Eating on the road

Pilot Travel Center and truck stop along the interstate.
Chattanooga, Tennessee-June 19, 2016: Pilot Travel Center and truck stop along the interstate. Pilot and Flying J truck stops are owned by the same company.

Eating on the road can be a real challenge, for both your physical and financial health. Truck stop food these days is mostly limited to deli food, like hot dogs, burritos, pizza and fried chicken, or fast food franchises. The few truck stops that still offer sit down restaurants have become so expensive, that’s it’s almost impossible to get 3 meals a day for under $75!  Almost every truck these days has an APU that provides heat and air conditioning. Another benefit is 120V AC power to run some small appliances, including a small refrigerator, so why not take advantage of this?  Investing in a few small appliances can save you an astounding amount of money on the road. Consider a simple cup of coffee in the morning to start your day. The average price of a coffee is about $1.50. Over the course of a month, a single coffee a day will cost you about $30.  That’s $360 a year. A small 4 cup coffee maker runs about $29, and a pound of coffee at about $5.00 will last you 2 or 3 months, saving you $55.00 over the first 3 months, then about $30 a month there after.  Plus the added benefit of the lovely aroma of fresh brewed coffee as you’re waking up. The same benefits apply if you’re a tea drinker. A small kettle and tea bags offer similar savings. 

For food, there are quite a few options. With a microwave, you can make meals ahead at home, and fill your fridge in the truck, and reheat and eat at your leisure. 

If you prefer to cook fresh, there are very few limitations. A small electric countertop stove, a toaster oven, small grill, egg cooker, air fryer, almost anything you want. You just need to be careful what foods you bring if you cross the border. Fresh or frozen poultry, including eggs, citrus fruits and fresh vegetables are not allowed from Canada to the US, and vice versa. Cooked or processed vegetables and meats are generally allowed, but be sure to declare them if asked by customs.