I have some friends who are on the road a lot. Some are big rig drivers, some RV pleasure seekers. They have shared with me that traveling long distances, sometimes for days on end can make it challenging to stay plant focused and maintain optimal weight and health. Sitting for long periods of time and falling into the fast food and truck stop trap doesn't make it any easier. If you would like to try healthy plant focused eating on the road this should be a good read. So here are some tips for healthy plant focused eating on the road for truckers, RV roadies, minivans, SUVS, and bus drivers.
First and foremost, conduct a quick search of the destination before hitting the road. Truck stops, convenience stores and fast food spots are at almost every exit, but if you plan your route, you may find a juice bar, vegan restaurant or health food/ grocery store not far off the beaten path. Here's a pro tip: on Instagram type a hashtag with the destination's area code, and "veganfoodtruck", "veganrestaurant" or "veganjuicebar" into the search bar. ex: #757veganjuicebar Food trucks will often post where they are planning to stop to serve in the area, or you can private message them and ask where they will be on X date at X time when you plan to pull up to that town. Another Instagram pro tip: search for the area code and "veganmealprep" to order a few local fresh vegan meals from a local vendor that you can throw into your cooler! Yet another pro-tip: If you think those fresh fruit and veggie juices are expensive at the juice bar ask if they have variety packages or juice cleanses. Often you can buy a few bottles for a little less to last you the next 2-3 days in your fridge!
If previously, you were 100% relying on those convenience spots, consider reducing that to one such stop a day, which may make a big difference. When in those places look for alkaline water, cut fruit or veggies (check dates!), trail mix, granola bars/ protein bars, and dried fruit snacks. (If you are not vegan but trying to do better, some spots have hard boiled eggs, tuna and chicken sandwiches, etc.) Get into a practice of reading labels to minimize preservatives, loaded salts and sugars. Considering making your own big batch of "sweet tea" if you absolutely need flavor or are trying to wean off sugary drinks. We tend to use far less sugar when we see how much is going into it. Avoid using white sugar and opt for raw stevia, raw agave or honey. You can infuse an herbal tea like green tea with orange slices or mint.
The extent to which you can store, preserve and prepare food on the go will be determined by your vehicle and equipment. Due to space, electric outlets, etc. you may or may not be able to implement every tip below, but even a few can make a difference in your satisfaction on the go. Try to do as much as feasible within your limitations of space. If travelling in an RV or a big rig with a cabin that has cooling and cooking equipment, you may not need some items.
Some things you may find possible and helpful on your journey:
Cooler and cold packs
Gallon or half gallon water jug, preferably glass or steel (Holding water in plastic in a hot vehicle or cabin can become toxic). Fill it at a spot offering alkaline water whenever you can. Examples are: juice bars, Whole Foods, water stores
Portable blender, such as a single serve Nutribullet. You can use this for protein shakes, quick sauces, dressings, nut butters, etc.
Depending on space, consider a juicer (Watch "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" documentary and you will see it's quite manageable!)
An electric skillet or wok
A rice cooker - you can make more than rice in a rice cooker, like steaming veggies and cooking beans.
En lieu of microwaving, consider a small air fryer with a "dehydrate" level for making kale or sweet potato chips, "fried chicken" from oyster mushrooms- makes a great chicken sandwich(!), air fried crispy okra, plaintain chips, vegan muffins or cookies and so much more!
Containers with lids.
Can opener, utensils,
If gettin air fryer consider: small 1/2 doz muffin tin, Small baking sheet for low bake minimum ingredient banana oat cookies
Some gear may even be USB chargeable vs. requiring electric outlets.
Some things to consider for your Shopping List:
Plant based protein, we like Orgain and Shaklee (This link takes you to a reputable Shaklee seller who ships)
Almond butter or peanut butter
Nuts (preferably no salt, oil or sugars)
Seeds (preferably no salt or oil)
Granola and protein bars
Raw stevia, honey or agave (explore other plant based sweeteners)
1-3 lb bags of black rice, brown rice, wild rice (black rice is very high in protein)
If soaking is not an option, consider canned black beans, garbanzo beans. Also, I find that it takes unsoaked lentils and dried peas about the same amount of time to cook as rice. So I often make them together, just throwing the dried lentils or peas directly with rice rice at the same time.
Oats (for smoothies, overnight oats, cookies, muffins)
Fresh fruit for snacking: apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, etc.
Fruit for protein shakes or smoothies: blueberries, strawberries, peaches, bananas (some will need cooler or fridge storage)
Baby spinach, canned greens, green beans, etc if fresh doesn't work for you
Small bags of carrots, celery, 2 cucumbers (these can be eaten as snack, or used to make an easy veggie soup)
Marinated mushrooms, pecans or walnuts, tofu or jackfruit can make quite a tasty meat substitute! You tube is your friend if you want to try any of these in your skillet!
One spaghetti squash if you have an air fryer- hear me out! Cut that baby in half and drizzle a little olive oil on it, bake on 360 degrees for 15-20 min. you will know it is ready and the noodles are loose if it is lightly browning on the outside, the edges curling, and when you scrape at it the stringy noodles come out effortlessly. There are several ways to eat this:
If you are currently keeping bread in your diet, consider spinach wraps, sprouted, Dave's Killer vegan bread, sourdough. If you have Alkaline aspirations, this would be PART of your 20-35% acidic foods, so once a day, or only for emergencies.
If dairy is a crutch, try replacing dairy and cheeses for vegan alternatives. We like Follow Your Heart cheeses. And you can also find great vegan yogurts and ice creams! With yogurt try to opt for plain with out the added sugar. You can add fresh, frozen or dried fruit to plain yogurt, honey or chopped dates, cinnamon, etc.
Just a few things you can quickly make to eat:
Veggie burger patties. These are usually found frozen in stores and you may not have a freezer. Making your own is super eazy can be yummy and they can be refrigerated at proper temp for up to 3 days and heated up in a skillet or airfryer. Daves Killer makes a great vegan bun. If you are going to be in our area, try our Big Sexy Burger!
Falafel wrap with spinach wrap and all the fixins.
Soups (google or youtube search: "rice cooker vegan soup")
Overnight oats are super fast to prepare and yummy in the morning
Protein balls only take a few ingredients and give you a quick boost.
Tofu scramble in your skillet with veggies
Protein shakes and smoothies
Veggie juices if you juice!
Tacos: use your marinated "meat" from walnuts, pecans or baby bella mushrooms or marinated "chicken" from oyster mushrooms or tofu , vegan shredded cheddar cheese (we like "Follow Your Heart" brand), tomato, onion, spinach, and even avocado slices or guacamole that you bend up in your Nutribullet. See google or youtube for vegan "meat", guac and salsa recipes!
Spaghetti squash meal
Cold or stir fried kelp noodles with just about any thing. To prepare kelp noodles, drain, sprinkle a little baking soda or lemon juice onto the noodles and massage them to soften. Rinse, top, stir and eat!
Finally, whenever you can, pull over (safely) at a park or path and stretch your legs. Even park farther from the big stores and get some steps in. If you are out that at the crack of dawn, learn to properly and safely sungaze at the sunrise! Consider trying breathwork- check out the Wim Hof, as one example. Trouble sleeping? Play some "fall asleep fast" music from youtube or an app. Remember to set your alarm to pull you out of that deep sleep!
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