If you follow a meat-free lifestyle, you know how annoying it can be when you’re traveling and can’t find any vegetarian-friendly foods. While surviving on potatoes and side salads is fine for a few days, it could end up making you feel sluggish and tired if that’s your only source of nutrition.
For those of us lucky enough to live in a place where vegetarian-friendly food is available in spades, it could be a rude awakening to drive along the highway only to find burger joints and sub shops that offer little in the way of vegetarian-friendly food, or at least of anything that might be healthy and nourishing.
The good news is it only takes a little preparation to make your vegetarian or vegan travel a success. Take a look at our tips below and prepare for a fun and healthy trip, no matter the destination!
Vegetarian-friendly food: On the go!
Gone are the days when vegetarians and vegans had to sit back and watch as their fellow passengers dug into their airplane food without them. If you’re on a long-haul flight that serves meals, then make sure to contact the airline and request a vegan meal. The thing is, you have to order the meal well in advance, usually at least a week before a flight.
Some airlines allow you to specify that you’d like a vegan meal on their website, while others may require you to call. Either way, it’s a good idea to get everything sorted out well in advance. Now, being that it’s airplane food, your dish may not be the healthiest or the most delicious, but at least you won’t miss out on getting food brought to you like everyone else on the flight!
Perhaps you’re not on a long-haul flight, or you’d rather not eat the sodium-heavy airplane food at all. This is where it seriously pays to meal prep in advance. There are endless possibilities, so keep reading to find out our vegetarian and vegan food list for travel. Remember, it’s ok to get creative and change things up – the sky’s the limit.
Vegetarian and vegan food list for travel
Vegetable sticks with dip
We like sliced-up cucumbers, broccoli, carrot sticks, and cherry tomatoes, but you can use any vegetables you like. As for dips, we love bringing along homemade hummus, but you may want to go easy on the garlic if you’re in a tight space like an airplane.
There are also plenty of delicious dips you could make using Greek (or vegan unsweetened) yogurt as a base, like a healthy ranch sauce made with fresh herbs. You can also use tahini as a base for the dip together with a dash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Sliced fruit with nuts or dip
If you can’t tell yet, we like a good dip, whether sweet or savory. One of our favorite dips is our Chocolate Yogurt Dip in the 8fit recipe book enjoyed alongside strawberries, sliced apples, bananas, and pears. Or, you could bring along a cup of plain – vegan if you wish – yogurt and pair it alongside a fruit of your choice and a few almonds for protein.
One great thing about bananas is that they already come individually wrapped in their own natural carrying case, meaning you they’re perfect for on the go and don’t require much prep. Pack a few bananas for your trip and dip them in some nut butters you’ve portioned out for yourself and look forward to a tasty snack while on the open road or high up in a plane. Not only will it be a delicious snack, but it’s also good for digestion and provides your body with much-needed nutrients including potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6.
Stuff whole-grain bread slices with avocado, tomato slices, lettuce and mustard for a snack we know you’re going to be thankful you have on the plane. We recommend making a few because you never know how hungry you’ll get, and there’s nothing worse than being ravenous on a plane and not being able to eat!
Pre-mixed salads like pasta salad travel well because their flavors only get better over time. However, if you don’t have something to keep your food cool, try to eat your salad on the same day you take it out of your fridge to keep it from spoiling.
You can get creative with the salads, but if you’re going to use salad greens, be sure to keep your dressing in another container to keep it from wilting. We like making chickpea salads with fresh vegetables, olive oil and balsamic, but the sky’s the limit – try substituting chickpeas with rice, couscous, quinoa or lentils.
Homemade energy balls or bars
Energy balls and snack bars are a calorically dense option for when you need nourishment, fast. It’s best to go for homemade, but if you’re in a rush, opt for a bar made from whole foods like oats, dried fruits, and nuts with no added sugar.
Out of ideas? Check out our vegan Coconut Energy Balls to enjoy a quick bite that’s healthy and nourishing while also tasting like a dessert! They positively beat airline snacks both in terms of flavor and nutrition, plus they’re a piece of cake to make. Just double or triple the recipe if you want to have snacks to last you the entire trip.
This appetizing snack isn’t just for hikes! We recommend packing home-made trail mix (your choice of dried fruits combined with nuts and seeds) already separated into snack-size portions so you don’t have to rely on the airline packs of peanuts, which often come teeming with sodium that can leave you feeling even more dehydrated on your flight.
One of our favorite vegan travel snacks -- trail mix -- can feel like a lifesaver if you’ve been feeling hungry and need a quick boost. Plus, it’s nutrient dense and can keep you going strong even on a long trip.
Vegetarian and vegan travel made easy
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, planning ahead with vegan or vegetarian-friendly food can make all the difference. Just a few minutes of forward planning is all you need to take your trip from regular to extraordinary.