Travel Food, Part I: On the road
Take the Travel Food Challenge with us!
When you are on the road travelling with kids, you basically have two goals: Avoid at all costs a peasant revolt from the back seat and keep everyone well fed (see the first rule). To that end parents have relied on some tried and true methods to dispense travel food. About the middle of the last century, a whole market sector developed to give people convenience, affordability and expedience on the road with the advent of the drive thru restaurant.
Sure, you can get “lighter side” menu items in most places. However, let us not kid ourselves, true healthy travel food options are different than the value added convenience.
If you heard the podcast we did with our friend Ann Marie of Cheeseslave.com you might have caught the part where I wanted to write a blog about the proverbial grocery store vs. drive thru challenge. Now I could gladly devote energy to a travel food blog, but we would rather help you produce, prepare and preserve your own food surplus. But if someone wanted to underwrite that venture . . . I would certainly consider it. Sneak peak: We do have a special treat for Friday’s blog regarding traveling and food!
So, here is the challenge we laid down: Take the average drive thru expense for a family of five ~$22.00 (a number that I picked). Could a family get healthy food for about the same money at a grocery store? Now this is comparing dollars to dollars, with a results focus on mapping out which would be more nutritious. If you really want to know what goes into fast food, there are plenty of nutrition calculators out there on the internet to do just that.
Check out this video we made of our attempt at a Wyoming grocery store on our way to the last Self-Reliance Expo in Colorado Springs, CO.
As you can see, we went over the $22.00 budget by $7.17. And this was not comparing what we had for time invested either, so there is even more of a difference in true “cost” involved. We did have leftover finger food to travel with us, which is an asset for rule number one and two.
Assets we had with us included a small cutting board, a good thrift store knife and a can opener. These will greatly expand your options and they do not take up very much room at all in a map pouch on the door. Add some baby wipes and plastic flat ware and you are good to go.
Not captured in the video are other attempts on the way back that we made to get near to the $22.00 mark with our best at $24.62. Granted we are not ruling out that you can easily spend more in a drive thru, but people generally make travel food decisions based on cost and convenience. Oh, and messy factor if you are eating in the car; I do not think that Scotch Guard™ has a “toddlers eating couscous” rating.
Travel food can have lots of options for a family on the road. When I used to work in the Southeastern part of the US. I would travel by car routinely. My constant emphasis on time meant that I ate very poorly so that my health showed the accumulative effects of processed food and high fructose corn syrup. Now that I know better, I can plan ahead and I do not have to sacrifice convenience for health. Here is a travel food blog that highlights traveling, good food and our great nation.
Pro Deo et Patria
Travel Food title photo by Pantry Paratus
Book shelf by Pantry Paratus
Video by Pantry Paratus
Photos in composite by Sanja Gjenero