How to Eat Healthy on the Road

A residential-sized fridge in an RV, holding all kinds of produce.

As nutritionists and travel enthusiasts, one question we hear a lot is some variation of, “I really want to travel and explore the US in an RV, but how do I plan healthy, nutritious meals on the road?” It’s common to believe that in order to eat well, we have to live in a house in the suburbs and have access to a local health food store every week. But Fraser and I travel a ton and maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road, so I’m here to share our top strategies for eating healthy, no matter where you go.

Eating nutrient-rich whole foods gives you a ton of extra energy you can use to go hiking, exploring and adventuring when you travel. There’s nothing like getting through a long hike and seeing a beautiful waterfall hidden away in the heart of the forest. All too often, our physical health can limit what we can do, but every meal provides an opportunity to fuel better energy and wellness.

Not to mention, whole foods help keep your brain sharp and your mood balanced, even on long drives. Eat well and you’ll be able to stay focused and keep your loved ones safe while driving or towing an RV.

Here are our best tips for eating healthy on the road.

Load up on staples in bigger cities. More populated areas often have better access to high quality, organic, whole-plant foods. When we travel, we plan to stock up at bigger grocery stores and health food stores, especially on specialty items we can’t find in more rural areas. These stops get planned into our travel itinerary as their own destinations. We always take into account how long it will be before our next stop in a bigger city so we can plan our shopping list accordingly. And when we’re in smaller towns or areas we don’t know very well, we use a great app called HappyCow that helps find vegan and vegetarian restaurants near our current location.

Frozen foods are your friend. If you are planning extensive travel where you might have 7-14 days between grocery hauls, it’s easy for fresh food to spoil. We’ve found the best way around this is prepping fresh foods and freezing them, or buying bags of frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen produce is flash-frozen at peak freshness, which makes it a perfect way to extend your stores of produce while still getting a dose of nutrients and vitamins.

Shop at farmer’s markets. What rural locations lack in specialty stores, they can more than make up for in farmer’s markets. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a farmer’s market during the growing season, make the most of it. Not only do farmer’s markets tend to have the freshest, healthiest kinds of fruits and veggies, but they also tend to carry foods you may not normally come across in a larger supermarket. Don’t be afraid to experiment with something new!

Invest in an air fryer or an Instant Pot. With RV life comes an awareness of our resources, propane being one of them. Propane is very important, especially in colder months. A great way to reduce your propane usage from a gas top cooker is to invest in an Instant Pot or an air fryer.

Instant Pots are great for busy families, because you can get out, explore and come back to a meal that’s ready to eat. We like to throw together some lentils, rice, potatoes, greens, carrots, onion and garlic in the Instant Pot and let it do its thing.

Our air fryer is incredibly fast at cooking food. It provides the amazing crispy texture of fried foods without adding oil. It does draw a bit of power when running, so just make sure you aren’t using too many other appliances when you use it.

Do some extra prep for travel days. Prepping food before a long travel day is a fundamental way to stay healthy on the road. We know how it typically goes: we pack up and leave, then stop at a gas station to fuel up. We grab some snacks from the convenience store and munch away, only to arrive at our campground feeling bloated from too much salt or too many processed foods. We’ve all done it. 

But now that we travel so frequently, we’ve found new approaches to prepping that have helped a lot. For instance: 

  • Prep small meals in glass containers 
  • Portion out nuts and seeds in baggies 
  • Have protein bars on hand, like MacroBars, Lara Bars and ProBars
  • Cut up fresh fruits ahead of time
  • Use smaller water bottles to hydrate so you don’t need to stop as often

Using the tips above helps us tremendously on the road. It’s been so freeing to know we can combine our love of health and fitness and our love of RV travel and still thrive. Sure, it may come down to a little extra awareness and preparation, but it truly pays off in the end with improved health, more energy and a happy mood––perfect for making the most of our amazing RV adventures!

The Bayley Family RVs in a 2018 Heartland Road Warrior Toy Hauler.