So I ended up driving to a medical conference 12 hours away with my boyfriend last week. Before we left, I was thinking, “Maaannn… long road trips make me feel like junk. Not just because being in the car for forever feels terrible, but because I get sucked into buying Cheez-Its at a gas station instead of being in my normal groove of eating food that makes me feel amazing.” It also seems hard to pack healthy food instead of processed food, because processed food almost by definition is meant to survive harsh conditions (like a road trip) while healthy food tends to be more ephemeral.
This road trip was different, though. There are actually PLENTY of cheap, healthy options for Spring Break road trips (like we just had) or summer road trips (coming soon!).
These ideas can also be used for snacks at work.
1.) Red Cabbage– this stuff survives anything. I know, because I had a head of red cabbage in my fridge for 2 weeks before taking it on the road trip. Despite being days without refrigeration and sometimes just hanging out in a hot car, it lasted the entire drive down in addition to the weeks it sat in the refrigerator before being used. It’s crunchy, pretty, stops cancer from growing, is rich in anti0xidants, and costs about $1.50 for an entire head of cabbage. We dipped it in hummus or used it as a carrier for roasted garbanzo beans, like in the picture.
2.) Carrots: these things also survive anything, are incredibly cheap, fill that desire for crunchiness, and have all the benefits of antioxidants/fiber/etc. your typical gas station doesn’t have (or has at $5/cup of fruit).
3.) Nuts and seeds
4.) Beans: If you don’t want to have to refrigerate a bean dip, you can cook beans with spices before the trip to make them more transportable. They are a complete meal with fiber, carbs and protein and will make you feel full so you don’t gorge on things you will regret later.Here is a recipe for Spicy Roasted Chickpeas from one of my fave vegan blogs, Connoisseurus Veg. It is the topping to a soup recipe but hey, the topping worked great for our road trip.
5.) Lacinato kale also survives anything and can be used the same as Red Cabbage. For even greater portability/tastiness, consider baking kale chips by dousing the kale in a modest lemon juice/olive oil/dash of salt bath and baking at 250 degrees F until crispy.
6.) Fruits and veggies that already have wrapping in place– I don’t know if you have seen this meme, but it is this picture of bananas in plastic with the caption, “If only bananas had a natural, biodegradable wrap that could be used to store them instead of this plastic.” 😉
So obviously, bananas have their own wrapping which makes them easy to store and transport. So do avocados, oranges, apples, grapes… the list keeps going. So don’t forget about these, too!
I am sure you can come up with more possible options; as usual just takes some creativity and planning to make easy, cheap, healthy choices. I actually planned ahead and did it this time, and didn’t feel gross by the end of the trip!