Foods I Ate In A Day On A Road Trip Through New Zealand
“On the road again. Goin’ places that I’ve never been. Seein’ things that I may never see again. And I can’t wait to get on the road again” Willie Nelson
When it comes to eating healthy on a road trip through New Zealand, the struggle is real. Most people look for food that’s quick and convenient when traveling. There is typically neither time or patience on your side. You have to make do with the options available in the time and space you’re given. Unfortunately, New Zealand doesn’t cater to healthy fast food though gluten-free has come to even the smallest town.
Breakfast. Breakfast is usually included in many hotels outside of the United States and often served buffet style. Ours ranged from light to full breakfast. I tried to fill up at breakfast eating scrambled eggs (often greasy and not that warm), yogurt (some flavor in a container), fruit, coffee, tomatoes and avocado if available. I would take apples or bananas if I saw them for the road.
Morning Stop New Zealand makes great coffee so there was always an interesting coffee shop wherever we stopped. Sometimes the coffee was more interesting than other times.
If I was already car sick, I would have a donut or scone. New Zealand food is very influenced by the UK. Carbs, diet coke and sweet hard candy help me with carsickness.
I drink a lot of water and I am happy to say that I saved money because New Zealand has the best tap water. I just refilled my bottle where ever we stopped.
Snacks There is something about being on a road trip that makes you want to eat the kinds of foods that you would never eat at home. Orange cheese chips (called Twisties), Burger Rings (chips that taste like a burger?) and unidentified dried meat in a package look appealing – especially when you are in another country with different snacks.
I bought almonds, walnuts and kiwi fruit. I bring vitamin C bars, gum, hard candy and Jelly Bellys from home.
Lunch We always stopped somewhere that had shopping or photo ops so I wanted to eat fast and not spend the time sitting. Every roadside restaurant serves quiche and mince and cheese pies. Pies are a staple of the New Zealand diet and everyone is eating them.
Pre made sandwiches seemed to be the healthiest quick option most of the time. Ham and cheese on white bread with lots of butter – sometimes toasted was my usual lunch. One day somewhere on South Island, I went to a bakery that had sandwiches. I saw a loaf of wheat bread. I asked for ham and cheese on wheat bread without butter. They said that they only made the ham and cheese on white bread. It was my Jack Nicholson Five Easy Pieces moment.
“You have wheat bread. You have ham and you have cheese.”
“Yes, but we only make the sandwiches on white”, said the girl behind the counter.
“Well, I’d like a loaf of wheat bread – throw it away except for two pieces and I will have the ham and cheese on wheat, hold the butter.”
She said that she would speak to her manager. She did not look happy but returned with my request and only charged me for the sandwich – best sandwich of the road.
Afternoon stop. I was usually sleeping after my sandwich and needed a good New Zealand coffee and something sweet. Hopefully, it would be a banana. Sometimes it was chocolate covered kiwi fruit, Pineapple Lumps( chocolate covered pineapple marshmallowy thing), chocolate covered marshmallow fish, Jaffa (chocolate covered in red hard candy), ice cream or yogurt blended with fruit, pie or Anzac biscuits (oatmeal biscuits from WWll).
Dinner On long driving days, dinner was tricky. I wasn’t always hungry. Sometimes I would have a proper New Zealand dinner. I loved those green lipped mussels and fresh salmon -or a Maori Hangi – (could be chicken fish, pork, lamb potato, cabbage and root vegetable such as kumara) cooked in the steam in the ground.
Other times dinners were Egg McMuffin, wine and cheese, protein bars, fruit and yogurt, Fergburger or pizza.
The thing about a road trip is that the same exact eating starts all over the next day.