Princess Hobo; Eating Well on the Road or Eating as Well as You Can
This past trip was our first time living in a van.
We didn’t have a fridge or stove. Or a cooler. Or knives or a countertop to prep stuff.
We will probably get these things next year. We will. We need them.
So this is about how to buy cheap and healthy food when you DON’T have proper cooking and cooling devices:
Chips and Salsa. The Mexican chips are the tastiest and the cheapest. But the Organic Non-GMO is a better health choice for sure. The salsa we loved came in a tiny single serving tin.
Organic Peanut Butter/Almond Butter and Bagels (for the Duke) or Thin Rice Crackers (for the Princess). Buy a jar of the nut butters and get some knives, plastic or real.
Fresh Apples, Pears and incredible California Oranges. Organic fruit rocks the Princess Hobo’s taste buds.
Bananas. Many, many bananas.
Sliced Cheese from the deli counter …(always craving fatty proteins). But just enough for a serving.
Olives for the Princess. YUM! The Duke would not touch these. More for me.
Tuna Salad on a Bun. The Princess would not touch this, but I will include it in case this is a great hack for other sandwich eaters. The Duke would buy a cheap fresh bun, then get some tuna salad from the deli counter. He would then slap it all together and make a sandwich for a fraction of the price of a pre-made one.
Prunes. Dried Prunes. Delicious and do not underestimate the need for prunes in your travel diet to keep all digestive systems running smoothly. The prunes were a godsend.
Energy bars. Look for high protein/low sugar ones.
Granola eaten with little cups of individual yogurts
Pastries (this is an official food group for the Duke)
For some reason, we found that dark roasted drip coffee in the USA tended to be the tastiest choice (Americanos in California tasted so weak at most cafes) and the drip had the strongest caffeine hit, since we always ordered a very large size. The Duke and Princess Hobo loooove their coffee. In Canada, we usually prefer Americanos but here in California Drip has not only the strongest flavour, but is the cheapest option, which helped with the enjoyment of it.
Grocery stores were good, but health food stores always had great affordable snacks somewhere hidden in them. Dig deep.
One of my favourite things to eat was the pre-made salad bowls at various Vons/Pavilions grocery stores in LA. For less than $5, there was a yummy protein, greens, veggies, dressing and a carb. In lots of exciting variations. And the bowl came with a fork!! The more expensive versions were available at Health Food Stores and Juice Bars…but we wanted cheap and cheerful.
I could always throw in extra nuts or fruit, but this became the main meal of my day. And it always left me feeling great.
When I bought fresh lettuce to make my own, it always went bad within hours in the hot van. Of course.
If we craved hot food, we ate a lot of french fries and rice/bean tacos from taco trucks. So many taco trucks!! Go there if you are hungry for comfort food, so much food, so cheap! The Duke ate one million bean and cheese burritos on our last adventure. He loved them.
Tip: ALWAYS get the Von’s Card. Always get the Ralph’s Card. Get the discount card to whatever store you love. Always use it. Your discounts are huge!! The card helped us through the lean times when the van broke down and we were running out of cash. We would cry out ‘VON’S!!’ with love, as we drove into the store parking lot.
Note: We discovered Trader Joe’s on our most recent trip…Trader Joe’s simply rules. Cheap, amazing selection of fun snacks and really friendly folks work there. A future article about the joy of Trader Joe’s will be forthcoming.