Cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper, and nutritional yeast are all I keep
  • Canned fish: Sustainably sourced canned smoked trout and salmon; the oil used to pack the trout can also be used to cook other food
  • Low-sodium canned chicken
  • Pre-cooked rice: I mostly used the Seeds of Change brand
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Canned beans (low-sodium black beans)
  • Marshmallows and honey graham crackers (because, duh)
  • Instant coffee, tea, and hot cocoa powder
  • Oatmeal
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut
  • Boxed pre-made soups
  • Pre-cooked polenta

Perishable stables

  • Mirepoix (pre-cut combo of carrots, onions, and celery that are a good base for most dishes)
  • Pre-cut veggies
  • Pre-washed salad (I prefer kale/spinach mixes)
  • Dark chocolate (especially 70% or darker; one entire bar is my personal daily serving recommendation…)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sandwich fixins (turkey, cheese, etc.)
  • Almond butter
  • Fruit

Recommendations

  • Try to keep track of your sodium count. It can be really easy to go over if you eat a lot of packaged foods. (Same with sugar.)
  • To avoid constipation while traveling, try adding flax seeds, prunes, brown rice and berries to your diet
  • Get your coffee fix on the cheap by filling your Thermos with a mix of instant coffee (and if you’re me, hot cocoa powder) in the morning
  • Roadside stands and farmer’s markets are a great place to stock up on inexpensive fresh fruits and veggies
  • Don’t go crazy over trying to eat healthy. I had my fair share of burgers, pizza, and beer without an ounce of guilt because I was eating right the majority of the time
  • Depending on the size of your pan, it can be nice to make double portions and store the rest in a container for later so you can just reheat and eat or enjoy as cold leftovers
  • Buy an insulated water bottle you like the look of so you remember to keep drinking water while you drive. Plus, it can also be used to keep hot drinks warm
  • Trader Joe’s is great for non-perishable goods like canned fish and veggies. Shop your local bulk stores for small quantities of spices and tea in bulk

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So, that’s what works for me! Don’t stress too much about being a health freak and don’t beat yourself up over eating junk food sometimes. Just enjoy yourself and happy travels!

Love, Steph

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