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Road Worrier: Grubbing On The Go

If you are driving a van from San Diego to Grand Rapids, and only stopping for gas, getting your hands on wholesome snackage in service stations is comparable to finding a cavity in the mouth of an Osmond. Assuming you’re not one of those road dogs for whom the four basic food groups are Sugar, Salt, Fat, and MSG, let’s check out a few alternatives to the microwave nachos.

The key is to commence the defense against malnutrition before hitting the highway. The local organic food market is a good place to start. Look for nonperishables that are preservative-free. Dried fruits, trail mix, and energy bars would fall under this category. Some of the latter are nothing more than $3 candy bars, so do your research. If you have to indulge, Frito-Lay Original chips contain potatoes, salt, and safflower oil. No maltodextrin (i.e. sugar), no Red 40 (really noxious stuff), and no unpronounceable additives.

If your bandmates are like-minded about eating healthily, a communal cooler is perfect for inexpensive, satisfying sandwiches such as almond butter on an everything bagel, unsweetend peanut butter on whole wheat, or if you’re daring and/or touring Down Under, vegemite – a great source of iron! A loaf of whole grain bread, kept out of the sun, lasts for several days. Remember that coolers require vigilant upkeep. Anything less and your perishables will be floating around in tepid water. Spending more on a quality unit, such as a Koolatron or a Cambro, will reduce the frequency of draining and ice refills.

Ask store employees about canned items that don’t need refrigeration but are still healthy (think dolmas and the like). For the gluten sensitive, a plastic bowl and spoon will serve you well on long trips: They’re all the implements you need for rice, lentils, coos-coos, and cornstarch-free stews, soups, and cereal.

These are simple, common sense tips for short-term, convenient sustenance while on the road.

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