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Salad in a bowl with tomatos, avocado, lettuce and beans

Healthy Eating On The Go

The biggest budget concern for the trip was the food budget. Healthy eating while traveling can present challenges. After all you’re out of your element in a new place, but it is still possible. 

Today we’re going to talk about how we managed to maintain some healthy options even while we were always on the go. There are always ways to incorporate healthy foods into the mix. Healthy food fits in the budget too. Taking the time to plan and prepare is key, especially when traveling.

Angie in the back of the fully packed car

Starting the Day Out Right

The day started with us breaking our own record for the earliest day on the road yet. In fact, except for one other stop, this was the earliest we were on the road for the entire trip. Even so, our travels did not come before helping a neighbor in need. Our hosts, Jan and Michael have a neighbor that lives about a mile up the road that needed some help. He end up locked out of his house during a medical emergency during the night. The help they were offering their neighbor was heartwarming. They were attempting to help him get back into his home.
Luckily they were able to get into the house but needed an extra pair of hands. Brandee and I were ready to be on our way and agreed to give Jan a lift down the road so she could help out. The picture above is a photo of my comfortable seat for this short drive, thank goodness. It just goes to show that you never know what you’ll end up doing when you go with the flow.

Rest and Recovery Days While on Vacation

This morning we are on our way to Utica. It was the first itinerary change of the trip although we made several more along the way. Our original plan was to go through Binghamton, NY and then Brattleboro, VT on our way to Bar Harbor, ME. While we were in Cleveland, our host, Zach, voted in favor of changing our route to include Burlington VT. His reasoning was sound. 

The thinking was that changing the route would be a more scenic drive. We’d get to see more of the mountains and that we’d enjoy Burlington more than the stops we had originally chosen. He thought it would be more in line with the experiences we were looking for. Zach also recommended that we stop at the White Mountains on the way. After a brief conversation we figured “why not? It sounds like fun”. So we changed our plans and our stopping points then included Utica.

Today was an important but uneventful day in on our journey. There’s something to be said for slowing down and relaxing while taking a road trip. It’s good for your mental and physical health. Not to mention that we were one week in and almost out of the pre-prepared food that we had brought with us. To stick to our goal of spending less than $75 per day, it was important to have healthy food ready for us to eat on the go.
As luck would have it, our host for the evening, Italia was not going to be home while we visited. She was very kind in allowing us to stay at her house anyway. This happened a couple of times along the way. We were very grateful for the kindness of the people who trusted us to stay in their homes when they weren’t there. This ensured that we had a safe place to sleep a few times along the way. Today we were going to have the house to ourselves. This gave us the perfect opportunity to do some grocery shopping and replenish the food supply.
Healthing Eating on a Budget while Road Tripping Across America with 3 pictures of food

Because we were on the road so early, arrived in Utica in plenty of time to get all of this done. We stopped at the house to check it out and see what the situation was and headed to the store with a grocery list in hand. Food prep for the day included:

The Menu

  • Spaghetti
  • Chicken Lo Mein 
  • Bento Boxes for quick, easy and on the go lunches and snacks
  • Garden Salads with Chicken

These may not sound like the healthy on the go options that you’d typically think of, but hear me out. The recipes we used were healthy, and we planned and prepared food that is good cold. Well, except the spaghetti. Everything else was grab and go straight from the cooler. 

The spaghetti was our dinner for the night so it we planned that too and got to eat it hot. There were some left overs, and I’m a little quirky, so cold spaghetti was on my meal plan for one day that week. This means that leftover spaghetti was also something I could grab and eat on the go in the car. 

Sometimes it’s helpful to think outside the box when it comes to food. Anything that you would eat cold can be a great option. Simply store it in the cooler for a healthy meal when taking your own epic road trip. Chicken breast, quinoa salads, lettuce salads, recipes made with tuna fish, etc.

Packing to Eat on the Go

The key to being successful with all of this was the fact that we had packed appropriately and were prepared to cook. Brandee thoughtfully packed a full kitchen set in 2 small plastic totes that fit comfortably in the back of my car. The kit included:

  •  Stackable camping cookware set
  •  A travel cookware organizer filled with utensils
  •  An oven mitt
  •  Cutting board
  •  Two knives
  •  Spices
  •  Cooking spray
  •  Paper towels
  •  Dish cloths
  •  Coffee cups
  •  Plates, bowls and forks
  •  Dish soap

We used this kitchen kit over and over again while on this trip. Utica was the first time we pulled it all out, but once we started using it, we used it almost a daily. We used almost everything we had packed to prepare all the meals for the next week.
We used Italia’s stove instead of the portable one we packed but everything else was ours. The pot and pan set that Brandee had was super convenient and packs down to fit in a very small space. The set that she has is a is not the most sturdy set that you can get but it got us by and I was happy we had it. I will be purchasing a set of my own for the solo adventure I have coming up in May. Something that is sturdier but takes up the same amount of space.
We also had a propane stove with us. Our original plan was to take a portable grill but opted for the camping stove instead. After a discussion about the amount of room each takes up in the car and difference in versatility we decided on the stovetop. We didn’t use it today because we had a kitchen available to us, but we did use it several other times along the way.
This stop on our epic adventure was a total success because of the planning and packing that we did before we left. We were able to restock our food supply on this stop. Doing so allowed us to continue to eat healthy on the go while staying well below budget. If you have the space, I wouldn’t leave home without a kit like this.

Closing the Day with a Laugh

The day wouldn’t be complete without a good laugh. This recovery day was pretty mundane until it was time to climb into bed for the evening. The bed was on a frame that was as high as my waist with no steps to get into it. The mattress was approximately chest high. 

I don’t have any pictures, or a video of me trying to get into the bed, but I wish I did because I’m sure it was a spectacle. It felt like an Olympic sport as I tried to climb into the mountain of a bed at least 4 times in different ways before I was successful. Even on travel recovery days, it’s important to tackle a challenge!

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