Can you list some tips to eating a healthier diet on tour?

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Answered by: James, An Expert in the Be a Musician Category
Eating a healthy diet on tour when you're stuck in the back of a tour van for months, a slave to flab-inducing highway-side fare, is nearly impossible. Inevitably the band is probably running behind or racing the clock to make a load-in or sound check, so there's just not time to exit the highway and treat yourselves to a decent meal. If you're younger, you can get away with a fast food diet on tour without too many repercussions. Once you become an aging road dog like myself, you have to start watching your girlish figure on the road - those cheeseburgers start catching up with you! Thankfully, in the internet and Smart Phone age, there is no reason to eat poorly when you're traveling between shows. I know a band that maps out all of the Panera Bread restaurants in advance of their departure. While Panera isn't exactly the Four Seasons, it provides some healthier alternatives to the Big Mac and other greasier road fare. For myself, since procuring my Smart Phone I have discovered that bad road food is truly a thing of the past. Using a handy app called "Places," my phone will instantly provide a list of local restaurants based on my GPS location, replete with their ratings from the popular review website, Yelp. On a short summer tour of the Midwest, this was our salvation when we were traveling outside of Omaha, Nebraska. While my dubious Luddite bandmates looked on, my Smart Phone led us to a lovely Pho restaurant, with healthy, delicious eating choices and fast, friendly service. You don't have to have a Smart Phone to eat well on tour, however. Armed with an internet connection and the Yelp website, you can research the areas through which you'll be traveling ahead of time. With a little advance reconnaissance, your diet on tour doesn't have to be restricted to greasy food you will sweat out over the course of your shows. Simply log on to Yelp (an account is free) and type in any neighborhood or city - the neighborhood search functionality is particularly useful, I've found - and do a search on "restaurants." Usually you will be able to find a highly-rated establishment that isn't limited to burgers and fries, unless you're driving through the Salt Flats or the Mojave desert. Even then, you might be surprised! A final option for a better diet on tour is to prepare the food yourself and bring it in a cooler. This is less desirable, usually, as space in the tour van is limited and requires more prep work, obviously. I went on an East Coast tour years ago where the drummer had very specific dietary restrictions. He packed a cooler and would restock it as we traveled. This is by far the healthiest way to ensure a great diet on tour, if you have the space in your vehicle. For most bands, however, with a little forethought and some routing in advance, you can eat well while you conquer the world with your music. Diet on tour may seem like a trivial concern but as your career extends farther and farther behind you, a healthy diet on the road will make all the difference in your constitution, your attitude and your playing!



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