July 3, 2011

Eating Healthy?

If you’ve driven across your state, you’ve probably run into the problem of eating on the road. The choices are limited and they become even more so when you live in your car full time. There’s no refrigeration, no means of cooking or even heating, and not much storage space. All those tips I learned from my mom, like buying in bulk and freezing, can’t help me here. My food has to be pre-made, nonperishable, or from a restaurant and I have no way to save leftovers. In the absents of rent, food is my biggest expense.

So now that I’ve acclimated and it has sunk in that I’ll be doing this for a while, I need to seriously start thinking about, not just the cost of my food, but the nutritional value. Let’s walk through my meal options here in town, all of which I’ve used at some point.

Found At
Chinese Food Small Combo
Mall Food Court
Next to nill, if that
Submarine Sandwich
Not the worst thing, maybe switch from bread to a wrap
Bread & Cheese (or hummus)
Grocery Store
Hummus is good
Bagel Slices
Grocery Store
Huge bag and lasts for days but no nutrition.
Pizza Place
Cheese and Peperoni…
Mini (never expires) fruit pie
Grocery Store
Nothing, nada, nill
Salad Bar
Grocery Store

I have a microwave at work so I can take advantage of roman noodles ($.10) Stove top pastas ($1) and even an on sale Healthy Choice meal ($2.50) for lunches. My food costs come to about $10 a day, a few bucks more if I really want some juice. That’s not bad, and really isn’t much more than cooking for one person in an apartment. But there are some glaring omissions.

Have you ever gone so long without a vegetable that you buy a pepper just to eat it raw? I have. Fruits and vegetables are luxuries because they can’t be stored for more than a day or two and they can’t be cooked at all. When my sister and I traveled we would live on Subway Sandwiches packed with veggies. A $5 foot-long split between two people made a meal for $2.50, which is pretty tough to beat. Now that it’s just me that’s a big sandwich and not as good a deal. So come on people, throw me a bone. There must be some great eat healthy tips out there! For now it looks like the salad bar and an apple is my best bet and, for the record, I’ll cyber-slap the first person who recommends McDonalds three meals a day. 

Just a side note: When I was getting my car fixed the other day I took myself to lunch and had a burger! Real meat is even harder to come by than veggies.


  1. You can vary the menu by adding the following non-refrigerated items ... dried fruits, nuts, canned veggies, fruit cups in water, beans, granola bars, tuna (bag or can), peanut butter, and this is all I can think of off the top of my head.

    I know space is at a premium but what are the chances of adding in a small ice chest? Save money on ice by buying those refreezable ice packs. Get 2-3 and swap out the old ones with fresh ones frozen at the fridge at work. I hope that helps out some.

  2. When we were on the road I'd go into a grocery store and ask for 4 slices of this, 6 slices of that, and then buy a tomato and two single rolls and we'd have sandwiches. For a while a couple months ago i went on a raw diet (to see if it made my unhappy kidneys happy again). Raw diets are awesome for someone like you, because you can wake up in the morning, buy a day's worth of fruit and avocado and salad and then eat it throughout the day. The other thing that's important to eat in your condition is nuts. Buy a bag of walnuts or almonds and just munch them throughout the day. You will never, ever be hungry, those things are so packed with protein and fats. So i say, buy a moderately sized lunch bag, pack an apple, orange, avocado, and some salad mix, and carry it around with you. ALSO! you could buy a big box of salad mix and leave it in the fridge at work?

    Not having a fridge or stove means you could potentially eat out every day, but not only is that super expensive, it's also wildly unhealthy. You'll feel gross all the time.

  3. Granola bars on sale. Larabars are made of fruit, basically, I like those... but they're better when they're on sale! I don't suppose that building a root cellar somewhere under a seat is an option?

  4. Bread is food, choose wisely. Mustard, pickles, and Peanut Butter keep without refrigeration. A loaf of bread and a jar of PB and you will never go hungry. Tuna comes in packets as well as cans. Choose the packets to avoid having to drain, requires no refrigeration until opened and can be eaten straight from the packet. I often eat that by choice. A medium potato in the nuker for 4 or 5 minutes and you have a baked potato. An ear of corn, cleaned and dripping wet in a plastic bag nuked for 1 to 3 minutes depending on taste (I prefer 1 min) add salt and it is good for you.
    Wendy's has one dollar salads still, I think, I don't know about Mac Ds. Wendy's also has a one dollar baked potato with sour cream and chives or butter. They also have a dollar chili cup. Tortilla chips are nothing but deep fried tortillas and with a can of refries or bean dip very filling. The Mexican indian built a civilization on tortillas and beans. The corn chips will keep for days the beans and dip should be eaten when opened. Vienna sausage and potted meat do not need refrigeration unless opened. Slice ham at a deli counter is expensive by the pound so only buy a couple of ounces.
    If you can find a source of MRE's you can have a hot meal in a fox hole while hugging your rifle and they ain't bad. I have tried a few that were delicious.
    If you can find a store that sells loose vegetables instead of in bags or bunches buy what you will eat that day, wash them and eat them raw.
    I have no trouble having a varied diet without refrigeration. I have no trouble staying fat either unfortunately.

  5. So when you're ready for a home cooked "healthy" breakfast, lunch and dinner you know where we are, Mike's a master on the grill and i rock in the kitchen, and I don't use every single plate, bowl, dish, pan, spoon in the house.....Miss you <3

  6. I am fortunate enough to have a fridge in my van, but perhaps a suggestion? Check out my post on the 12volt freezer.


  7. I eat raw peppers often. I eat peppers every day. You can stir fry these. I don't know why you don;t cook more. Get a JetBoil, a fry pan. You can fry eggs with onions and peppers and broccoli. the protein will keep you going for hours. The veggies provide vitamins and fiber. When I travel I bring boiled eggs. Eggs keep for weeks if never refrigerated, but they never last all that long, so I don't worry if I buy some that were refrigerated. So you need more fruit. Buy bananas. I avoid apples because I'm allergic to them, but they are healthy and tasty. Oher fruits spoil quickly and are expensive, but worth it IMHO.

  8. You'll prolly want to avoid leaving your fruit in the car for an extended number of days during this heat wave... I had gotten in the habit of keeping an apple in my car over one winter and still did it coming close to a Texas summer. Then forgot about it and didn't drive the car for about a week... Found it after the fermented smell started emanating from the car... I was to pick up an aunt of mine that night for dinner, and her first question, on getting in my car, was how often I drink and drive...
    On a more serious note, I find I stay full longest as long as I avoid things like breads and pastas and stupid sweets (not fruit, but candy/pie/etc). Please note that I really love these things, but my body says -- um, real food, please -- and starts growling about an hour later.


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