When you’re on the road for days at a time, trying to figure out what to eat can be a real hassle. Eating out for every meal is expensive, but cooking in your truck can be time-consuming and frustrating. We’re here to show you that with some careful preparation beforehand, you can be Mastercheffing it up from the comfort of your own cab in no time.
Planning out your meals and purchasing ingredients that can be used in multiple simple dishes (and don’t spoil quickly) will provide you with endless possibilities for healthy, delicious, and cost-effective meals without ever leaving your truck! While cooking on the road may require a bit of foresight, it comes with a few benefits that are hard to beat.
It’s much easier to keep track of what’s in your meals when you’re buying the ingredients, and skipping the fast food will have you feeling much better on your drives.
While a burger here and there may not seem like a ton of cash, it adds up quick, especially if you’re eating out for every meal. One well-thought-out grocery store trip can feed you for a week and may cost the price of only three or four meals at a truck stop restaurant.
Now that we’re on the same page, here are some of our tips for cooking delicious meals on wheels!
1. Invest in the Right Equipment
There are countless cooking products and appliances on the marketplace, but it’s important to be strategic upfront so that you can get the most bang for your buck. Some appliances may be too big, require too much energy, or are just straight-up inconvenient. Choosing items with multiple uses ensures that you can make a variety of different meals without needing a whole Food Network kitchen’s worth of gear. Here are some ideas:
Less of a recommendation and more of an essential – Having someplace to keep your food cold is a huge asset for storing pre-prepped meals, leftovers, fruits and veggies, etc.
The epitome of convenience – Simply throw a bunch of ingredients in there before hitting the road for the day, forget about it, and by the time you’re ready for dinner, you’ve got something delicious waiting for you. Perfect for stews, chili, rice dishes, you name it!
A versatile travel appliance, a portable burner can be used to cook virtually anything. Saute, fry, or boil with just a pot or pan and with minimal cleanup involved.
2. Pick the Right Produce
When it comes to produce, you want to choose items that won’t go bad in a couple of days. For example, apples and carrots have a much longer shelf life than mushrooms or lettuce, and frozen fruits and vegetables can be perfect for smoothies, stir-frying, crockpot meals, etc.
While this does limit your meal options a bit, it’s just more cost-effective to go with ingredients that will last. This probably isn’t the time for avocado toast!
3. Stay Ahead of the Curve
A great way to save time and avoid frustration on the road is to meal prep before your long haul. At home, you have access to all of your appliances and regular kitchen utensils, and you’ll thank yourself for doing some of the heavy lifting here before you leave.
Even simply pre-cutting fruits and veggies or marinating proteins can be major time savers.
4. Have a Backup Plan
Stashing some healthy, ready-to-eat options in your cooler or minifridge for when you’re feeling lazy or in a rush is a great way to avoid those, “Well, I guess I gotta eat out now”, scenarios. Pre-made salads and sandwiches are perfect for quick and easy lunches, and if the fridge is full, there are plenty of other low-effort options like instant soups, noodles, or oatmeal that you can stow anywhere in your cab.
If all else fails, pack a couple of protein bars!
5. Safety First
Maintaining a clean space before, during, and after cooking is essential not just for your own comfort within the cab, but for your safety. This is especially important if you’re cooking with raw meat… A case of food poisoning would surely set you back a day or two, and your client would not be a happy camper.
Thoroughly wash your dishes after eating and make sure to wipe down or sanitize any surfaces that may have gotten dirty or had raw food on them. Additionally, keeping your cab properly ventilated is a must when working with appliances like portable stoves to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning or other respiratory issues.
All in all, beyond just being a good choice for your body and your wallet, cooking on the road can be a rewarding experience that gives you total control over what you’re eating and maybe even provides you that sense of home away from home you’re looking for.
Also, be sure to register for TruckLogicsCONNECT, our upcoming transportation industry forum on November 9th. This must-watch event features four breakout rooms throughout the day, each covering an aspect of business that’s critical to your success. Learn firsthand from industry experts and take advantage of this free exclusive knowledge. Register now to reserve your spot!