Heading out on the road this summer? It’s not just your car that needs to be brimmed with fuel. Here we look at all things food as the British road-trip season cranks into gear.
Fast food… the good, bad and the greasy
Embarking on an 8-hour jaunt to your Cornish campsite without a feeding plan could result in an violent backseat backlash before you’ve breached the M25. Here’s our instant guide to the best and the rest of fast food outlets available…
About: With more than 1,200 ‘restaurants’ in the UK, there’s always a McDonalds restaurant ready to pounce on hungry travellers. Unless you’re travelling through Rutland… it’s the only county in England that doesn’t have a Maccy Ds. Elsewhere, though, more than 550 if the restaurants offer 24-hour opening.
Meal to avoid: Big Tasty with Bacon. This bad boy contains 869 calories and 20g of fat – that’s 102% of an adult’s daily recommended intake.
Go for this instead: If you’re craving a burger, the Cheese Quarterpounder returns less horrific calorific value at 518 cals and 13g of saturated fat.
Kids menu: The mighty Happy Meal is cheap, comes with a gift and is unlikely to destroy the rear seat.
Menu: A varied menu covering everything from hamburgers to salads and plenty besides. Click below to see the full offering along with nutritional figures.
Click here for the McDonalds menu
Added extras: All restaurants have free Wi-Fi. Get more details here
Road trip car damage rating: Most Maccy D foods are relatively ‘dry’ and not overly greasy, so damage to upholstery will be limited. Brown takeaway bags are great for collecting the debris after an epic in-car picnic.
McDonalds on your sat-nav: Did you know you can download a McDonalds finder to your sat-nav? Simply hit a button and head straight to your nearest outlet. Download it here
Restaurant finder: Click here to find your closest McDonalds
We know you’re there, Colonel
About: Having dropped the Kentucky Fried Chicken moniker – deciding it was a ‘bit of a mouthful’ – KFC has become the outlet’s official name. We’re not sure what the Colonel would have said, but he died in in 1980. The chain has around 900 stores in the UK, meaning you’ll never be too far from deep-fried chicken wrapped in its secret coating of 11 herbs and spices.
Meal to avoid: Mighty Bucket for One. This tub of chub is packing 1270 calories and 55% of your RDI of saturated fats.
Go for this instead: The Fillet Tower Burger will put a big dent in your hunger with waistline abuse limited to just 620 calories and 5g (37%) of saturated fat.
Kids menu: Yep! KFC offers a special range of burgers and nuggets etc that are perfect for kids. Most come with corn on the cob for that hint of healthy eating… if you ignore the gallon of butter it’s covered in.
Menu: In a world full of surprises, the fact that KFC’s menu comes packed with chicken-based products probably isn’t among them. However, the fast food outlet is extremely creative at pulling multiple foods from just about every part of the bird, so variety isn’t an issue… from burgers to wraps and plain old chicken on the bone, there’s something for all. Check it out here
Added extras: Download the Colonel’s Club app and bag yourself free food. Find out more here.
Road trip car damage rating: It might be tasty and succulent, but it’s also dripping in grease and will result in plenty of collateral damage as the plethora of side dishes mysteriously slip from child’s hand to pile of slop on in-car upholstery. The neat little hand wipes are cute but – let’s be honest – too little too late.
Restaurant finder: Find your closest KFC house of chicken here
Who doesn’t love a Whopper?
About: With more than 11million global customers chomping its burgers on a daily basis, Burger King has been filling the gastral void since 1954. Although not as prolific as McDonalds, BK outlets can be found in cities, locally and motorway service stations across the UK.
Meal to avoid: If your heart could speak, we expect it might be making a loud and impassioned plea for you to do it a rather large favour by stepping away from the Bacon Double Cheeseburger XL as you peruse the BK menu. Not surprising, when you consider its 889 calories and 24.4g of saturated fat that’s considerably more than 100% of your recommended daily intake.
Go for this instead: The Sweet Chilli Chicken Royale offers 510 calories and just 3.5g of saturated fat.
Kids menu: Yes – with similar offerings to the McDonalds Happy Meal – burgers and nuggets – but without the toy.
Menu: Burgers, chicken, wraps; BK’s menu is wide and varied. Find the full range of what’s on offer right here
Added extras: Did you know that Burger King offers a home delivery service in some areas? Feeling lazy and can’t be bothered to get in your car? See if the burger giant can saddle up its moped and bring you some scran by clicking here
Road trip car damage rating: Burger King products tend to come with a wet salad and plenty of dressing, so there’s an uprated chance of in-car mess. However, the packing is useful for rubbish collection.
