Traveling this summer? Or any other time? One of the toughest parts of being thrown off your regularly scheduled programming is the uncertainty of the ability to locate and enjoy healthful foods you are accustomed to enjoying. As someone who loves routine and knowing where her next serving of kale and hummus can be procured, I empathize with the trepidation of traveling. However, after practicing consistently for several years as a whole food, plant-based eater, I have a few tips to offer fellow travelers. Please share any of your favorite tips in the comments below so we can come up with a super list of ideal methods and options for us all!
1. Research and plan ahead. Careful plotting for how long you’ll need to be stocked up from door to door, as well as investigating where you’ll be able to find food while away, makes the process less worrisome. Most of what you can bring along will depend on how you are traveling … by car or by plane.
2. Pack enough food to get through the first leg of the trip to avoid having to eat airport/airline food or truck stop/fast food along the way. When traveling with others, bring along enough food for yourself and your dependent traveling companions. For airports, dried food and packed whole foods are options, but water will have to be purchased after going through airport security; unfortunately, the prices are brutally ramped up, but maintaining hydration throughout the flight is ideal. A more cost-effective and eco-friendly option is to take an empty stainless steel or BPA-free plastic water bottle to the airport, and fill it up once you’re cleared into the terminal. Of course, driving is far easier because you can pack however much food you can squeeze into your car, and you can easily use coolers to keep foods longer. Plan ahead and pack up plenty of food to ensure you have lots of healthy options along the road.
3. Scout out your travel destination. Try a healthy food-finding app and website like HappyCow to locate veg-friendly dining and markets just about anywhere. Stock up at markets on some items for meals and snacks can supplement what you brought along, when possible. If staying with friends or family members, ask ahead if you can store some food in the fridge or, even, if they can have some of your preferred staples ready when you arrive. When staying at a hotel, call ahead of the trip and request a refrigerator unit in the room. Most hotels will provide one. If not, you can use the ice bucket to keep perishables cool. International travel can require even more planning. Be sure to search online ahead of time. When traveling to other countries, ask detailed questions (you may need a translation dictionary handy, if there’s a language barrier). Most restaurants want to please their guests, and will go out of their way to accommodate patrons, even if you don’t speak the same language.
Travel-Friendly Foods, Cooler-Dependent Foods:
– Salads in disposable containers with dressing in a separate container
– Fruits: whole, cut, salad, dried, dehydrated
– Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
– Hummus with chopped veggies and whole-grain crackers to dip
– Wraps or sandwiches made on whole-grain breads or tortillas with hummus or bean spread and veggies or nut or seed butter and whole-fruit jam or sliced fruits
– Veggie sushi
– Bean, rice, and veggie burritos with salsa and guacamole on the side and separate
– Whole-grain pasta with sauce
– Unopened tempeh or tofu packages
– Leftovers packed in a disposable container
– Takeout from a healthy restaurant or market, packed in a disposable container
Easy Foods With No Refrigeration Necesary:
– Dried oatmeal in separate baggies with seeds (chia, flax, hemp) and/or nuts (simply add hot water when ready to eat)
– Whole-fruit and nut bars
– Baked bars, whole-food cookies, muffins, and whole-grain breads
– Whole-grain or raw crackers, breads, tortillas, bagels
– Dehydrated bean and veggie soups
– Nut butters
– Trail mix
– Jarred bean dips
– Nutritional yeast and other spices in individually wrapped baggies to bring to restaurants
– Dehydrated green juice powders (for times when you don’t know when you’ll find your next greens
– Dissolvable whole-food powders to fill up on, if no other healthy options