Eating vegan doesn’t necessarily mean, you are eating healthy, too. – Especially when you are on the road and exploring new terrain. Clean eating on a plant-based diet might sound like running on nothing but salad, but vegan clean eating is actually full of vibrant, delicious, and diverse foods, especially when you are traveling! Let us show you how it’s done!
Guest article by Helen Sanders from Health Ambition
What is CLEAN EATING? Clean eating has one main principle: Avoid overly-processed foods such as boxed meals, snacks, and enriched-grain products. Instead of white rice and pasta, the focus should be on whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and millet, to name a few. The rest is easy!
If some people think following a vegan eating plan is tough when they’re at home, they should really give it a go when traveling.
Now here’s a challenge for many of us, whether it’s a road trip to see relatives or an overseas vacation.
When you’re at home, you know where to source the things you need and you have all your regular kitchen gadgets and equipment around you. It’s a different story while you’re traveling!
You might be limited by the choice of ingredients you have to work with, or the cooking facilities available, or even by Aunt Zelda, who just doesn’t get going vegan and thinks you’ll get over it if she can persuade you to tuck into a great big steak with a side of eggs washed down with a glass of milk…hmmm…
So what to do? Well, at the risk of taking over Aunt Zelda’s kitchen with my new-fangled ideas, here are some pointers on clean, healthy vegan eating while you’re on the move.
How to eat clean while you are traveling!
#1 – Plan Ahead
This might be really obvious to some, but knowing what’s available in the area you are travelling through or to can have a huge impact. It can make the difference between a good meal and stopping at the first place you get to and trying to make do just because you’re hungry and you have no idea where to go.
Use apps like HappyCow or your usual search engine to find stores and restaurants that are vegan-friendly. There’s always a chance you might find a little gem of a restaurant anywhere, and but for a little research you’d never have known it was there!
#2 – Find A Farmer
Ok – it doesn’t actually have to be a farmer, but ask local people when and where farmer’s markets are held. The size of markets and availability of produce might vary from place to place, but this is one of the best chances to source the freshest organic food.
Depending on where you are in the world, you might get the chance to try some produce you’ve never experienced before which is always fun!
#3 – Bring Your Own…
I’m always one for trying local dishes whenever I can, but sometimes it just makes life a little easier to bring some of your own ingredients. Obviously nothing that needs refrigerating, but some raw wraps can come in handy if you know you can’t get anything like them where you’re going.
Some vegan protein powder, nuts or dried fruit means you are safe in the knowledge you have something to fill you up while you’re trying to source good clean local food (or think of ways to tactfully deal with Aunt Zelda). I’ve even been known to pack a blender in my baggage before now, so I have smoothies on tap!
#4 – …Or Send Yourself a Food Parcel
If you know where you’re going to be staying, consider shipping a parcel of your basic shelf-stable foods, powders and supplements ahead so it’s there when you arrive.
This is invaluable when baggage weight or space is limited, and is especially useful if you’re going to be away for an extended stay. It means that you can relax in the knowledge that you have your trusty staple foods to hand, especially in the first couple of days when you’re still getting a feel for your new location.
#5 – Eat Off-Peak
If you find a restaurant on your travels that looks good, tell the staff your dietary requirements. Many places are happy to accommodate all kinds of different dietary requirements – but not at times when every table is full and the chef already needs three extra pairs of hands.
Find out when the restaurant is quiet, be prepared to discuss your food choices and allow them some time to prepare. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by delicious off the cuff dishes which I’m pretty sure the chef took on as a challenge!
Eating clean food can be a challenge when travelling, but with a little bit of planning, a little imagination and patience, it really needn’t be a big deal.
If you’re on vacation, people want you to enjoy your stay and are generally happy to help with any special requests that will make your stay more comfortable for you.
Thankfully, people worldwide are becoming more aware of the benefits of organic wholesome food, and this is a bonus for us vegans! As to how to manage Aunt Zelda, well I’m afraid that’s down to you!
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.
** Images by Jen May