So you have your trailer packed like a game of Tetris with extra tubes, strings, and sticks. You have sent your stage plot and input list to all the clubs and venues on your tour. You strategically planned your route to consume a minimal amount of gas. You brought enough Febreze (a.k.a. shower in a bottle), to deodorize even the smelliest of roadies. You have a few extra bucks to handle the flat tire, detour, bar tabs, and occasional motel stay on your epic rock & roll adventure.
More often then not, your band did not factor in the food situation into the equation. You can only live on budget priced fast food for so long before you become sluggish, tired, sore, and even loopy. Unless you are filling arenas, you are most likely moving most of your own equipment, performing on hot stages while head banging and karate kicking, then packing up to do it all over again the next day. Since you aren’t getting paid much, you save those hard earned dollars for gas, merch, and ‘other’ shinanigans. Here are a few ideas to help you stay full, healthy, and energized to melt those faces.
BREAKFAST – First morning on tour, and you have a long drive ahead. Time is money and you need to keep the pit stops, and money spending to a minimum. You might be hungry but others might not be. I recommend breakfast bars and dried fruit to start the day and here is why. You can have a filling breakfast for less than $2.00! You can eat when you are hungry and not have to stop to get food. You should have bought these items ahead of time and factored it into your tour budget. If you were smart, you would have bought something like Kashi GOLEAN Crunch bars and dried cranberries which are high in protein and fiber to repair those torn muscles and to keep you full longer. YES FIBER!!! After a few days of having this type of breakfast, you can schedule ‘regular’ pit stops (wink wink, nudge nudge). The fruit has vitamin C in it which will be incredibly helpful when your other band members start to get sick, and your van won’t smell like fryer grease.
LUNCH – This should be one of your pit stops. This is where I recommend eating vegetables. Who would ever believe that you, a super hipster indie rock star would eat vegetables anyway?! First, they are nutrient dense and relatively low in calories. This means you can pack it in and again, stay full for longer (remember, this is lunchtime so there are still plenty of miles to lose that full feeling before your show). $3.00 6 inch subs, $4.00 fast food salads, farmers markets, truck stops…the cool thing about being in the middle of nowhere is you might actually have a little more variety in unsuspecting places. You should have at least one of your daily meals be actual food, you know, like grown from the ground.
DINNER – This can either be before or after your show, depending on your preference. Hopefully you worked out a deal with the venue for food of some kind. It is more than likely going to be tasty fried bar food, BUT you planned ahead and ate good all day, so if you can eat at the club for free, then go for it. If not, just remember it is getting late so you aren’t really going to need any more carbohydrates (plus you will be drinking you carbs anyway). You are going to want to stay away from high fiber, and filling foods because you have a crowd to please…jumping around and moving gear while full is not a good idea. Most bars will have one or two items that are half-way ok, chicken or turkey wraps, grilled chicken sandwich, something like that. If you can swap out the fries for a side salad, even better. Avoid smelly foods because your fans don’t want to talk to you with onion breath and garlic seeping from your sweaty pours.
BEDTIME SNACK – Yes, you read that correctly. You drove 400 miles, unloaded gear, performed, loaded gear, then ran around like a fool. You have burnt up more calories than you think. You have lifted weights and done a cardio workout all at the same time. Before sleeping I recommend a protein shake. Yeah yeah yeah, weightlifters and bodybuilders drink it by the gallon, but protein after a workout is an amazing way to relieve sore, stiff muscles so you can party like a rockstar tomorrow. Another bonus is you are drinking additional liquid, which will help you fight the impending hangover. This might also help you shed those unwanted pounds so you slide into your skinny jeans that much easier. You can get a ready-to-drink version for less than $2.00 each, or save even more money and buy the powder to mix yourself.
OPTIONAL – I do recommend supplementing with a multi-vitamin for the duration of your tour. We both know that you are not going to have the most variety in your diet on tour, plus the risk of sickness. These are not a cure all, but anything you can do to battle 5 smelly band members in close proximity to each other would be beneficial.
So lets recap…in one day you ate: a hearty breakfast bar, dried fruit, a bunch of vegetables in salad or sandwich form, free meal at the bar, beer (that still counts as calories), and a protein shake. You are consuming calories at 5 points throughout the day which is what ‘The Man’ says is good for you (smaller meals more frequent), you are taking a multi-vitamin, and from my rough estimate, for $8.00 to $9.00 a day (much of which has been paid for up front.) You will wake up with minimal soreness, you will regulate your pit stops, you will have food already purchased so you don’t need to worry about having money for it, and you will be cranking your amp up to 11 for the duration of the tour. If you cannot afford food for your tour, you are not ready to tour.
Do you have any other tips for the starving artist on tour???
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