If you’ve been vegan for any amount of time, you are familiar with the constant worry of whether you will have something to eat wherever you go. Most often, we eat before we leave for anywhere, just in case.
This is magnified when traveling. It’s amazing when you’re in a vegan-friendly city where you can not only find a place to eat, but have the choice and try something new every day. But unfortunately, nine times out of ten, you will have to struggle to find a place nearby with a decent meal that you can eat, and by that, I mean something that isn’t fries and a salad.
Of course, a travel vegan’s best friend is the app HappyCow where users like yourself update restaurants and businesses in the area that offer vegan options. This is great on the go because the app gives you the nearest restaurants according to your location.
However, sometimes you don’t have the time to look for or sit at a restaurant or you spend the whole day traveling so you are left to your own devices. This situation is very familiar to me, and over the years, I have honed the skill of making something on the spot that will tide you over until you find a kitchen or a restaurant, with groceries you can find in nearly any store in the world. So here are some of my tips and tricks for eating vegan while traveling.
On the go- Things to have in your bag(while travelling)
1. Energy bars and Energy balls
The best, most convenient, and filling thing for traveling are energy bars/balls. There are so many different types now, some only containing a couple ingredients like dates and cocoa. If you can get your hands on them, it’s a good idea to get some that have some extra protein.
I particularly like these vegan protein balls. They are very tasty and a great source of protein for on the go. My favorite energy bar is the Bombus Raw Energy Cocoa& Cocoa beans. The Salted Caramel is also very good! And of course, you can always make your own.
Another great variation of these are flapjacks. They are super filling, packed with fiber and very tasty!
2. Dry pretzels and crackers
Pretzels and crackers are classic road trip food, I think. They are a great snack for on the go, they are filling and if you choose the ones that don’t have too much salt (as many of these do) they can be a healthy snack too. I adore thin saltine-style crackers and I always associate them with traveling (maybe that’s why I love them so much!).
My favorite pretzel snack to pack is the Elephant baked squeezed pretzels.
Another classic no-brainer when talking about travel food. Just the vegan version, of course! I like to prepare mine with a nice spread, some protein (my favorite is tofu), and a fresh salad. Here are my favorite sandwich combinations:
- Tofu sandwich (Grilled tofu, vegan butter, lettuce)
- Hummus sandwich (Hummus, sliced tomatoes, lettuce)
- “Ham and cheese” (vegan deli meat, vegan cheese, vegan butter or mayo)
- “Schnitzel” sandwich (vegan schnitzel or breaded tofu, vegan butter, fresh pepper)
- Peanut butter & Jelly (peanut butter, strawberry jam)
4. Homemade muffins
For a bit of sweetness and wholesome breakfast or a snack, the soft muffin is a great treat to replenish you on your journey.
They are so versatile you can make them with anything- from the standard chocolate chip or blueberry muffins to healthier oat muffins. You can even make them savory if that’s your thing. The sky’s the limit!
5. (Homemade) Trail mix (almonds, cranberries, walnuts…)
Another classic for the road. You can always pick up an already prepared mix in any store as it is so popular. However, they do tend to be pricy (at least in Croatia), so it’s a good idea to make your own. It’s even better, because you can put whatever you want and won’t be stuck with that one thing that you keep avoiding to get to something else.
6. Dried fruit
Dried fruit is a great option for your travel bag because it’s smaller, won’t get squished and spill the juices all over your bag and they’re very practical. And of course, they have all the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit. Some great options are:
- dried apricots
- dried cranberries
- dried figs
- dates (they also work great as a healthy alternative to satisfy a sweet tooth!)
On the go part 2- Things to pick up at a grocery store when you don’t have access to utensils
When you’re outside all day sightseeing and don’t have the time in your schedule to sit down or eat (or nowhere to sit down and eat), the next best thing is the grocery store for a quick bite.
However you probably don’t have utensils with you (unless you carry them with you in your bag), so you need a quick meal that you can put together with your hands on the side of the street, most likely. Here is my tried and tested list of things to pick up and put together:
1. Pre-cut (Sandwich) bread
The main ingredient of the trusty sandwich. You can get a small loaf of pre-cut bread or toast, or even better, a small pre-cut baguette where you just stuff it with toppings of choice. My go-to’s are:
2. Cherry tomatoes
+ if you’re very lucky- vegan ready-meals such as vegan nuggets, burgers or salami that can be put in your sandwich bread and eaten straight away
This is my holy grail when I’m on a trip. Pre-cut bread is great as you can just stuff some tomatoes, arugula, vegan meats or anything you can find in the store to make a first-aid sandwich.
Hummus is amazing, there’s not really much to say about that. Delicious, packed with protein and a great spread for a sandwich or as a dip with some crackers, pretzels or nacho chips.
Cherry tomatoes are a great way to add some freshness to an otherwise dry sandwich and their small size makes them very convenient. I like to eat them as a snack on their own as well. Lettuce is great for sandwiches but not very practical for this situation, it’s not really as if you can buy a single piece of lettuce. At least I haven’t come across such a place!
I’m sure you’re not surprised to see them on the list. This amazing fruit is nourishing, delicious and the perfect travel companion. The peel protects them from squishing and means you don’t have to wash them, you can peel them easily by hand and eat them wherever you find yourself.
Did you know that researchers found bananas contain dopamine? You literally get a shot of happiness!
5. Bottled smoothies
No, they’re not as good or healthy as a freshly made one, but when you’re travelling, you need that energy vitamin boost wherever you can get it. And you don’t need to make a mess that goes along with preparing a smoothie, you just need to discard the bottle properly or even better, reuse it!
I found that these little things were a lifesaver when eating a lot of dry food on the go. I always choose the ones with lemon juice or some sort of acidic fruit as that sour taste really wakes me up and energizes my metabolism.
And of course, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Always have a bottle of water with you. If you’re going through security, bring an empty bottle that you can fill up after.
And what about meals you want to cook when you have access to a kitchen? A list of travel-friendly recipes is coming soon!
Do you agree with my list? What do you pack in your backpack? Let me know in the comments.
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