Road Trip: Food for thought when you’re traveling

For me, food is an essential part of any road trip.

It’s a way to embrace the experience of travel, and a good excuse to stretch the legs. It’s one of the things about a road trip that can draw my attention to the journey, rather than the destination.

For a road trip so good you can taste it, try these tips:

Old Faithfuls

It’s a road trip!

Let yourself have a little fun with some of your favorite treats, just don’t overdo it. It’s easy to let two peanut butter cups – or four – make you feel less than 100 percent.

Keep a favorite guilt-free snackable close at hand for when you have the long-haul munchies. I’m a fan of grapes, dried fruit, or bean chips.

Honorable mention goes to a food shrouded in mystery: jerky. Beef (or any other meat) jerky is a descendant of pemmican, a staple of the natives of Canada and Alaska, and the original travel food. Pemmican was cured and dried meat, fat and sometimes fruit. It was a clever way to pack a light meal for those long days on the dog sled. In the modern context, my wife prefers teriyaki beef jerky, whereas I’m more of a smoked/spiced venison jerky man.

New Classics

Over the years, my tastes have refined.

Sometimes, instead of beef jerky, I prefer the haute cuisine alternative: bacon. And thanks to Bacon Mania, we have options other than the BLT. In “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite,” Dr. David Kessler describes bacon as “a unique flavor … with no taste substitute.” The good doctor speaks the truth.

For a power-packed meal on the go, I love a smoothie. The combinations and flavors are endless, and if you let the pros handle your blend, they can add some pretty amazing nutrition. I like the Mangosteen from Tasti D-Lite™, or the Passion Fruit from Smoothie King®.

As a child, on family road trips, we were given an endless supply of carbonated, sugary drinks. Even then, I could tell that it was possible to have too much of a good thing. Now, when I am covering some long miles, I keep something that’s closer to water with me, like SmartWater®, VitaminWater®, or my personal favorite, Fiji® bottled water. Enjoy your hydration.

Local Flavor

When in the less-dotted regions of the map, do yourself a favor and enjoy some truly local fare. Now, there’s a trick to this, and I’ll tell you what it is – crowdsource your research.

Here’s how I do it: I depend on a combination of marketing, traffic, and the internet. If the place has a name that I’ve never heard of (or a sign I can’t read or even see very well), but the parking lot is full, then I know that it’s a unique, local favorite. A perfect example in my neck of the woods is La Mexicana in Denton, Texas.

Often, this formula is enough to get a great experience. But I will usually also lean on Yelp! or another review site or app to see if someone has given more info, like the menu, prices, what the best thing is to eat or drink there, or photos of the dishes or establishment.

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