9 Tips on How to Eat Plant-Based on the Road
As the world recuperates from the lockdowns, travel plans need to be more planned to ensure you stay healthy. However, vegans on the road have more to tackle.
Pandemic or not, traveling has always been a matter of concern for people following plant-based lifestyles. Their travel plans have to revolve around food and not for fun reasons. Either they have to compromise with the food, or they end up shelving the plans altogether.
If your travel plans have been taking a hit because you’re not sure how to eat plant-based on the road, this article is going to change that.
Let’s dive in so that you can hit the road worry-free!
Is it possible to eat healthy on the road without cooking?
The main reasons plant-based eaters have to give a lot of thought to food in their itinerary is because first, it’s hard to find perfectly plant-based meals, and second, outside food often isn’t healthy.
Then, what are your options?
Either you make do with what is available or do the cooking yourself.
Cooking while you’re traveling is, in most cases, not feasible. You may not always have access to cooking equipment, especially if you’re on a road trip or going to spend time in the wilderness.
Frankly, having to cook when you’re out to relax and chill may not sound fun at all. But, none of it means you can’t eat healthy while on the road.
If you’d rather go with what’s available, you may end up eating a lot of junk because healthier options may not be readily available. Though it is difficult to find an eatery that serves plant-based food, it is not impossible to find them.
Whatever the case, it is completely possible to eat and enjoy healthy plant-based food while traveling! All it requires is planning and preparing some handy options for the journey.
In the next sections, we touch upon how to eat plant-based on the road easily with different options.
Finding WFPB-friendly restaurants
The best-case scenario for a vegan on the road is finding restaurants that serve Whole Food Plant-Based meals. However, it can be a challenging task, but not if you plan, research, and follow some handy tips.
The growing number of people adopting plant-based lifestyles is giving rise to WFPB-friendly restaurants too. One of the best ways to find such eateries is the platform called HappyCow.
HappyCow lists vegan and vegetarian restaurants from all over the world. Wherever you’re traveling, you can find a restaurant around the region. To make the most of this platform and make your life easier, do the research in advance.
Search the place or places you’re traveling to and make a list of the restaurants ahead of time. This exercise will help you avoid wasting the fun time in endless searching. Also, you will be able to dodge situations like phone network or internet connectivity issues.
If you’re traveling via air, you can even find the right places to eat at the airports using HappyCow.
These days most local businesses list themselves on Google. You can also use Google to explore suitable local restaurants.
Additionally, you should also look for information on the types of restaurants that serve healthy plant-based dishes. Some of our recommendations would be:
- Oriental restaurants
- Indian restaurants
- Italian and Greek restaurants
- Mexican restaurants
- American diners/Grill and Bar
- Poke restaurants
Read our in-depth guide on how to eat out on a Whole Food Plant-Based diet to find WFPB-friendly restaurants while you’re on the road easily. You’ll also find some handy tips to ensure you have the best experience eating out as a vegan.
Meal prep for long journeys
Regardless of whether you find appropriate places to eat when you’re traveling, it’s best to have other options at hand. Meal prep can help you a great deal in sorting what you’ll eat during long journeys.
Whole Food Plant-Based meal prep means preparing entire meals or some portions of your meals in advance. Ideally, your prepped meals should be:
- Filling and nutritious
- Long-lasting without refrigeration
- Ready to eat
To make sure your travel meals are filling and nutritious, you’ll need to prepare dishes that have nutrient-dense and high-carb ingredients.
Moreover, the food should last long without refrigeration as you’ll seldom find an option to refrigerate unless you’re traveling in a well-equipped vehicle. If you’re traveling through a hot and humid region, you’ll have to be more careful about the food that perishes faster.
Further, if you don’t want to get into the hassle of assembling meals during your journey or additional baggage, the meals should be ready to eat.
Depending on the duration of your journey, some of the meal options you can pack are:
- Burritos or wraps with chickpeas or beans and veggies
- Pasta salad
- Soup or veg stew in a thermos with breadsticks
- Granola, oat cookies, or oat cupcakes
- Whole grain crackers
- Handy and sturdy fruits like apple, banana, guava, or orange
- Dried fruits and seeds
- Air-fried or roasted chips, peanuts, etc.
Along with packing up the right kind of food, you need to ensure you are carrying the right type of foodware. The containers should not only be easy to carry but also prevent food from spilling and getting spoiled. You can use:
- Air-tight boxes or Tupperware
- Thermos flask
If you’re going on a road trip in your vehicle, you can also bring along a cooler box or cooler bag to store the fresh items.
If you’re going camping and will have access to a fireplace or oven, you can also prepare a food kit with long-lasting and easy to cook ingredients such as:
- Sweet potato and potato
- Whole grain bread
- Dehydrated vegetables
- Packaged burrito or tortilla
- A packet of rice
- A packet of oats
- Canned beans
- Vegetables that can be eaten raw (carrot, radish, cucumber, beetroot)
- Small packets of basic seasoning (salt, pepper, chili, herbs mix)
- Peanut butter
Tips to prepare for a road trip
Whether you want to rely completely on restaurant food or pack some meals, there are many other things to take care of.
Here are some tips that will prepare you to deal with all the worries that come to your mind when you think about how to eat plant-based on the road.
