So…funny story here. I painstakingly squeezed one hour out of a very busy day because I had to do this week’s 4 Moms post.
I worked on the post, even though there were other things I probably should have been doing. These weekly posts are important to me, and I feel obligated. I am obligated, right? The 4 of us are a team, and our readers depend on us to dispense wisdom. Wisdom. hah.
So I carved out an hour and worked very hard not to get distracted. These posts usually take more than an hour, but I was diligent. I was focused. I knew what I wanted to say, and I was determined to make the most of my time. When I was almost done, I rewarded myself with some chocolate. I think better with chocolate. Don’t you?
A few minutes later I finished my post and scrolled down to update the info at the bottom. You know the part where we list upcoming topics and past ones?
That must be when the chocolate kicked in because I suddenly felt something happening in my brain. I saw that this week’s topic was not about keeping children still and quiet in church.
See? Funny story, huh? Well, I’m ahead of schedule. I’ve got next week’s post all ready for ya.
So now that you’ve heard this week’s excuse for why I’m a disorganized unprepared slacker, I’ll tell you how we eat when we’re on the road.
First, let me say that the word inexpensive is subject to a wide range of interpretation. To some, it means not eating steak or seafood. To others, it means eating somewhere you aren’t expected to tip. It may mean eating from a grocery store instead of a restaurant. Some think it applies only to eating food you brought from home in an ice chest.
To me, it means spending about what we would spend at home for a normal meal. We all know that the tradeoff is often convenience, and on a road trip we might be willing to spend a little more on food than we do at home. The idea is not to go broke or spend our gas budget on food.
We like to pack foods that can easily be served and eaten in a moving vehicle with a minimum of grease and crumbs. Some of our favorite inexpensive meals on the road:
- Hard boiled eggs – A cheap source of protein, easy to eat in the car. Just don’t store them too long, and never hand one to a toddler in a carseat.
- Roll-ups – My 4yo calls these Robots. Like sandwiches but with tortillas instead. No crumbs! This lends itself well to a variety of fillings – tuna, PB&J, bologne or deli meat & cheese, egg salad. A tortilla also frees you of the expectation of mayo or other spreads which can be both difficult and messy in a moving vehicle.
- Snackage – Lunch on the road may very well be more like a snack: items like carrot sticks, apples, almonds, raisins, bananas, animal crackers and PB, pretzel sticks (cheaper than potato chips and no grease), and grapes are easy to pack, easy to serve, and plenty filling. They’re also easy to dole out in small portions during a long road trip.
- Dollar burgers – Nobody said this was limited to health food. After a day or two on the road, everybody is longing for a hot meal and this really isn’t such a bad way to go. If we’re pinching pennies, we skip the fries (or split a couple of large orders among the 12 of us), drink free ice water, and order a big pile of double cheeseburgers or something similarly substantial from a dollar menu. It really is a lot of food for the money and doesn’t cost much more than a home-cooked dinner that includes plenty of meat and cheese.
- Green smoothies – Believe it or not, green smoothies travel well – if you’re into that sort of thing. Just make them ahead of time and store in quart jars in the ice chest. Drink directly from the mason jar like country folk.
- Water – Except for adult drivers who may need a dose of caffeine now and then, we rarely drink anything but water on road trips. To avoid buying bottles one at a time at the gas station, we like to buy a couple of gallon jugs and use them to refill individual bottles. Don’t worry about bringing a funnel. It’s fun trying to pour water from a jug into the tiny mouth of a bottle in a moving vehicle, and on a summer road trip in the south nobody minds if their clothes get wet. It’s just a free boost for the a/c, right?
Those are some of our favorite road eats. What are yours?
The other moms:
- April 21 – Large family & church, part 2: Being still and quiet during worship
- April 28 – Q and A: leave your question here.