Being on a vegan, raw or just plain health-conscious diet on the road can be a real challenge. Whether your travels involve high-calorie room service or pit stop junk food, it’s hard to find the right nutrition when away from home. We asked vegan chef Tori of Tori’s Bakeshop – who we know travels quite a bit – to share a few of her best tips for eating well on the road! Check out the questions we had for Tori and enjoy her answers that get all of us one step closer to living well, even when on the road!
Before heading out on your adventure, make sure your body is ready for the challenge. Ensure you are eating right and getting all the nutrients your body needs. You will be putting your body through a bit of a challenge, so you want to make sure it is in tip top shape before you head out. Also, plan ahead as much as you can. Do some research about your travel route; you may find restaurants and grocery stores along the way and be able to plan a few great stops for a delicious nutritious meal. I do this on road trips and make markers for these spots along the way.
Easiest snacks to pack for a road trip:
There are a couple go-to snacks that can last you most of your travels. One is nut/seed/dried fruit mix. My favorite combination is raw pecans, raw almonds, raw walnuts, unsweetened cranberry, goji berries, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. The other is Protein Powder. Whether hemp or rice, protein powders are a must! Protein powder is so helpful when you are in a pinch and there are no food options in sight for miles. My favorite is Vega!
Best choice for that diner in the middle of nowhere:
Stay away from the greasy stuff. Although it may seem tempting, as soon as you get back in the car for hours your stomach will disagree. Salads are always a good choice, you can ask the server to add extra toppings (seeds/nuts/beans). Most places have potatoes of some sort. To get that full feeling from foods that you may be missing, ask for a baked potato. Some diners offer baked beans (maple or tomato baked beans); if these are an option, fill up while you can.
Best choices at the gas station:
Gas stations surprisingly can have many options! Just make sure you check labels. Stock up on fruit juices (try to find ones that are as pure as possible, i.e no sugar added). They also have mixed nuts, seeds, crackers and peanut butter. My go to emergency gas station meal is refried beans, salsa, jarred peppers and a wrap. This is also a good time to refill your reusable water bottles. Buying water bottle can be wasteful on a road trip. If possible, save yourself the money and the plastic and refill your own whenever you stop.
Staying healthy on the road:
Make sure you take the time for pit stops. Get out of the car and move your body. Take a 15 minute walk before getting back in the car. This will help clear your mind and keep your body awake. Don’t forget to pack your vitamins. Just because you are on a road trip does not mean you should stop taking them, so make sure you stick to your vitamin regimen.
Ways to sneak in nutritional value:
When possible, try to get whole protein in each day. As long as you are eating the combination of legumes and seeds, legumes and nuts or legumes and grains, you are getting a complete protein. You do not need them in the same meal, but try to eat them everyday. A few example of this would be: peanut butter & toast, rice & beans, nuts & beans or pasta & peas.
Unexpected resources while traveling:
Everyone you meet is a resource! You never know who you’ll meet that shares the same conscious diet. Meeting locals can help you find the best resources and lead you to find some of those great local restaurants you’d never find any other way.
Smart ways to store healthy food on the go:
If there is room, bring a mini cooler. It will come in handy when you run into a great grocery store and want to stock up. You can also store leftovers from a delicious vegan meal.
Post-travel recovery tip:
Sleep – that is key. Although you will be excited and energized from your travels, your body will need rest. Take a day or two and sleep in and eat whole foods.
Traveling as a vegan can be a great adventure if you keep an open mind!
Photo Credit: Craig McDean for Tommy Hilfiger