Eating and being healthy on the road on a budget
Jan and I like to cook our own food, whenever possible. It’s a lot healthier and way more cost-effective than eating out in a truck stop or one of their fast food restaurants. When we first started out trucking we did not know any better, plus we had plenty of money to eat out with. It wasn’t long until both of us were having trouble fitting into our clothes and were both feeling like crap. Along with the weight gain, the lack of nutrition available in the foods we were consuming and the rigorous work schedule we were keeping at 6,000 miles per week, it’s a wonder we were able to stay trucking. After about three months of doing nothing but driving and eating only what was available at truck stops, we decided to change things around.
We started with an ice chest cooler where we added ice everyday and stopped at a grocery store and stocked up on a few healthy items to have on hand. Milk and cereal took the place of sausage and egg croissants and bacon egg and cheese biscuits. Peanut butter and jelly, along with some good ole bologna took the place of a double cheeseburger and fries. Cold ice water with flavoring took the place of coca cola’s and mountain dews. Some lettuce and canned vegetables started replacing the late night heavy dinners we were having, and before long we were both feeling and looking much better. I gained 40 pounds within the first three month out on the road and felt like crap. Now I am down to my original weight of when I first started trucking and have been for about 10 years now.
It was a little challenging to cook without an inverter at first when we were driving a company truck. With a little ingenuity, we learned how to make do. We had a twelve volt coffee pot which we would do our cooking with along with a charcoal grill. We would wrap up a cheese sandwich and lay it on the burner and let it toast. This was a pretty slow way of doing it, but it got done. Those little tins they sell at wal mart for a Burton oven were used to put eggs in also and done the same way. Talk about patience waiting for those to cook, but it was worth it not to have to eat crappy food. Along with that we used the coffee pot for just hot water, and not coffee anymore. Instant coffee with our favorite fixings in the cups saved a ton of money . We also used the hot water for instant oatmeal, grits, and would even use it for some boil in bag rice at times. Cleaning up was a challenge so we started using mostly disposable plates and plastic ware. We also added a 12 volt crock pot to our list of cooking utensils without the inverter.
Now that we have been out here for a while, we have a nice set-up on the truck. All of the stuff we have on here runs off of a small 1,000 watt inverter. Our best investment to date has been a small apartment sized refrigerator/freezer combination. It can hold a large amount of stuff in the freezer and we can plan out our meals better than ever. It usually holds frozen chicken breasts, some hot dogs, frozen vegetables, hamburger meat, pork chops, some bubba burgers and the like. Our fridge usually has jelly, yogurt, cheese, lunchmeat, mayo, coffee creamer, salad dressing, lettuce, onions, egg beaters, some real eggs, tomatoes, maybe some broccoli or squash, string cheese, celery (great with peanut butter) butter and milk (lowfat) and occasionally some canned biscuits. Up in the cabinets we have a couple of boxes of cereal, instant oatmeal, instant mashed potatoes, cornbread mix (love that stuff), packages of tuna for salad, canned chicken breast, canned veggies, instant soups (but not a lot cause of the sodium), those instant heat em up rice packages, olive oil for cooking with, crackers, spices of all types and some breakfast bars when we might not want a big breakfast.
Other items we have to cook with are a microwave to maybe do a frozen dinner once in awhile, an electric dutch oven we can cook just about anything in, a toaster for poptarts , toast and english muffins. A gas grill in the sidebox for those cookouts we love to do, and two crock pots. We have a large one for stuff like chili or pot-roasts and a small one to bake the cornbread or biscuits in. We also love to put some fresh vegetables in the small one and let them cook while we run down the road. brocoli, squash, fresh green beans, zucchini, carrots and the like taste so good when they are cooked in there..yum.
We usually stop at a grocery store twice a month. One stop will be the big one where we restock the freezer and fridge and it usually runs about 150 dollars. The other stop will be where we have to restock the milk, coffee creamer , string cheese, bread and stuff that runs out or goes stale. Those stops still usually run about 80.00. So our monthly food bill comes out to be about 230.00 or better. This sets us up for 30 days. If you do the math, we can eat for less than 10.00 a day. If we were eating out all the time, one meal can cost an average of 10.00 for two people and that is the low side of it. That would be 30 dollars a day for thirty days and that equals to 900.00 per month.
So, now you know a little about how we do it out here. Not only do we save about 600.00 a month on food costs per month, but we eat a heck of a lot better than you would if you ate out all the time. Plus I personally think that it’s a lot more better and tasty than what you can buy out here.
Here’s too your health,
Jim and Janet
I (Jan) have just about mastered improvisational cooking in the truck!
You have to be creative! really though, almost anything you cook at home,
you can cook in the truck! Check it out!
Chicken Breast with “Sweet Baby Ray’s” BBQ, Corn & Texas Toast
Rigtoni with A beef & Italian sausage red sauce
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal & Wheat Toast
Blackened Burgers & Baked beans
Burger w/gravy, taters & peas
The ONE basic item that you can make almost anything in is a crockpot! remove the glass insert, and it becomes an oven! Just line it with foil and you can make biscuits, cornbread, cookies, crescent roll danish and the list goes on and on. With the glass insert in, stews, soups, lasagna, Cornish hens, roasts, or just put some water in it to heat up a can of ravioli!
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