February 24, 2020

Healthy Gas Station Snack Challenge

The open road can be such a happy, freeing thing. There’s nothing like a good road trip, but touring really has a way of stretching your patience and putting a damper on good sleep and nutrition.

Finding good food once we’ve reached our destination is pretty easy. A lot of larger cities these days have a variety of restaurants that offer fresh, nutrient packed menu items. It’s in between the cities that becomes the challenge. Hours, sometimes days go by with nothing but the middle of nowhere whirling past the window. The only sign of life and relief are the occasional gas stations.

The band decided to pack as lightly as possible for this tour, so I skipped the grocery shopping trip before we left, where I would usually stock up on as much healthy, non perishable snacks as possible. I decided to use this tour as an opportunity to see how many healthy choices could be made in a gas station. Sounds pretty crazy, right? When I think about gas stations the first things that come to mind is JUNK FOOD.

The first gas station I picked to try this little challenge was a truck stop on a long stretch of New Mexico highway. I was at a little bit of an advantage because truck stop gas stations have a little more variety to choose from than the smaller ones. It was pretty close to lunch so I decided to go as big as possible while I had the opportunity.

The first thing I noticed as I walked in was a fruit stand. These have popped up in even the smallest gas stations in the last few years. I grabbed a banana and an apple, a pack of unsalted sunflower seeds and a bottle of water. At the front they had a large refridgerated stand with pre-made salads. I grabbed a basic Caesar so I could use the romaine.

Once we were back on the road I opened the salad and tossed the croutons packet aside. I sprinkled the sunflower seeds over the romaine and added a small amount of the parmesean and about a teaspoon of the Caesar dressing and shook it in the container. It wasn’t the most healthy thing but it was a great alternative to chips and candy bars. I ate my apple along with the salad and felt pretty satisfied.

We stopped again at a smaller gas station right outside of Oregon and I got another bottle of water and a pack of shelled pistachios and a tiny jar of peanut butter to go with the banana I got earlier. Something about pistachios and banana together is magic, trust me. Add in the occasional dip of peanut butter and it was one of the most delicious snacks I’ve ever had.

We finally arrived in Portland, Oregon where we would be playing that night for a special event at the Punch Bowl Social. This place has a bar, air hockey, bowling, karaoke, ski ball and just about everything.

A couple of hours before the show we headed to a restaurant called Canteen on Stark street. They had a ton of healthy options but I wanted to wait until after the show to eat a little heavier so I wouldn’t get bogged down for the show, so I opted for their variety of amazing juices. I decided on the Hawthorn, which is apple, carrot, parsley, lemon and ginger. It was fresh and light, but gave me so much energy I couldn’t wait to get the show started.