PLANT-BASED ON THE ROAD
Eating plant based on the road can be quite difficult at times and seem like more of a hassle than it needs to be. I am here to tell you how to make it easier for yourself and some great road friendly options.
Step 1: Be prepared.
Whether you are just driving for a few hours or taking a road trip for a few days, being prepared with snacks that will save you the trouble of poor choices like chips from the gas station. Have some apples, bananas, nuts, homemade granola bars, popcorn, etc. ready for you and your passengers to save some money and give you better options. Have plenty of water to avoid those plastic bottles, and even make your own coffee ahead of time. If you need meals on the road some of my favorite options are to make a whole wheat pasta salad and put it in jars or even prep some mini burritos that can be easily wrapped and taken to go.
Step 2: You get hungry and don’t have any food.
If you just need a snack, try to find a local market where you can get some good plant snacks like dried fruit or trail mixes (without the M&Ms). If you are ready for a meal, here are my favorite kinds of places to look for. If you are really lucky you may be able to find a vegetarian or vegan restaurant (definitely depending on your location). Apps like Vanilla Bean or Happy Cow can help with this. Or just type in “vegan” to your maps app and see what pops up! However, if there are none around you, I recommend looking for international restaurants as “American Grills” tend to only have BBQ meats and mac & cheese.
At a Chinese restaurant you can get veggies and tofu over brown rice! At a Mexican restaurant you can get a nice bean burrito. At a sushi place you can get some avocado cucumber rolls and miso soup! At an Indian restaurant you can get a lentil curry! At an Italian restaurant you can get a pasta with red sauce and veggies! Get creative and never forget you can adjust dishes to your needs, just talk to your server. Also, if you are looking for a breakfast option some coffee shop chains like Starbucks have oatmeal cups that you can get with a cup of steamed almond milk instead of hot water and they will give you a little nut and raisin packet with it!
Don’t forget about grocery stores either! You can usually find a good hummus and enjoy with crackers or precut veggies. Or try an apple and peanut butter! Go back to the basics, what do like to snack on normally?
Step 3: I am only surrounded by fast food! What do I do?
This is a sad but very realistic scenario, but do not worry, you will not starve! If you can find a Taco Bell you may be saved with a vegan bean burrito with guac, salsa, lettuce, and rice. I even remember Dr. Michael Greger saying at the Plant Stock 2018 conference that he would go to Wendy’s and just get a plain baked potato if there was nothing else around!
Step 4: Do what you can.
Don’t worry if the only things that you can find are slightly processed plant foods. Now you know to be a bit more prepared and this is not the end of the world. Eat what you can and just try to get in as many fresh foods as possible. Eating plant based is not about eating only unprocessed plants 100% of the time. It is about doing your best that you can in your situations and to eat unprocessed plants the majority of the time.
Enjoy your travels! Be safe! Stay prepared! Get creative with menus!