3.5/5 AMBER ALERT
Restaurant finder: Click here to find your closest Burger King online
This sub is about to go down
About: Looking for an alternative to chips and burgers? With more than 2,000 stores scattered around the UK, Subway makes the perfect solution for hungry motorists.
Meal to avoid: If you want to swerve a big hit of calories, it’s time ignore the Subway Mega Melt breakfast flatbread – in six-inch form, this packs 517 calories and 8.1g of saturated fat.
Go for this instead: Subway offers a whole selection of low-fat subs, with most well below 400 cals… Go for the six-inch ham offering and you’ll be consuming just 269 calories and 1.3g of saturated fat. Mine’s a 12-incher then….
Kids menu: Subway offers kids a range of four-inch subs that come with a fruity drink and snack.
Menu: If you want an alternative to greasy fast food, Subway will have the answer. Find the full menu here
Added extras: Subway is very proud of its eco-friendly credentials. See what it’s been getting up to here…
Road trip car damage rating: Throw a Subway meal to the hungry wolves inhabiting the backseat and expect plenty of expertly removed salad secreted down the side of seats. Luckily, most of this is easily cleaned and won’t cause long-lasting lard stains.
Restaurant finder: Click here to find your nearest Subway store
Don’t eat and drive
Thinking about pulling over, grabbing a burger then saving time by eating it while driving? Don’t… it’s more dangerous than using your phone or being over the alcohol limit, according to researchers at the University of Leeds.
Measuring reaction times, it was found snacking motorists had reaction times increased by up to 44% – compared with 37.4% for drivers who used their phones to send text messages.
If cops think eating means you’re not in control of your vehicle, it’s possible for them to slap you with a charge of careless driving – or worse if the impromptu chow down causes an accident.
The research, for car insurer esure, revealed two million drivers have had an accident or near miss after driving with one hand on the wheel.
Motorway service station or local garage?
We all know the argument about higher rents and costs, but that’s not our problem. Here’s how much you can save by swerving the service station, taking the exit and heading for an A-Road garage… and we’ve not even mentioned the cost of petrol.
Now take that exit…
Can’t face another over-priced, taste-free meal in a motorway service station? Here’s a collection of great alternative restaurants just a few miles from motorway junctions. Escape the UK’s clogged arteries and do yours a favour at the same time…
Coffee break… where do you get yours?
Where do you get yours?
We all need an occasional boost when behind the wheel and there’s nothing better to deliver a shot of get-up-and-go than a cup of steaming coffee. Tell us which outlet gets your vote…
Tarmac to table… Squirrel with red wine and juniper
Make the most of what nature has to offer
No one likes to see animals injured or killed on the roads, but for some it’s a natural way to eat by collecting roadkill and cooking it up into a filling meal. Click below, if you’re not too squeamish, to see how to prepare squirrel in red wine and juniper.
Roadkill squirrel recipe: Contains scenes of squirrel being prepared for cooking
Drive-thru for a whole lot more
Drive in for everything from cash machines to funerals
It’s not just clogged arteries you can get from using a drive-thru… these are a few more exercise-free services you can get from your driving seat.
Alcohol: Providing you don’t try before you buy, this service makes sense for anyone who’s dropped a crate of bottled beer while struggling across the supermarket car park. Common in Australia and the US, Enniskillen in Northern Ireland can also boast ownership of such an off-license.
Voting: Perhaps this is the future of how to tease an apathetic electorate into the polling booths without having to get off its butt! Several states in the US have already tried it.
Funeral viewing: Taking laziness to extremes, a funeral home in California is offering a drive-thru body viewing service. It’s dead popular, too, with other firms taking up the idea across the country.
Medical treatment: Stanford Hospital in California created a drive-thru service for patients who it considered to be contagious. Sounds like a sensible plan that has plenty of mileage.
Marriage and divorce: Finding yourself getting on extremely well with that hitchhiker? Simply head to Vegas and its drive-thru wedding chapels… when it all goes wrong by the end of the block, simply set the sat-nav for Connecticut where one law firm operates a drive-thru service for its punters.
ATMS: Walking the few feet from car to cash machine can be such a chore, which is why several drive-thru cash machines have popped up in the UK. Spend while you can, this sort of lifestyle is heading somewhere that money really can’t help.