Eating Well on The Road

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Now that spring has finally arrived so begins road trip/vacation season. With April just a few days away I wanted to share a little bit about my experience with travel and eating the road, and some things I learned along the way.

This past summer Dan and I took a long road trip out west. We started in Ohio and went up through northern Michigan, over to Iowa, through Colorado, Utah, Nevada to California. Then up the coast to Oregon, Seattle, and back through Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska back to Iowa then Ohio.

Our trip took about 3 weeks and we spent a lot of time in the car. We sped through areas and tried to see as much of each city and national park as we could during our time there. It was both exciting and stressful because we ended up doing a lot planning on the fly. We spent a ton of time trying to find the fun or interesting things to do, campsites near a national park or decent hotels where we could stay each night. This didn't leave a ton of time for looking up fancy restaurants and planning out amazing meals. 

I knew that we'd be doing a lot of outdoor activities, spending time walking around, hiking, exploring and moving from place to place pretty quickly. I wanted to make sure we were eating enough of the foods that would make us feel good, while keeping us full and satisfied. Because 3 weeks is a long time to be on the road without your own kitchen and you can only eat chipotle so many times before you can't stand it anymore.   

We borrowed a big cooler from my parents and stocked up on peanut butter, bread, turkey, and a few condiments. We also bought "easy to eat" vegetables like baby carrots, pre cut celery, cherry tomatoes, and snap peas. Along with the veggies we brought lots of portable fruit like bananas, apples, oranges and grapes. Trail mix, pretzels and Clif/Larabars were our other go to's and doubled as a good snack as well as a quick breakfast. Most of these items we kept stocked during our trip and were easy to transport and keep fresh using just a cooler. 

We also stopped at a few farm stands on the side of the road. This was perfect when we were in northern Michigan because they were all over the place and we could get fresh fruit that we didn't want to bring from a grocery store. 

I did my best to look up restaurants ahead of time to find places we thought we'd like that weren't crazy expensive. We used Yelp and Google to find most of the restaurants along the way. This was stressful at times because one place would seem great online and we'd show up and it would either be closed or  more expensive than we'd hoped. That being said, we definitely found some unexpected gems! Finding a place that neither of us expected to like or be impressed by was the best. We liked some of them so much we would totally go back just for the food! Some of our favorites were: 

Coconut's in Sacramento CA

Slyce Pizza in Fort Collins CO

The Laughing Planet Cafe in Portland OR

Zoe Ma Ma in Boulder CO

Bruxie in Las Vegas NV

Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette MI 

Falling Rock Cafe in Munising MI

Cowboy Coffee in Jackson Hole WY

Traveling can be hard (especially when you're not great planners ahead, like us) but it's so rewarding. Food should be part of the experience while traveling but it’s good to be flexible when choosing and planning meals while on the road. It's never fun when food becomes a source of your stress. Eating well doesn't necessarily mean only eating the healthiest foods out there, it means eating foods that satisfy us and make us feel good and that work best in that moment.  It means trying something new and sometimes it means eating peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast 4 days in a row; either way you're enjoying the experience and savoring the moment.