In Search of Food for the Road

How many nut butter sandwiches can I eat in 2 months?

Lunch fixins

Lunch fixins

Looks like I am about to find out.

We are packing up to leave Santa Monica for two months of touring US National Parks in Utah and Montana then driving eastward through Canada before swinging south to land in Minneapolis in July.

Having left our trip planning until April meant that the lodging options are pretty limited unless we would be willing to pay for the top lodges within the parks. (And we’re not…) It also means that we will be moving every couple of days between motels and cabins that do not have kitchenettes. Which in turn means that perishable foods must be consumed pretty much the same day as purchased.

Bringing me back to the old stand by of almond butter and honey sandwiches.

Reading Health4Earth’s post on food waste has inspired me to be a bit more thoughtful in my planning. (Thanks to Donna of Homemade Naturally for the repost.) I’d prefer not to be using single serving food items due to all the excess packaging but I also need to finish everything before it goes off.

I wrote previously about my five favorite kitchen items that I have in the car as we travel. I’ll add to that list a can opener. I expect that we will be supplementing fresh foods with some canned items such as refried beans to spread on tortillas.

The bowl collapses and the utensils are lightweight

The bowl collapses and the utensils are lightweight

For breakfast we have folding bowls and camping silverware. With a case of individual UHT milks, we should be set with cereal in the hotels supplementing with bananas or berries. When we have microwaves, that means oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit to cut back on the processed cereals.

That just leaves the rest of the day to figure out.

Preparing for the Road Trip

Just to make things even more complicated, I’m vegetarian while nuts can trigger migraines for Joel. It’s going to take some creative thinking to get enough protein for each of us. (Carbs shouldn’t be a problem…every town looks to have at least two pizza joints.)

I’ll be scouring through cookbooks and websites to find easy to prepare meals using pretty basic ingredients.

My plan is to go this week and spend some quality time at various grocery stores stocking up on items that we know we will use and not have ready access to in the smaller towns on our route. Ultimately, the trade-offs will come down to the level of processing to keep foods shelf-stable, restaurant offerings of varying healthiness, and just having enough to eat while hiking and biking daily.

I suspect that the variety of majestic scenery in the parks will more than make up for the repetition in our daily bread.

What are your favorite road trip or camping foods?