Tag Archives: real food

7 tips for snacking smart on the road.

snacks for a road trip

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve already embarked on a cross (part of the) country road trip this summer and am about the embark on another day-long drive to Savannah, GA to see my brother exchange vows (!!!). And since I figured I’m not the only one loading up the car for a road trip or two this season, I thought I’d share my favorite snacks to pack for nibbling as you drive (or ride) along the roads and highways on your journey! With a well-traveled childhood and over a decade of competitive forensics under my belt, I kind of consider myself a BIT of an expert and, dare I say, even a road warrior! Here’s what I pack to battle boredom  hunger on the open road…

1. PBR….no not a 6-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon (don’t drink and drive, kids!) but Peanut Butter, Banana and Rice Cake. This is typically what I would turn to if I hadn’t given much forethought to my trip as I would probably have all these items on hand. Toss a package of rice cakes, a bunch of bananas and a half-used jar of peanut butter in your backseat, along with a knife, and you’re ready to whip up a quick PBR treat! Some assembly required so leave the work to your co-pilot or save preparation of a couple for when you’re at a rest stop.

2. Bulk Bin Trail Mixes….if your grocery store has a bulk aisle, go ahead and go wild right before your trip! Fill up individual sized baggies or jars with any variety that strikes your fancy. You’d be super surprised how little a small amount of each will cost you. My store has a version that includes chocolate covered espresso beans which could keep you from turning to cans of Red Bull once you’ve hit your wall on late night drives.

3. Grapes and Baby Carrots….on more solo journeys I’m prone to mindless eating and want something with crunch that’s not gonna be too calorically painful if I just keep reaching my hand back in the bag over and over again. I can recall a fair few trips in recent memory that have included a bag of one of these two items in between my thighs as I barrel down the highway. Sorry not sorry.

4. Snack bars….it seems I don’t go anywhere any more (even errands across town) without an emergency snack bar in my bag. I am NOT someone who is cut out for sitting in traffic when even the teeeeensiest bit hangry. Lara bars are my favorite but I also enjoy a Kind bar (especially the new spicy ones) now and again. Either of these can double as a nice breakfast (maybe paired with a piece of fruit and some gas station coffee) if you’re on the road early or your options are limited upon reaching your destination. I’ve also recently discovered the S’mores Luna bar which I think is a bangin’ solution to a candy bar craving!

5. Turkey Wraps….planning to stop somewhere for lunch? Bring along an insulated lunchbox with tortillas, deli turkey, and some sliced cheese. Maybe some fancy mustard if you’re feeling crazy! This has been Chet and my go-to for outdoor adventures (hikes, beach, etc.) and it is surprisingly satisfying. Pair with the produce and trail mix mentioned above and you’ve got yourself a meal!

6. Road Snack Meal Prep….if you’re super ahead of the game and organized, these protein energy balls and roasted chickpeas (I like mine spiced with cajun seasoning or rosemary/garlic powder) would be easy additions to your weekly meal prep when you know a road trip is on the horizon. Toss ’em in tupperware and keep them within arm’s reach in the vehicle.

7. Handy Hydration and Beverages….no matter where you’re going or how many miles you plan on covering, come prepared with plenty of water! I always fill up a few of these guys and Chet is partial to these because they keep your water cold basically forever (ice still clanging around at the end of your drive? WITCHCRAFT!). I also love Vitamin Water Zeros when it’s especially hot and sweaty…I’m sure there are reasons I’m not supposed to drink these but longhairdon’tCARE. And I will never not enjoy an iced coffee with soy if a Starbucks is made available to me. A super stingy thrifty beverage lifehack that I feel no shame in practicing is to bring along tea bags and drink mixes because you can get boiling water for free pretty much everywhere and tap water for free DEFINITELY everywhere. So, no shame in that game.

There you have it! That’s how I save a little $$$ and feel a little healthier when I’m out on the road. Of course, sometimes you’ve just gotta get a bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles and a Slurpee…but you know, BALANCE!

