Road trips seem like an affordable way to travel but all the food, drinks, gas, and lodging expenses can add up, especially if the road trip is several days long. When my friend asked me to help her move back to New Jersey from Colorado I could not say "no." We had talked about doing a cross-country road trip together since we were in high school, so I hopped on a plane and four hours later I was in Denver! After a few days in Colorado, the car was packed, the playlist was created, and we were ready to hit the road. I wanted to see how well I could keep up with eating healthy without breaking the budget during this trip. 

Here is my attempt:


I landed at Denver Int'l. airport on an early Thursday morning and, after 4 hours on the plane, I was ready to eat! I had packed a couple of RXBars and saved money by not having to buy breakfast at the airport. Healthy? Check! On budget? Check! 

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For lunch, I gave Mad Greens a try and was very pleased with the Pancho Villa salad that I ordered. Mad Greens' slogan "Eat Better" holds true as the restaurant offers plenty of salad, wrap, grain bowl, and soup options. Price wise, it was comparable to a salad at Panera Bread. 

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Later that day, we picked up a pepperoni pizza from Marco's Pizza which tasted a lot like the pies from Domino's. The thick crust on the edges and the flavorful sauce made it disappear in less than 10 minutes... This may not have been the healthiest option but at least I stayed on budget! 

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I started my second day in Colorado with a delicious brunch at Snooze A.M. Eatery. This place is perfect for breakfast/brunch lovers. Pictured below is the Bela! Bela! Benny which came with a side of hash browns and arugula, and was as worth every penny! 

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The Belvita breakfast bar that I brought with me from home got crushed by all the other stuff in my backpack, so I decided to crumble it completely and put my DIY granola on top of a bowl of Greek yogurt. Even though the breakfast bar isn't as healthy as the package claims it to be, I could have done worse... 

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Before leaving Colorado, I bought an avocado and a bag of multigrain tortilla chips. This combo turned out to be an absolutely delicious, not to mention healthy, on the road snack! By the time we reached Kansas, the avocado had fully ripened and was easy to cut with a plastic knife. I think I nailed staying healthy and on budget with this one...

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This meal wasn't as healthy but it was the best and cheapest junk food I've had in a long time. The Midwest is blessed by an abundance of Steak 'N Shake locations and this Double Garlic Steakburger 'n Fries was heavenly.  

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We went out for breakfast to Rooster, in downtown St. Louis. The atmosphere of the restaurant was very pleasant, the menu was ample, and the prices were fair. I was a bit disappointed with the biscuits and gravy that I ordered because it did not taste very fresh or locally sourced like the restaurant claims their food to be. If I ever go back to St. Louis, I'd love to try something else from Rooster. 

I saw the Sunrise Energy bars at a local grocery store and, after inspecting the nutrition label, I decided to try them. These bars are so delicious and loaded with good stuff like: rolled oats, dried cranberries, lots of healthy seeds, and cashews. Add an iced latte and you've got yourself a serious energy boost. 

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After learning the DIY granola trick earlier on this trip, I made versatile use of those energy bars I mentioned earlier. The Chobani greek yogurt does have some added sugars but it's not the worst snack option... And it's inexpensive!

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Last meal of the trip was at Eat n' Park! My All American Scrambler wasn't the healthiest option but it hit the spot, the service was quick, and I stayed on budget. Oh, and I was delighted to find a free smiley face sugar cookie in that little bag!

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The 4 hour trip on the airplane took 4 days in the car but it was well worth it. I got to taste food from places we don't have in New Jersey, see the beautiful scenery change, and sing along to good songs with my good friend. I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for making a handful of creative and healthy food choices while on this trip.

If I were to do it again, I would:

1. Pack reusable cutlery and containers. 

2. Bring an insulated grocery bag.

3. Buy bottled iced beverages at the grocery store instead of paying $5 for a cup with mostly ice. 

4. Move my body with some simple, hotel-friendly workouts.

5. Eat more fruit. 

But honestly, I wouldn't go out of my way to change #3~5 because eating junk food and getting overpriced drinks is part of the fun!!