Five Simple Steps: Eating Healthy on the Road

Between all the different steps of remodeling (pack, destroy, rebuild, unpack, clean, restock) it’s been about 16 months since I last had a normal kitchen.   I’ve tried to feed my family healthy home cooked meals in all kinds of circumstances.  RV kitchen, hotel kitchenettes (with or without stoves/ovens) the house (with any variation of missing kitchen essentials you care to name)… I’ve done it all.

There is always a way to eat cheap and healthy.  It may not be glamourous or exciting food.  It may not be “perfect” and may involve compromises on eating organic (or local, or low fat, or low salt, or whatever).  On the other hand, eating at a restaurant probable involves those same compromises.  If you keep a few paper plates, spoons, and napkins in the car, this particular meal is even accessible when you are on vacation, running between kids events, or even as an at-home take-out meal.

Make purchases based on what your family will consume for that meal.  Do not plan on saving leftovers.  All you need is access to a grocery store.  Shopping at my local Kroger store, I can feed my family of four for under $10.

  1. Head to the deli section of the store.  Pick your protein.  Good choices are a whole rotisserie chicken or sliced deli meat (pick one that is filler free, like Boar’s Head).  If that isn’t available, go grab a package of tuna or salmon in the canned fish section.
  2. Cut through the bakery section.  Pick up some fresh corn tortillas or whole-grain rolls (if available).  Alternatives would include some rolls or tortillas from the bread department, potato salad from the deli, or even a small bag of chips.
  3. Head to the produce section.  Grab some pre-cleaned fruits and vegetables that will satisfy your family.  Feel free to use the salad bar if you can.  Steer clear of the packaged “party pack” trays to stay budget friendly.  If there are no pre-cleaned fruits or veggies, aim for something simple that you can wash in a sink. Think apples, baby carrots, grapes, oranges, bananas, or even bell peppers.  Worst case?  Head to the frozen aisle.  Frozen fruit and some veggies (corn and peas) will thaw quickly and can be enjoyed straight from the bag.
  4. Stop by the dairy aisle.  Select some individual servings of  yogurt that sound fun to eat for dessert.   You can decide what kind of yogurt qualifies as healthy for your family.   Yes, you could buy cookies instead.  Yes, you could buy some frozen pie slices and wait for them to thaw. But this is about eating healthy, remember?
  5. Finish at the drink cooler.  Grab some bottled water.  Let your conscience be your guide on buying anything else.

Do I recommend eating this way every night?  Of course not.  I advocate cooking your own chicken and cleaning your own vegetables.  But when that’s not an option, this represents an alternative to eating out.

I do have a vegetarian option, but it involves a can opener and a gallon zip lock bag.  Seriously.   Grab a can of the “three bean salad” and a can of white beans (any type).  Open the cans and drain the white beans.  Mix them together in the ziplock.  The liquid from the three bean salad can will serve as sufficient dressing for the whole salad.

Tell me, what other on-the-go solutions do you have for feeding your family?

Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Your article is so nicely written. I found it to be so useful and I agree with everything you said. I have problems with on-the-go dinners and even if I don’t have other solutions as soon as I’ll find something I’ll let you know. Thank you for sharing!
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