On the road without food; we’ve all been there and sure as Monday is international chest day, we’re bound to find ourselves there again. You know the deal; fast food might work for one meal but 5-6 times daily is likely to leave you with empty pockets and an upset stomach. You can always hit the diner or a steakhouse and get some decent quality food but unless you’ve got money to burn that isn’t going to work either. Man, if you could have just thought of everything and brought your damn meals we wouldn’t have to have this discussion! To some extent I’m just breaking balls because no matter how prepared you are, there are times where you simply won’t have prepared food with you. Overseas travel where border control won’t allow food to be brought in from other countries comes to mind. Of course there is always the last minute trip where you don’t have time to prep. And yet, sometimes you plan ahead and bring food but you’re just such an animal that you eat it all and you need some more. What to do? Keep reading.
It’s safe to say that should you find yourself on the road and staying at hotel there is one appliance you can likely gain access to; a microwave. And with some effort you can make some shit happen with that bad boy. Between the foods that can be cooked in a microwave, what you might be able to find already prepared at a common grocery store and what doesn’t even NEED preparation, it’s not that hard to put together a respectable day’s worth of meals. For carbohydrates, rice, potato and oatmeal can all be cooked in the microwave. Also, bread may not be the ideal choice but it is a carbohydrate source and it doesn’t require any preparation. Vegetables are easy to steam in a microwave if you’ve got some Tupperware and some water. Let’s talk fats. Nuts are available pretty much everywhere and require no cooking or refrigeration, olive oil is cheap and readily available while fitting into almost any meal. Between those two, you can cover your fat requirement. Now for the protein. Cooking chicken, fish, steak etc in a microwave is rough and not ideal. Can it be done? Sure. But before we resort to that let’s think about other options that may be available. Scrambled eggs are easy to cook in the microwave and doing so doesn’t really mess with their texture. That’s one protein source down. Nowadays, MOST grocery stores offer some prepared foods. Rotisserie chickens are in almost every store and many stores have a section where they sell things like grilled or breaded chicken, roast salmon and or some type of red meat. That makes things pretty easy. If not, there’s always canned tuna! And while I don’t do well with dairy, a small tub of cottage cheese is an economical and convenient way to get down 50+ grams of quality protein. And of course, you can always travel with a small container of protein to make shakes with. Animal Whey with some oats and peanut or almond butter and boom, you’ve got an easy, nutritious meal in no time. Things are beginning to look up.
In my attempt to put together a day’s worth of eating while having access only to a grocery store and a microwave, I was able do pretty well and come up with something very similar to my typical day of eating. Eggs, being easily prepared in a microwave and an excellent source of protein and fat served as my protein source for two meals while oats and a banana made up the carbohydrates; 6 eggs, ½ cup oats and 1 banana x 2 meals. When shopping for groceries, although I didn’t have any luck finding rotisserie chicken, I was able to pick up 24 oz of prepared chicken cutlets; enough for 2 meals. Plain grilled chicken would have been more ideal but on the road you sometimes have to compromise. And because this particular store didn’t have any other prepared foods that would work for me, I grabbed old reliable: a 12 oz can of tuna. A bag of frozen collard greens for my veggies, 4 potatoes and 2 cups of microwavable rice provided the starches and veggies to go with the remaining three meals. I also picked up a small bottle of olive oil for a few bucks that would be my fat source for the 3 meals without the whole eggs. 12 oz chicken, 10 oz potato a cup of collard greens and a tbsp. of olive oil made up another 2 meals. The final meal was 12 oz tuna with 1.5 cups of white rice, a cup of collards and a tbsp. olive oil. I also picked up some vinegar to help flavor the tuna and some lemons to help the collards.
All in all, I was able to put together 5 viable meals that are very similar to what I would normally eat each day. Not only was I able to hit my nutritional requirements but I was able to do it with a microwave and access to a grocery store AND it cost me just over $30. Hell, I can easily spend $20 per meal at a chain burger joint. $100 in burgers or $30+ in decent food? No brainer. So, next time you’re on the road and even think about complaining because you’re missing meals, just remember that a decent day’s worth of food should lie somewhere between a local supermarket and a microwave!