Fast Food from the Grocery Store

I rarely enjoy fast food.  Sure, it is fast, but it doesn't usually taste that good and it is often super-expensive.  Just the other day, I picked up some breakfast at McDonalds while traveling.  Even without buying drinks, and only having one adult and three children, I still spent nearly $20.  And people were still hungry afterwards.

Later in the day, we were able to stop and make a quick run through a grocery store to pick up lunch.  What a difference!  We were able to choose fresh fruits and veggies, healthy drinks, and better snacks for just about the same price.  We all ate a lot and had leftovers for later in the day.

I still struggle with ideas for road food, but we've found the following things work well.  Granted, they aren't always the cheapest choices in the grocery store, but they are so much better than the drive-thru.

  • apple slices (add caramel dip if you want to splurge)
  • carrot sticks and dip or even get a small veggie tray
  • drinkable yogurt (less messy than regular yogurt)
  • deli meats and cheeses on rolls or bread
  • small cheese (string cheese, BabyBel or individual squares
  • granola bars, cereal bars and oatmeal bars
  • clementines or oranges
  • nuts, especially in the little packages


Sure, this is going to cost more than the Dollar Menu, but it is tastier, healthier, and you won't be hungry again in an hour.  What foods do you like to eat on the road?

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Like you, I can’t do very many fast food stops while traveling. I find fast food tastes ok the first time, is a poor use of my $, and I feel terrible (physically)after more than one meal. We’ve become a fan of the salad bars available at the grocery stores. Makes for an easy on-the-road picnic lunch.

  • sarah

    Shopping from the grocery choices can offer cheese, crackers, and either deli or canned meats, peanut butter along with fruit and/or salads and you have a very balanced meal. Much more choices and the meat is still more nutritous than the fast food meat in a burger! Don’t forget to drink milk or buttermilk. .