It has officially been one week on the road. Today is day SEVEN! And to be entirely honest I am still getting the hang of everything. This has been a time of huge transition and adjustment.
One of the biggest transitions has been nutrition! I went from having an entire kitchen, gas burner, oven, refrigerator, etc. at my disposal…to a cooler, two bins of non-perishable food and a MSR camp stove.
Talk about change!
So here’s the kicker…you think I would anticipate such a big shift as being challenging right? Nope. I really didn’t see it coming. I budgeted about $40 dollars a week on food, telling myself I would not eat out. Reminding myself that I could cook all my meals on my camp stove.
Moreover, I assumed it would take the same amount of time to cook my meals. No additional time, prep or resources needed.
Well, you might not be surprised to hear: I was not seeing the full picture.
Living out of my car means that some days I’m on the road for half the day. Other nights, I spend in hotel parking lots where I can’t just hop out and cook on camp stove. What’s more, constantly moving around makes you hungrier. A new environment changes your bodies need for nutrition.
Folks, all of this was news to me.
But, here’s the beauty. Yes, I was underprepared. I still am. It’s a steep learning curve. But it’s a beautiful opportunity and challenge. Learning how to best feed my body whilst traveling and living out of Luna is one of the best lessons in self care I’ve ever had.
So, here’s what I’ve learned…
Two big bins of non-perishable food — great idea! I’m fighting a bug (likely picked up at a weekend long dance workshop) and the chicken noodle soup I unearthed from one of said bins last night was a LIFESAVER. But, it’s not enough.
So, in addition to those bins some fresh food is pretty essential. Here’s the food that I’m finding easy to cook:
Salads (kale, pistachios, plums, avocado and banana chips, dressed with balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper)
Couscous — quick cooking and hearty, supplemented by pre-cooked shrimp, heated up and doused in olive oil, salt and pepper is delicious
Sandwiches — I know, I know, not so gourmet… but some meat, cheese, bread, mustard and mayo go a long way
Zucchini and mushrooms are quick and easy
Eggs fry on a camp stove like perfection — and pre-hard boiled eggs may be spendy but they are worth it
Granola and pre-packaged single serve rice milk containers go hand in hand and quick cooking oatmeal is just as good as the real thing (especially when you at PB and J)
Tuna is quick and filling
Salmon Jerky is yummy and makes me feel fancy — so is salami and smoked salmon and some hard cheeses of course (all about that!)
Ranch has single use packs and carrots keep really well in a cooler
Satsumas are my jam right now, no fridge needed and lots of vitamin C
Here are some foods that are hard to cook:
MEAT! I am missing red meat in my life! Sure I could cook it on my camp stove in a pan, but it’s all the prep and clean up that worry me! But there is a solution! I’ll go into that shortly (see below).
Ice is hassle but my Igloo cooler is holding up and cooler organization is essential
Eating out can be TOTALLY WORTH IT or A TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY!
I’ve eaten two meals out (both breakfast because I’m a breakfast addict)
One was 16 dollars and total trash
The other was 11 dollars and absolutely amazing (see photo below). Broder Ost is Hood River is the bomb!
So here’s what I have to say about eating out, do your research! Treat yourself, when it’s good it’s always worth it! But don’t be afraid to walk out before ordering if a place doesn’t meet your expectations.
Tools are essential. Some of my favorites are:
My MSR Cook Stove. It’s appropriately named “the pocket rocket” and let me tell you it lives up to it’s name. It is bliss. It boils water in about 2 minutes flat.
My Snow Peak stainless steel cookware, it all stacks up and stores super easily, and it serves as excellent bowls and plates as well
A bottle of vinegar for cleaning dishes — truly could not live without it
Paper towels for clean up — I know, I know, but my carbon foot print is pretty small right now so I think I can get away with it!
Finally, as I mentioned, I don’t have it yet, but to solve my longing for red meat I will be investing in a cooker powered by cigarette lighter. Like the hot logic mini! Stay tuned for my reviews. A good van-lifer friend highly recommends it.
Finally, save money and time on food where you can!
Coffee shops will usually give you free boiled water
Coffee shops also often will not kick you out if you sit and work without purchasing anything. I’ve realized that if I bought a tea every single day my food budget for the week would be blown.
So, here’s what I have to say for now. Food is essential for our bodies to thrive! It’s my number one focus right now. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m excited with everything I’ve learned to date. And with that, it’s time to sign off and fill my belly!
If you have any questions please comment or reach out to me!
I hope you are enjoying your own wanderings and are filling your bellies with delicious food as well!