Memorial Day Road Trip Eats – Part 1

by Valerie on June 17, 2010 · 6 comments

Pink vintage car

No that was not our car for our road trip over Memorial Day weekend, but I forgot to take a picture of our Zipcar, which was going to be the first picture in this post.

Traveling with any sort of diet restrictions can be (hard) work, particularly if you would like to avoid eating too many pre-packaged foods and have limited access to a kitchen or limited time to cook.  Husband and I went to Binghamton over the Memorial Day weekend, for a total of five days.  A road trip is easier because one can pack coolers and crates of food,  but I still really wanted to do a series of posts showing how with advance planning and strategizing one can eat deliciously.  And I was going to take awesome pictures too (as opposed to the  blackberry on the run pictures I seem to rely on an awful lot).

The reality: I worked late and some weekends for the weeks leading up to the trip, and even went to work at 6.30am the morning we were supposed to be leaving to finish something up.  So instead of advance planning and stategizing and making two kinds of lentil dishes to be frozen and brought to destination so I had tons of variety, let’s talk instead about how the Vita totally saved the produce in my fridge and how you can still strategize.  Oh, and a few packaged foods to rely on so you can actually eat some hot food.


So after the 6.30am work stop the morning of departure, it occurred to me I was never going to be able to stay awake for the long drive from Washington to Binghamton unless I went to the gym and actually woke up.  Gone are the days of relying on a venti skim chai from Starbucks to get through a chunk of driving.  The workout was good  because it actually meant I could think about what was in the fridge and what I could cobble together.  I had managed to make my basic hummus recipe the night before, because I can make it in my sleep at this point 

Hummus for trip

I actually made almost triple the amount in the picture, but this was the better picture of it I got.

Because of the crazy work schedule, I had not managed to eat down all the produce in the fridge as much as I would normally by a Friday  morning. My husband’s work week had been similarly hectic.  On Friday morning, upon coming home from the gym, I realized I had half a bunch of kale, a bunch of parsley, a couple of collard leaves, some spinach, green garlic, and also leftover grilled asparagus.  I also had an avocado and a green pepper, but those were easy enough – I packed the avocado and a lemon to use in a salad over the weekend, and I sliced the green pepper for snacking (you can see it above with the hummus). 

Post-gym, I put a cup of quinoa to steam in the rice cooker (because you know how much I heart the rice cooker), took a quick shower and then broke out the Vita.  I made a quick pesto of green garlic, grilled asparagus, parsley, with cashew butter and olive oil in the Vita – I wanted a super smooth texture rather than the chunky pesto I can make in the food processor because I figured smooth texture would make the quinoa less likely to get dry.  After tasting the pesto, I added lemon juice, a couple of handfuls of spinach and a smidge of chickpea miso, and presto had a delicious pesto.  As soon as the quinoa was ready, I mixed it with the pesto and had about 3 generous portions to take with me for the trip:

Quinoa with pesto

The picture shows about one portion.  I had never thought asparagus could work in pesto, but with cashew butter, it was lovely.  And because quinoa is a complete protein, this was a nice alternative to the lentil dishes I had wanted to cook up and freeze and bring with me.  No recipe on the pesto because I was at the frantically-cooking-and-just-throwing-things-together point, but roughly it was a small bunch of parsley, a cup of packed baby spinach, 1/2 cup of grilled asparagus, a couple long stalks of green garlic, a splash of extra virgin olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup, but likely less), a heaping tablespoon of Artisana Cashew Butter (so really two tablespoons, and by the way, this is like the best cashew butter even, only superseded by grind-your-own cashew butter), and maybe a half tablespoon of chickpea miso

Then I rinsed out the Vita and made the world’s most enormous batch of green smoothies.  I used bananas and chia seeds to try to keep the texture as smooth as possible for travel, and blended away until I used up all the remaining bits of kale and collards and spinach and ended up with three jars to take with me:

Green smoothies

I put ice cubes in the jars which helped keep the smoothies cool for travel in a cooler.  In addition to the three jars of smoothie, I also had about 20 oz of green smoothie remaining, so had that as lunch.  I was out of protein powder, so I am not actually sure what else I put in those smoothies.  They weren’t bad, and honestly, drinking those while on a long drive really made up for the lack of chai deliciousness.  The smoothies were a huge boost of energy. 

My husband was beyond helpful as I was whirling around the kitchen getting everything ready.  He went to Whole Foods to get me bananas and Cashew Cookie Lara bars. I picked Cashew Cookie because they are the simplest of Lara bars (just cashews and dates) and because they would not melt in a hot car the way any of the coconut based Lara bars might.I do not usually eat Lara bars on any regular basis (they are high in sugar), but I needed something easily portable.

Cashew lara

I also asked him to get me a Prana Apricot Goji bar.  I had been wanting to try Prana for a while (especially after Choosing Raw’s review of them) but since I normally eschew bars, I had not yet bought one.

