How to Eat Plant-Based When Traveling
I have been eating plant-based for about two years now, and it’s becoming more and more accessible to everyone. Being vegan has surpassed its stereotypes, and more people are becoming curious about the lifestyle. As a photographer, I’m typically on-the-go more often than not, and I often get questions about how to eat plant-based when in new cities or even out camping. Here are my 5 tips for eating plant-based while traveling.
Research Plant-Based Restaurants
New cities mean new opportunities for plant-based exploration. I typically use
HappyCow as a resource. It shows vegetarian and plant-based options with reviews, pictures, and suggestions of what to order from other people who are vegetarian or plant-based! It seems like the obvious option, but the hidden gems are the best places to try. In major cities there are always big name plant-based restaurants, and you can find coffee shops or small cafés that have mouth-watering options as well like baked goods or even a full vegetarian menu. I was staying in San Diego for five days, and there are some amazing restaurants in SD proper, however, we ended up finding an amazing coffee shop / yoga studio / restaurant in La Jolla that had a full plant-based menu. Needless to say, I tried almost everything and went probably five times during my stay in the area. If you happen to be in the area, it’s called Trilogy Sanctuary!
Scope Out Local Markets
A key part to traveling is to know where the markets are, and most importantly, when they’re open! When I was traveling in Spain, everything shuts down during Siesta (around 2-5pm). So, make sure you know any holidays, local observances or customs that can affect markets. It’s always best to go in the morning to get the freshest produce. Stock up on those fruits, veggies, hummus, and even guacamole. It’s a great staple to have when you’re on-the-go. And, if you’re driving, make sure to have a cooler with you to keep it all fresh.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
I was always a little hesitant to ask restaurants to modify dishes, but now the plant-based lifestyle has become more mainstream and I’ve found that some chefs find it to be an awesome challenge to test their creativity on dishes they don’t normally prepare. Of course, be polite, but you’ll find more often than not that restaurants are willing to accommodate. I’ve also found that many different cuisines such as Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and Mediterranean spots almost always have plant-based options!
Get in the Kitchen
If you have the option to get an Airbnb or a spot with a kitchen, take the opportunity to cook! There's no better way to get to know the local community than trying out a plant-based take on a local dish. That way, you have leftovers and time to explore wherever your travels leave you.
If I’m camping, Overnight Oats is my favorite go-to for a breakfast option. It takes less than 10 minutes to make the mix and you can add whatever flavors you like! I typically like my oats to be on the sweeter side, so I use rice milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little bit of maple syrup. The next morning I’ll add some type of crunch on top whether that’s berries, granola, or cacao nibs. And dinner I usually keep it simple with either store-bought vegan soup like a lentil base or vegetable quinoa. Other options include veggie burgers and even pasta with a little olive oil. That is, of course, if you’re car camping. Backpacking is a whole other animal that we could get into!
Snack it Out
Making snacks for long car rides or avoiding airport food is the easy way to be plant-based when you don’t have time to search for restaurants or cook. Most of the recipes you can prepare the night before and they’re super easy to make! There’s a great range between snacks too -- the handy, quick recipes, and the more complex.
Whenever I'm flying, I always prep a wrap the night before to have on the plane. I typically need something hardy, so I’ll mix quinoa and red lentils, and combine it with spinach, chickpeas, homemade hummus, and avocado. The best part about making wraps the night before, is you can take whatever leftover veggies you may have and make it into something delicious! And, it solves the problem of what can I eat at the airport. For extra long flights, I also bring a small bag of cashews or pistachios when I crave a little bit of salt.
Whenever I camp, I always make sure that the car is loaded with all my favorite healthy snacks. Some of my favorite energy bars include Health Warrior Chia Bars, Taos Mountain Energy Bars, and of course Blue Moose Hummus + Beanitos chips. I always try to buy local brands because there are so many amazing companies out of the Boulder / Denver area. I also always bring some type of nut-butter, for me that’s almond butter, to make a sandwich with agave (or honey if you eat it) and some sliced strawberries. The key to packing food for camping is to make sure that it is space-efficient. Anything I can prepare ahead of time is always tightly packed in containers within reach of when I’m driving. Some of my other favorite go-tos include Cacao Sea Salt Granola and Oatmeal Craisin Energy Balls. They’re super easy to prepare ahead of time, healthy, and keep you full when you’re in the car for hours on end.
I’ve linked some recipes that I’ve followed and love:
Being plant-based has become easier to do over the years with the rising popularity of the lifestyle. I’ve found some amazing spots along my travels, and I’ve found, when in doubt, you can always order a salad and french fries if you’re in a bind, haha!
Happy travels, and #eatplants!
Photos in Collaboration with @p.a.peach
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