About the Author, Meghan Miller: “Hi! My name is Meghan and about two years ago I left two well-paying jobs (research technician and fine dining restaurant worker) to travel in a teardrop camper I built. I was burnt out in life and lost myself along the way, so I decided I needed a change and did something about it. Now I set my own schedule and live every day for myself; exploring the world via hiking.” You can find her on Instagram @meghanmiller6616, or at her blog.
Ever dream of hiking in a new place every day for over 18 months? That is exactly what I did! On September 8, 2018 I completed a freaking epic solo road trip where I hiked and explored in each of the lower 48 states. I put on over 500 miles of hiking through some of the most beautiful terrain the USA has to offer and over 25,000 miles on my teardrop camper. Throughout the 18 months of living on the road I learned how to manage one’s time, money and nutrition to make the most of my explorations. The thing that helped me meet every single one of these needs is meal prepping.
Meal prepping has allowed me to save money, create more time to hike and provide the proper nutrition I need to fuel my body on long hikes. Before I started down the path of prepping my meals, I was all about trying to save money which had me cutting costs when it came to food. It didn’t take me long until I started to feel tired all the time and lacked the energy needed for my hikes all due to me not fueling my body with the proper nutrition and skipping meals. When I was approached with an opportunity to improve my health while making money on the road I latched on to the idea. The results have been phenomenal!
Prepping my meals and having them close by has allowed me to save hundreds of dollars throughout my trip. Instead of buying a little something here and a little something there that will add up over time I am purchasing things in bulk and going to the store less frequently. Having food already pre-made near me decreases the number of times I hit up a fast food joint for my excuse of, “it’s quicker than cooking” no longer works. It has also saved me money for I am eating a lot more than I was before and the foods I am consuming are filling so that I don’t feel hungry and therefore have the need to buy snacks.
Spending an hour or so on Sunday to meal prep saves me time during the week to do all the hiking and sightseeing that I want. I don’t have to worry about getting off of a long, strenuous hike and go through the work of making dinner for it is already cooked. So, every Sunday, I take time to meal prep which entails making large batches of chicken, vegetables, oatmeal and whatever else I choose to make. I would like to point out that I am cooking all of my meals on a Coleman two burner portable stove. I don’t have some fancy kitchen setup and I do not have running water, but I am still able to make it happen. Once everything is cooked, I then separate it all into containers for each day of the week. I like to make hard boiled eggs to snack on for protein so those go in one container, I make a big batch of oatmeal that also gets put in one container, and then my dinner and lunches are usually pre-portioned out in different containers. Spending some time doing this on Sunday makes it so that during the week when I am on the go all I have to do is go to my YETI cooler and grab a container. Everything I need for a balanced meal is in that container and when I finish it, I put it in my sink to wash later.
There are so many health benefits to meal prepping that is hard to know where to begin! For starters, it has me eating more food than I have ever ate before and the results are hard to believe. I now have boat loads of energy for my hikes, I went down a pant size while toning up and gaining muscle all at the same time, and I just feel great. What I really like about it is that I don’t feel like I am on a “diet” or sacrificing anything for that is not what meal prepping is about. I am fueling my body with the proper foods and due to that my endurance has increased. Don’t get me wrong, I am not some crazy health nut, I love to have a greasy burger, fries and beer. I love food and meal prepping is not about sacrificing it is all about balance. Pig out on crap food every once in a while, (I do!) but as long as you get back to eating healthy your body will thank you for it. You will be surprised at how your body responds once you provide it with the proper fuel; which is important if you want to hit up those long hikes and not feel like you are dragging.