When I go on vacation my healthy whole food plant based diet goes with me. At first that can seem daunting because most restaurants are not set up to support a healthy whole foods plant based diet. With some planning, cooking ahead, a good cooler and a few other essentials I am hear to tell you it can be done! Since going plant based 2 1/2 years ago we have gone on a few road trips and each time I learn a few new tricks that make it easier to eat healthy on the road.
First we try to book hotel rooms that have a kitchenette or at the very least a microwave and mini fridge. Many hotels that don’t have these in every room will rent you a microwave and mini fridge for $10-20 a night. In vacation destinations many hotels, cabins and cottages offer suites that have a kitchen furnished with dishes and cookware. Having said all that I have even managed food prep in the smallest hotel room that had no amenities at all!
Having a sink and a little counter space for food prep is so nice. A mini fridge and microwave were also handy to have. Since we were staying a few nights here we moved some groceries out of the cooler into the fridge.
This suite was even better with a full fridge and more counter space and a nice size table to eat at. It also came equipped with dishes and cooking utensils. We took advantage of the freezer to refreeze the ice bags for the cooler.
A couple days prior to leaving on vacation I shop for fresh produce and batch cook for the trip. On our last road trip I took veggie burgers, Black and Red Lentil Chili, baked potatoes – Yukon gold and sweet potatoes, oven roasted squash, lentil salad, roasted Brussel sprouts, Engine 2 hummus, Donna’s Vegan Cheeze Sauce, raw veggies, fruit including fresh berries, grapes, watermelon, bananas and apples, lettuce greens for salads. Beans in aseptic containers, vegan soup in aseptic containers, hummus in aseptic containers, unsweetened almond milk in shelf stable cartons and vegan cheeze sauce in individual packets.
Once the veggie burgers were cool I wrapped them in parchment paper and then foil and froze them inside plastic containers. They helped keep the cooler cold and they slowly thawed out over a few days.
I found these at Costco and they came in handy for quick pre-hiking nourishment, breakfast or a snack with almond milk and fruit. They are also sold on Amazon.
Another Costco find that is so handy for vacation and at home. Fully cooked brown rice – just heat and eat. You can add beans, corn, cilantro and salsa. Use as a base with hot soup poured over the top and then some baby greens. Use on a salad with some beans to make it heartier. Similar products can be found at other stores like Whole Foods, grocery stores, Target and health food stores.
Shelf stable hummus dip is perfect for hiking. We take them along with carrot sticks for dipping.I found these at Whole Foods in the chip aisle on the top shelf above the salsa. The ingredients are chickpeas,sesame paste, water, sea salt, roasted garlic, spices and citric acid. Just 63 calories per container. You can add this to a salad, use as a topping for a veggie burger or add to a bowl of rice, beans and greens.
Nacheez is a vegan nacho cheese product that is made locally in Sacramento by Ilsa Hess. She just started to offer these convenient little individual travel packets of her amazing vegan non dairy nacho cheese sauce. In fact I was the first person to place an order for them from her website Nacheez. She mailed them out to me right away so I would have them in time for our vacation! We ran out of my home made vegan cheeze sauce so we were happy to have these travel packs. They are delicious on baked potatoes, beans, rice and veggies!
INGREDIENTS: Water, Red Bell Peppers, Raw Cashews [tree nut], Roasted Green Chiles (green anahiem chiles, water, citric acid, salt), Jalapeno Peppers (jalapeno peppers, water, salt, citric acid, calcium chloride), Lemon Juice, Organic Corn Starch, Red Star Yeast (dried yeast, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, folic acid, cobalamin), Sea Salt, Lactic Acid (vegan source), Xanthan Gum
Each packet is just 20 calories and 1 gram of fat and 170mg sodium. If you follow a no salt food plan these may not be something you want to eat. I don’t have any problems using them. They don’t prevent me from losing weight and I figure when I am hiking and sweating the extra sodium in my diet isn’t a bad thing!
Fruit – That’s It! These all fruit bars are sweet and chewy with no added sugar. Kids and adults alike enjoy them. I love them for hiking, bike riding and to have in the car as a back up if I have forgotten to pack some fresh fruit or veggies to take with me. Sold at Whole Foods, health food stores, Costco had them for a while but I haven’t seen them there lately.
Quite a few vegan dehydrated meals are available at REI or other sporting goods type stores that have hiking supplies. The ones we have tried have been delicious. I try to get ones that are two servings. They require boiling water added to the pouch, a quick stir, close the top and let it sit for 10-12 minutes. We usually add extra beans or rice to make them more filling. Perfect on the trail and can even come in handy when you are traveling. You can stop at a rest area and set up for lunch on a picnic table or if you are in a city find a local city park and have lunch.
We use a Jet Boil to heat up water on the trail. It’s quick and easy. These type of devices can be purchased at REI or any sporting goods stores that sell hiking gear.
After hiking miles on a coastal trail we came across a little covered are with benches out in the middle of nowhere! It was the perfect lunch spot.
I saw this Road Pro Portable Stove on Plant Fueled Trucker’s Facebook page. He cooks healthy plant based meals everyday while driving down the highway. Check out his facebook page for inspiration. Now back to the Road Pro stove. Its about the size of a lunch box and runs on 12 volts and plugs directly into your vehicles power port. You can cook a meal in it or keep food hot until you are ready to eat. It holds an aluminum foil bread pan so you can make something that will serve two people as a meal. You can be driving down the road while dinner is cooking! How cool is that? We used it and I am happy to report that it works really well. You can find it on Amazon. In my next post I will show you what I made using this device.
In addition to all the food products there are some other essentials I took along. A cutting board, sharp knife, serving utensils, paper towels, paper plates, paper bowls, plastic cups, napkins, ziplock bags in gallon, quart and sandwich size. Kitchen towels, dish cloths, dish soap. Salt free seasonings and other spices and balsamic vinegar. Extra food containers for packing lunches and snacks for the car and hiking. Aluminum foil and extra plastic grocery bags to use for trash and such.
In my next post I will show you how we made meals out of what we took with us and how I managed food prep in the tiniest hotel room! I wouldn’t say it’s easy to eat healthy while traveling – it does require extra work, prep and thought but its so worth it. Every time we ate a meal from our cooler hubby Tom said, “Well we just saved $35!” So not only did we eat healthier than we would have in a restaurant but we saved money too!
Wishing you safe and healthy travels.