How to Survive Road-Trip Food

July 26, 2013

We were lucky enough to go away this weekend to see some friends. The drive was going to take anywhere between 4-6 hours depending on traffic so we knew at some point we’d have to stop to attend to the baby and have something to eat.

On the way to our destination it’s a little bit easier because you can pack up food for the ride. We packed water in reusable bottles and sandwiches on flat bread.

I wanted vegetarian options so I put some hummus, fresh baby spinach, and sun dried tomatoes on a flat bread with a spray of extra Virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. It was creamy and tangy. So delicious and you don’t even miss the meat. You can beef (Hah) it up by adding a slice of cheese if you want.  Without the cheese, this would be a vegan sandwich.


My sandwich du jour.

We did make a stop at a rest area for bathroom breaks but not for food! And that was a good thing because rest areas are very tricky to navigate if you’re hungry and cranky from being stuck in traffic.

On the way home, we weren’t able to pack up food so we only had water on hand. When we stopped at the rest area the choices were Starbucks, Nathan’s and Burger King. Yikes.

Usually the only vegetarian options are salads that are loaded with unhealthy toppings like cheese and creamy dressing.  Or you can have a serving of fries (not my recommendation) because those are vegetarian though not very healthy.  Fortunately for me, I don’t really like french fries.  Plus, every time I visit a fast food restaurant I am reminded of the dreaded pink slime. Though McDonald’s has stopped using pink slime as of 2012, I still can’t get the idea out of my head of “boneless lean beef trimmings” out of my head.  I am also reminded of my old Weight Watchers leader who told me that pink slime is treated with ammonia to kill E Coli bacteria.  Yuck-y.  I stopped eating beef at fast food restaurants then and there.  So I’m usually ordering up some kind of chicken sandwich if I’m eating there at all.  Until today.


Burger King’s New Turkey Burger

Hey, look at this!  There’s a new turkey burger on the menu.  I asked the woman who took our order if she liked it and she told me she’s never tried it.  (Missed opportunity to give the employees a free taste to help them sell the new item, Burger King)  I decided to give it a whirl because it might be a good option for those who don’t want beef and want something a little healthier.  It turns out the turkey burger is coming in at 530 calories, which is not what I would consider a “healthy” option, but, it is less than the Whopper which is 670 calories.  I imagine if I’d thought to ask for the turkey burger without mayonnaise I could have saved about 150 calories.  Unfortunately, I forgot to ask, but that’s a trick I learned long ago in order to bring down the calories at a fast food restaurant.  My other tip is to skip the cheese on the sandwich.  The turkey burger is served without cheese as a standard, so if you did add cheese it would probably be much more equal to the Whopper in calories than anyone would think.

I guess in the end, I was probably about even on the calories but I enjoyed the turkey burger taste-wise and I was happy to not be eating beef.  I also had water with it (no soda or diet soda) and didn’t have french fries.  If we start looking at the calories for a “meal” with soda and fries we might all faint!

As a side note, I was pleased to see Burger King had some better choices for the traditional kids meal.  You get a choice of either fries or apple slices, and your choice of drink is expanded beyond soda to include juice or low fat chocolate milk.  Again, not the ideal lunch I want to be serving Dylan on a weekly basis, but for the case of the occasional road trip, it was good to know there were healthier options.

The main thing here is the we all have to stop being so hard on ourselves when we fall victim to the rest area food, or the mall food court, or the bible sized menu at Cheesecake Factory.  The world is engineered in such a way to make us eat this crap.  It’s not really our fault.  The best we can do (if you still plan to live in society and not move off to a farm in Wyoming) is to make the best choices possible.  That’s a good way to live life everyday too.  Just make the best choices you can and feel good about that.  For every vegetarian meal we eat and every organic bunch of bananas we buy we are making a difference with our dollars.  The big companies pay attention to every dollar we spend, so make the best choices you can with that dollar so they get our message loud and clear.  Your dollar is your vote.  So, choose wisely.




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