One aspect of living life on the road/run, is that my husband and I are quickly learning how to adapt and combine our old lifestyle – fully stocked kitchen, a familiar grocery store with sales, checkers that know us by name, and so on – with our new nomadic one. Needless to say, it’s been a challenge, albeit a fun one.
First of all, Justin and I have completely different styles of doing many things, and nutrition is one of the biggies. While he is all about the high-protein, low-carb, big manly carnivore items, I opt for more low-fat, plant-rich selections. (Don’t let that last statement fool you, Justin tends to eat healthier than I, since he tends to avoid sugars and starches, which are my Achilles heel.) Neither of us are big restaurant diners, for a few reasons.
Cost – That’s a no-brainer. Unless it’s something I cannot prepare myself, it’s tough to pay $20 for a steak dinner when I make a mean one at home. Being as humble as I can, I must say I am one heck of a good cook…just ask my family.
Selection – It’s hard for both of us to stick to our desired meal plans when dining out. Even though I know restaurants will take special requests, I was a waitress in my younger days for many years, and I know it’s not always easy on the staff, a leftover value from my days slinging burgers.
Portions – This is another area like special requests, where I realize it can be done, but does anyone except super humans with willpower of steel actually do it? I know we don’t. Sitting in a restaurant and enjoying a meal has a way of somehow warping your brains belly-o-meter, and you never really realize just how much you ate until it’s time for that walk to the car. I’ve literally seen every friend and family member I have leave an establishment rubbing their stomach, leaning back, commenting how full they are – I’m sure you’ve experienced the same.
So where does that leave us? Or I should say me, since I’m the designated cook in this pair. Justin could quite well be a better chef that myself, however just looking at his family favorite recipes gives me a pain in my chest! Our friends can speak to that first hand – but Justin by a grill or a deep-fryer and you’re in tailgate heaven. Wings, homemade fries, steaks, ribs – he does it all. Since I’m pretty fond of my husband, I try and keep him in all his caveman glory, all while omitting as much of the unhealthy stuff that I can.
This means a lot of “home” cooking – much more challenging without a home, usually sans stove & oven, and just a tiny fridge/micro combo in the room (if we’re lucky!) As I’m writing this my latest batch of three-bean chili is simmering away on a portable burner strategically located atop the dresser – I make do with what I can! Larger batches of chilis or soups can be a great option if you do have the room to store items in cooler or mini-fridge. Just dish them into single serve containers and you’re set. By making it yourself you have the ultimate control over what you’re eating, you’re generally going to pay less than buying canned, and it’s much better for you. Plus, it’s a lot easier to pass on high-cost/highly processed fast food when you know a nice warm meal is only a minute or two away at your home base.
Tips I’ve Learned So Far:
Don’t assume motels, hotels, and such will have the necessary items you need. I left many of our favorite cooking utensils and small appliances at home in storage, thinking I’d never need them. So wrong! We’ve made more than a few trips to Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree and such replacing our abandoned favorites for much less desirable ones.
Evaluate just how important an item is and how often you’ll be using it – especially before going “cheap” I really can’t stress this one enough. My very favorite chef’s knife & stone currently lie at the bottom of a plastic tub in a cold garage while I am mangling tomatoes with a special 3 for $3 set from the local discount store.