1. Plan and do your research
No matter what the challenge is in the WFPB lifestyle, you should be able to overcome it with some planning and proper knowledge. The same goes for eating plant-based on the road.
Along with planning other aspects of your trip such as transport and accommodation, you should also spend some time planning for the food. Searching on the internet for local vegan restaurants or eateries that can serve as per your dietary preference will take away a lot of your travel stress.
Even if you can’t find relevant places during your research, you’ll know you need to make a plan B. In such a case, you can pack some meals or communicate your concerns at your accommodation and find a way out.
2. Make notes offline
Doing research on the internet is not enough. You must make notes of the information you got. Better it is on pen and paper or in an offline accessible mode on your phone.
There’s always a chance of encountering internet or mobile connectivity issues during traveling. In such an instance, you will go back to square one if you’re relying on the internet to search for the eateries around.
Better safe than sorry!
3. Bring along some vegan road trip snacks
Even if you’ve looked for plant-based restaurants, you may get stuck in an unprecedented situation. Maybe the place is far off. Perhaps you are too tired after a long day of fun to leave your hotel room.
It’s best to pack some extra dried food items like kale chips, crackers, granola, or dried fruits to last you throughout your vacation. Having these will ensure you get healthy options for snacking. And in case you’re in a situation where you can’t find a decent place to eat, at least you won’t have to stay hungry.
4. Bring along a cooler (if you can)
If you’ve decided to carry raw, cooked, or fresh food with you, carrying a cooler box or cooler bag can be very helpful. Of course, it won’t be feasible unless you’re going in a private vehicle as it tends to be a comparatively bulky product.
You can also shop for a compact cooler to carry on public transport if it works for you. When you don’t have the option of carrying a cooler, it’s best to go with the dried or long-lasting food that won’t require cooling.
5. Carry an electric water heater
If you have some room in your luggage, you can carry an electric water heater. You can use it to do some light cooking, for example, blanching veggies, cooking oatmeal, boiling pasta, making soup from pre-mix, and so on.
If you’re a vegan on the road on your vehicle, an electric water heater can be your savior on many occasions. If you’re wondering how you will find electricity, you can use the charging point of your vehicle. Moreover, most gas stations and roadside stores should have electricity. You can request to use it and pay the proportionate amount.
6. Communicate your preferences
Communication will be your best bet when you’re traveling whether you’re at a restaurant or on the road or at your accommodation.
When at a restaurant, you can let your server know about your dietary preferences. They can help you select the best option from the menu. They may even help you with an option beyond the menu.
Wherever you’re staying on your trip, if you communicate your preferences to the customer service in advance, they can help you find suitable places to eat nearby. They may even show you some hidden but better alternatives around.
7. Go to a local market
Whole Food Plant-Based food may seem difficult to find, but the truth is there are plenty of plant-based options right before our eyes, no matter which country.
The only exception may be if you happen to go to a place with extreme temperatures. Otherwise, you’ll easily find plant-based foods in local farmers’ markets. From fruits and vegetables to local vegan dishes, it might be an opportunity for you to explore some local plant-based delicacies.
8. Get familiar with local food terms
If you’re traveling to a foreign land, familiarizing yourself with local food terms can help you immensely throughout your trip.
Do some research on the internet for the terms used for various Whole Food Plant-Based items in the local language, and your life will become easier than you can imagine.
With the knowledge of the local food terms, it will be a smoother experience to explore and select the right plant-based food at the restaurants and local markets.
9. If nothing works, find a grocery store
In this globalized era, it’s easier than ever to run into a supermarket or a grocery store housing food items from the world over, no matter where you go. You can also find such stores at gas stations.
If you don’t find any decent option around, you can pick something up from the grocery stores. You should be able to easily find items like whole grain bread, fruits, oats, peanuts, etc. So, you won’t have to stay empty stomach or compromise on nutrition.
Check out our guide on WFPB shopping.
3 quick, simple, easy WFPB snacks
After all the intense information about how to eat plant-based on the road, let’s get into the most fun part – the vegan road trip snacks you can pack for the journey.
Here are five super-simple, quick, and easy WFPB snacks for you to try.
1. Super seeds mix
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Any other of your favorite seeds
- Lightly toast all the seeds in a pan over a stove or in an oven.
- Mix them all. Once cooled, store the mix in a ziplock bag or a box.
- Eat it whenever you want during your trip. You can also sprinkle this mix into other dishes to give a punch of nutrition.
2. Oats-coco bites
- Peanut butter
- Shredded dried coconut
- Chocolate chips
- Maple syrup (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Place spoonfuls of the mixture on a tray lined with butter paper.
- Bake in the oven.
- Pack it in a box or ziplock, and you’re all set!
3. Herb sweet potato crisps
- Thinly sliced sweet potatoes
- Salt, pepper, paprika, and mixed herbs
- Boil some water in a pot. Add the thin slices of sweet potato for a minute. This will soften them.
- Dry the slices over a kitchen towel and place the slices in a baking tray.
- Bake the slices till crispy. Transfer in a bowl and sprinkle the seasoning and herbs.
- Pack it in an air-tight container or a ziplock bag, and you’re all set with a nutritious snack for your trip.
We hope this article makes your next trip more pleasant and stress-free. Happy journey!