Apricot Prana

Husband also helped me with breakfast prep for four days away:

Breakfast stash for travel

While I made something like 60oz of green smoothies, he measured out in each container a 1/3 cup gluten-free oats, 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 1 tablespoon raw cacao.  I brought along a jar of peanut butter (perfectly, it was only about 1/3 full so I finished it on the last day of the trip), a bunch of bananas and some almond milk. Each night of my trip (and by the way, I brought 4 containers, but did not take the picture until we got to Binghamton and had eaten the first container) I mashed about 1/2 a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter into the pre-measured oats and chia and cacao, and added about 2/3 of a cup of almond milk.  These oats meant that every morning I could enjoy a delicious bowl of this:

Travel oats

I actually got the idea for these oats a few months ago from Averie (since I was out of protein powder, I figured chia seeds and cacao would work well),  but have noticed that since then Oh She Glows’ Vegan Overnight Oats has taken the blog world by storm – this is about the same concept. I want to try the low-sugar version that Ricki just came up with as well.

Anyways, I am digressing.  I also brought along Mary’s Gone Crackers, Mary’s Sticks and Twigs (I meant to buy some curry ones, but forgot) and some brown rice tortillas to go with the hummus and also for other things (I figured it would be easy enough to make wraps with hummus and avocados that way):

For travel 

I think that is everything I brought. At the last minute I threw in a few more lemons, because I figured they were portable and a good replacement for salad dressing.

So we braved the awful traffic and made our way out of Washington.  At this point, husband and I have drives to Binghamton down to a science.  We stop at the Hunt Valley Wegmans and then again at the Wilkes Barre Wegmans.  Not only are they good stopping points in terms of the distance travelled, but it also means additional opportunities for me to pick up food intolerance friendly foods, which was particularly crucial on this trip. Oh, and my husband gets to have W-subs, which he loves. So it’s a win-win.

At the Hunt Valley Wegmans I found these GoRaw bars (I have seen them online but not at any store in Washington, DC):

Go raw bars

I had been wanting to try these bars (great nutritional stats) but they are expensive, so had put off ordering them (I figured every raw bar I did not order meant more money saved towards a dehydrator to make my own raw bars).  Still, we were on vacation, so it was a nice splurge. 

Speaking of splurges, I was shocked to see Le Creuset now at Wegmans. Though Whole Foods in New York did have Le Creuset too come to think of it.

Le creuset at Wegmans 

At the second Wegman’s stop, I found this Cashew Prana Bar and picked it up. By then I had figured out this would be a bar-heavy weekend based on our schedule:


It took us close to 8 hours to get to Binghamton because of the traffic. I ended up having all the green smoothies, some hummus, the Apricot Goji Prana bar (which was delicious) and not much else.  When we got to Binghamton I had the one avocado with some lemon juice and a bit of the quinoa.  Overall, despite the chaos leading up to the trip, I was pretty happy with how much food I had packed.

I would love to hear tips on how you deal with travel and food intolerances, or just eating healthfully in general.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren June 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm

This is the most impressive thing I've seen in quite some time! I struggle with eating healthfully (and finding vegetarian-mostly vegan-vegetable heavy-no fried or dairy-type things) while traveling. Usually I end up spending half of a trip feeling terrible.


2 Olivia June 19, 2010 at 2:36 am

What an awesome post, Valerie. You know I always appreciate seeing how other prep for food away from home. I still have yet to try the overnight oats, but might have to give it a shot on my next trip–it looks so convenient!


3 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) June 20, 2010 at 4:02 am

Girl you have it easy…I have a 3 year old's bathroom breaks to contend with on road trips! I haul a pink princess potty with me! haha!

the bars..Go Raw in banana. Omg i used to buy that for skylar to teethe on when she was about 9-12 mos old. Wow. Memories. Bananas are harmless and so are seeds, didnt want nut based.

Anyway the prana and the go raw are great, but very pricey.

Dehyd. You will enjoy it but just be warned: VERY LOUD!!! White noise x10. That is the singular reason i dont dehyd much. Runing that sound for 18-24 hrs makes me antsy!

Rice cooker and Garmin/Polar info..thank you!

OSG overnight…yeah, I posted a very similar recipe almost a year ago on my blog :) All of a sudden it's "new". Ahem.



4 Carolyn June 27, 2010 at 3:35 am

You are a ROCKSTAR!!! Seriously, I am beyond impressed, and your food looks so tasty! I can't wait to chat more about all this in person when I see you in JUly!!


5 Farty Girl June 30, 2010 at 4:31 am

Prana Bars are great – they are less sugar than Laras, right? Those Go Raw foods are excellent as well. My fave are the pizza crackers. The best low sugar snacks. :)

Lately, I've been traveling A LOT. The guy I'm seeing lives an hour away. So every weekend, I pack up for going away. I've been making 1 jar of hummus or nut cheese, then bringing bags of carrots, zukes, shrooms, broc, and caulis – anything that I can dip for snacks. That's helped keep my sugar down.

For brekkie, since I wake early and eat lots of small meals, I munch on a Larabar. It's all I've needed recently. Probably cos of the summer.

Dinner is usually a joint effort with friends.

My favorite travel snack is chia puddin. Chia in a jar. All you need is some water or rice milk, and stevia – there goes the perfect, sugar free snack.


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