You know when you’re in the middle of nowhere & all you want to do is stuff your face because you’re so hungry? But you search for “vegan restaurants” or “health food store” near you, and all that comes up is Safeway or some other unknown grocery store and a bunch of fast food restaurants? Yeah, I feel your pain. Traveling on the road can be difficult as a vegan, or even as someone who is trying to stick to a healthy life style. Usually options are limited, and often times it’s easy to cave and indulge in greasy fast food fries or processed gas station junk food, like the powdered sugar mini doughnuts (those were always my fav).
In 2018 Alex and I did a lot of camping trips, a road trip up the coast of California and drove to Seattle from Boise a few times to visit my family. We kept it vegan & healthy along the way by doing a few of these simple ideas!
1. Meal Prep
First of all, if you have ever made the drive from Boise to Seattle on I 90, you know that there is literally nothing to see and nowhere to stop for food. We have done this 8-hour drive enough to know that we must plan ahead in order to not go hungry. Whenever I know we are driving somewhere where there won’t be healthy vegan food options, I always meal prep and make snacks to take along with us. Things like muffins, energy balls, veggies and hummus, sandwiches, chia pudding, fresh fruit, smoothies & even salads or rice bowls that you can pack in a cooler are all good options. This makes the trip much quicker because you don’t have to make any stops; you already have all you need right with you! It also stops you from eating fast food and gas station food, saves you money, and helps you maintain a healthy life style. Plus, homemade food is way better anyway!
2. Shop & Cook
This summer Alex and I took a trip down the California coast and camped out along the way. We drove from San Diego north to San Francisco and had the most amazing time. We were spoiled with vegan options all around us and while we wanted to take advantage of it because we don’t get vegan restaurants here in Boise, we also wanted to save a little money. So we ate out a little and cooked a little, creating a good balance of both. We would stop at grocery stores along the way and plan out what we wanted to eat, often times it would be soups and veggie stir fry’s for dinner and oatmeal & fruit for breakfast. We would also buy stuff to snack on, like veggies and hummus, nuts, granola, peanut butter, etc. Since we didn’t have a cooler to keep things cold, we would just take it day by day and luckily we were near a grocery store every place we camped. There is also something about camping food that tastes so amazing, maybe because your out in nature and the smell of the campfire is in the air and you know you made a delicious meal all yourself! I don’t know, maybe that’s just me, but I absolutely love it.
3. Plan your route
After driving to Seattle a handful of times, we finally thought- what about Portland! I always thought it was a much longer route going through Portland, but it only adds on an extra 45 minutes- totally worth it for a lunch stop and PLENTY of vegan options to choose from. Not only is it a prettier drive (you get to drive right by the Columbia river a good chunk of the way) but also Portland is booming with vegan restaurants. If you have the option, it definitely helps to do your research and plan the best route through areas that have good food options (or is it just me that plans their trips around food??) We ate at Harlow on the way there and Back to Eden Bakery on the way back, both delicious restaurants you guys need to check out!
On our California coastal trip we also planned ahead by looking up vegan restaurants in the towns we were going to be driving through. This helped a lot so that we knew exactly where we were going and could get the best out of our experience. If you don’t do your research you can end up missing out on some amazing places! Like Café Gratitude, our all time favorite. We loved it so much we went there three times in different cities! They have a location in San Diego, Newport Beach and Santa Cruz, each with their own creative flair. Thinking they need to come to Boise asap…. ;)
4. Find a Grocery Store
Another tip for when you’re on the road is to find a grocery store rather then fast food or a gas station, that way you can at least pick out some healthy options. This usually being veggies and hummus, fruit & nuts, granola, vegan yogurt, dark dark chocolate (always got to have a chocolate bar on hand), kombucha, green juice, almond butter, etc. The options are endless!
I hope you found these tips useful during your travels; inconvenience shouldn’t be an excuse to steer away from your goals!