What do you pack for snacks when you head out on a road trip? Do you throw caution to the wind and load up on gas station treats or do you bring your own healthy alternatives? I’d love to hear! Open to switching it up for my next journey!!! Thanks in advance. xoxo

“Good and Cheap”–How to eat on a shoestring budget.

goodandcheap

Working with and around food, farmers and vendors, I have an ever-growing interest in food security, food access and the general public’s ability to make healthy and sustainable meals to nourish themselves. I’m also a gal who works full-time, is on a budget myself and wants to eat smart. Which is why, when I found out about a new (free!) cookbook marketed towards those trying to cook healthy, delicious meals on a shoestring budget I knew I had to check it out. Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day aims to help the 40 million families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP) but it’s a wealth of information for any individual trying to do more with less. Families enrolled in SNAP receive, on average, $133 per person, per month for food. Which, according to a recent article in National Geographic, “To eat well on that tiny amount, you have to be canny and creative. Most of all, though, you have to know how to cook—not showily, Food Network style, but thriftily, from dried beans and root vegetables and the bony bits of meat. It’s the sort of thing that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew, but that most of us never had to learn.”

Creator of this new cookbook masterpiece, Leanne Brown, moved from Canada to New York City to study food policy. She volunteered with food access programs to understand the very real struggles of food insecurity and devise a solution–a collection of recipes, ideas and methods that would help mold $4 a day into a nourishing, sustainable way of eating.

I LOVE her cookbook for several reasons. Most notably, her focus on produce. With a couple of bucks in hand to spend on food, it’s easy to look at your choices in the supermarket and settle on a few packaged boxes. Those seem to be the cheapest options. This just isn’t the case. Fruits and vegetables, in season, actually give you far more bang for your buck. Combine this produce with eggs, whole grains, beans and an assortment of spices and you’re well on your way to a multitude of meals. Many of Brown’s recipes are vegetarian which I also think is refreshing. Too often, resources geared towards individuals on food stamps or a strict budget offer plans that try to squeeze meat into most meals. Purchasing that much meat just isn’t feasible for many and trying to work it in can drain your funds quickly, forcing you to make sacrifices with other ingredients–canned instead of fresh, processed instead of whole-grain. The recipes in Good and Cheap are adaptable. Add in the meat when you can spend more, when you can’t–they’ll still be delicious and contain plenty of protein. And it’s this idea, that Brown is teaching you the tricks to cooking from scratch (literally and figuratively), which is another great thing about this resource. Instead of giving individuals who are financially struggling a sermon about how they should be using their limited resources, she writes whole sections of “ideas” and “methods” not hard and fast RULES. Her tone is gentle and encouraging not condescending and preachy.

Not to mention, Brown addresses several of my own go-to tricks I’ve learned during summers spent scrappily trying to squeak by on a 9 month contract or weeks when unexpected expenses left the piggy bank a little bare– 1) Oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast–they’re basically just vehicles for other odds and ends you have in your kitchen, ie. they’ll taste like anything you put in them. Plus, super cheap to buy a whole bunch of ‘em. 2) Need protein? Add an egg. 3) PUT SHIT ON TOAST–BAM! Now it’s a meal. 4) Just drink water. 5) Seasonal produce can be your best friend. Even better? Grow your own. 6) Spend a few bucks each time you shop to build up your pantry. Think spices, olive oil, bulk dry goods.

If you haven’t yet, go check out this fantastic resource. Brown is doing amazing work and her cookbook is a far cry from the government issued pamphlets usually doled out to those receiving food assistance. Her produce-driven plan for eating sustainably makes shopping local seem affordable and attainable for those on a budget. Offering the added benefit of a supported local economy and more farmers staying on the farm. All in all, Brown’s book gets a HUGE thumbs up from this girl!

Oh, and check back tomorrow! I’ll be sharing my own experiences with some of the recipes from Good and Cheap along with… a SURPRISE!