Touring with a band is a great experience, but it can be costly if you don’t plan well. Many bands waste a lot of money on things like hotel rooms, gas, and the big one, food. Your food bills will stack up quickly if you eat at fast food places, and you’ll get really fat, too. The fans don’t want to see that. To keep your budget and your waistline in check, it pays to plan out all of your meals.
This may seem like a very un-rock-star thing to do, but if you’re serious about promoting your music and staying on the road, it’s a necessary skill. Here are a few meal planning tips that bands should keep in mind before touring.
Use Sound Diet Advice . On my band’s first tour, we packed a bunch of peanut butter and jelly, which would have been great if we didn’t need anything other than carbohydrates, fats, and sugar. Puppies need a lot of these nutrients, but we were not puppies. We still are not, but we just didn’t think about a balanced diet. We figured that if our mothers gave us PB&J, that must be pretty good for you, right?
Advance planning is crucial. If you’ve never planned your diet before, there are tools online that can help. CalorieCount from About.com is my favorite, as you can log all of your foods into it to see a caloric breakdown of what nutrients you’re getting and what you need to double down on (no, that doesn’t mean that you can get a DoubleDown. Nothing gives you that right). You need a mix of proteins, carbs, and fats to stay healthy. Online tools can help you to figure that out in advance.
Watch Your Sodium Intake. Sodium is every touring band’s enemy, along with the police and vandals, because it can make you feel waterlogged and bloated. That can mean a bad performance. It’s also generally bad for you in large quantities, and processed foods tend to have a lot of sodium. Try to stay under 2500mg a day or so. You can have a bit more if you’re sweating a ton on stage, but only if you drink a lot of water, too. You’ll quickly learn to avoid fast food burgers and pizza, because they’re stacked with sodium. If you’re not careful, you can go over 2500mg in a single meal by eating fast food, so, uh, don’t do that.
Fresh Food Is Good Food. I’m not a vegetarian, but I love fresh food and vegetables and I rarely eat meat on the road. That’s because vegetables tend to give you more energy, they’re low in sodium, and they’re available pretty much everywhere-every town I’ve ever been in has a decent supermarket lurking around.
You can make meal plans for your band and rely on local produce to get you through the road munchies. Remember, nobody tours perfectly, and you’re bound to have one or two situations where you grab a double cheeseburger at a weak moment, but use the tools you have and track what you eat. You’ll be thankful that you did when you get home without a gut.
Have any other tips for planning band meals on a tour? Post in our comments section below.