What We Eat

Eating Dinner on the Alaskan Tundra

What do you eat? people ask me all the time.

As though they expect us to survive on dead bugs and roadkill

For those of you considering doing a bike tour, Ill try to explain here what we eat in the hopes that it might give you some ideas to start out with. Each country we pass through has different types of food available and we eat differently depending on where we are so Ill direct this to what we ate in the USA, since thats where most of you will most likely tour.

In the USA, the supermarkets were our best friends. We bought about 90% of our food there, and rarely ate at restaurants due to the outrageous cost of four people eating at even modestly-priced cafes. We carry a stove with us, and cooked on a very regular basis.

A trip to the supermarket usually resulted in the purchase of:

  • Apples or other fruit in season. Apples travel well, but bananas, blueberries, strawberries and such will needto be consumed right away. Oranges are great, but you get sticky peeling them and if water is in short supply beware!
  • Broccoli - we ate it raw during break time with dip
  • Baby carrots these travel really well and will keep a couple days even when its really hot.
  • Granola bars - we rotated through all the various types
  • Pasta - if we had to carry a lot of food through a remote area, I got spaghetti very space efficient
  • Parmesan cheese - my kids will happily eat pasta with just parmesan, so I only got sauce if we could cook right there near the store in order to notcarry the heavy sauce
  • Rice-a-Roni lots of different kinds and they are quick and easy to cook
  • Dried mashed potatoes we eat these with canned ham or other canned meat
  • Nuts if the store had a bulk section, I stocked up on a variety of nuts
  • Dried fruit same as above bulk sections are great for dried fruit!
  • Oatmeal we like oatmeal for breakfast when its cold out
  • Yogurt we had to eat that for our first snack since its hard to carry
  • Cheese had to eat fast when its hot, but when cold out we could carry it for days
  • Crackers I always tried to get the whole grain varieties
  Eating Dinner in the Wyoming desert

If we were lucky enough to be camped near a grocery store, my purchases were quite different! Then I might buy meat of some kind, a variety of salad stuff, and fresh orange juice. Being able to buy the fresh, heavier items and cooking right there was a real treat!

One of the things we found lacking was fresh greens, and there were times when we were really craving salads. The best way to deal with that was to buy a couple bags of spinach, a jar of salad dressing, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, croutons, grated cheese, and maybe some ham from the deli. Then we headed to a park for a feast!

What we avoided:

  • We rarely very rarely bought junk food. Our bodies needed the nutrition of good food
  • Eggs are hard to carry, but its manageable if you boil them.
  • Gatorade we just drank water most of the time. Putting sugary stuff in your water bottles leads to a lot of gunk growing in them.
  • Power bars and such not worth the cost. Just eat granola bars instead.

In short you can live quite well shopping at the local neighborhood supermarkets in the USA. Depending on where you are touring, you will most likely pass a supermarket every day every other day at least and can pick up everything you need then. Make sure you leave space in your panniers for a bit of food and youre good to go!