It's hard to eat healthy when your only options for dinner live under heat lamps or beside the register at service stations. Thus was the dilemma for Frank Beard. He found himself in a gas station two hours north of Ft. Worth where the only food offering other than chips was a cheeseburger with, by any reasonable reckoning, an entire rugby team's daily caloric intake. But as this was his first day of 30 in a row eating at gas stations, Beard knew he had to look a little closer. He trusted that somewhere in this palace of processed food, he could find some proper nutrition.
Beard was not your average commuter. His job -- inspecting cellphone towers across the country -- required him to be perpetually on the road, which meant he ate at gas stations four or five days a week. Kum & Gos and Kangaroos were his regular lunch haunts, a meal plan ideal only for an actor trying to pack on weight for a role as a truck driver. But Beard ain't in bad shape -- because he basically hacked the junk-food matrix.
Yes, at one time, Beard was tipping the scales at 240lb. Like many of us, he went through college on a less-than-stellar diet; after going to work at Teach for America in Kansas City, it got worse. His daily breakfast stop was Casey's General Store, where he'd down two slices of breakfast sausage pizza, a Red Bull, and a cake donut or two. After toying unsuccessfully with diets, he realized he just had to make wiser choices, and shed about 80lb.
Later, when he was in road warrior mode, he decided to apply the same principles. Over one month, he stopped at 200 convenience stores in nine states, from urban areas to the middle of nowhere, and put together a diet of real food that helped him stay in shape. Beard tracked the journey on his blog and Instagram, and while he's now Gas Buddy's evangelist for healthy eating at gas stations, he took some time to explain to us how he does it. And proves that "I'm on the road" is never an excuse to subsist on Doritos for dinner.