One of the hardest times for me as a vegetarian is when we are out and about or on the road or traveling. Mainstream convenience foods are either meat products (delis, burgers, etc) or just nutritionally devoid (chips, candies, sodas). In my experience, it’s just not safe to expect to be able to eat out at all stops along your trip.
We have taken a couple of road trips since we started eating vegetarian, and the one thing that gets us through is advance preparation. With a twenty-four hour drive coming up in our near future, here is how I’m preparing for our next vegetarian road trip:
Meal Plan for the Trip
Meal plans are always invaluable, and a a meal plan for your trip is no exception. Make sure you know both when you plan to make stops and how long you’ll be in the car between meals.
If you have time for longer stops, you’ll be more likely to buy a decent vegetarian meal. If you want to move quickly and only have time for drive-thrus, you will probably be better off bringing meals.
Knowing about where you will be traveling through at meal times helps, too. If around lunchtime you will be in an area that you know doesn’t have much of a selection, plan ahead for that meal so that you aren’t stuck with french fries and a coke.
Bring as Much Food as You Can
Meals made from home are always better for you, and especially if you are driving a family in a larger vehicle, there is no reason that you can’t prepare your foods in advance and bring it along as you travel. If there is space, fill a small cooler with sandwiches, dips and spreads, fruits and vegetables, crackers and cheese, and even veggie wraps. You could even bring small containers of granola or cereal and keep some non-dairy milk or yogurt in your cooler for breakfast.
If you don’t have room for a cooler or are traveling by plane, stash small bags of snacks wherever you can. Trail mix, fruit, nut butters, crackers, etc., can all store in small containers and do not need to be kept cool, and they will really fill you up on a long drive.
Grocery Shop When You Arrive
If you are going to be at your destination for awhile, try grocery shopping for the vacation instead of relying on restaurant meals. If you are staying with friends or family, you could contribute to the household food stores while simultaneously ensuring that you have vegetarian options. You might even offer to make dinner one or two nights.
Many hotels have affordable suites with full kitchens now, so you could return to the hotel for your meals. Grocery shopping for your vacation instead of eating out will not only shield your diet, but it will also save you money.
What helps you to eat well while you travel?
Brannan is a mother of three and has been striving for a whole foods, vegetarian diet through two pregnancies and several years of breastfeeding and mommyhood. You can find her at ThePregnantVegetarian.Com, blogging through cookbooks and life as a vegetarian mom.