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How to: Make healthy plant-based choices on-the-go

Author: Dana Lingard

Travel can be exhausting. Whether you are spending the day running errands or catching a flight to kick off a several-day trip, the last thing you want to be worried about is getting hangry on the road. When you throw in health goals, things can feel even more complicated. Picture this: you’re away from home, starving, and out of your element. You’re trying to eat more more whole foods, or giving a plant-based lifestyle a try, and not sure where to grab a satisfying, nutritious meal or snack that fits your needs. The number of decisions you’ve already made on this hypothetical day has been one too many, and while standing in line at the checkout of a gas station you see a bag of chips staring at you from the left (we’ve all been there!). You reach for that food without really thinking about it because you need something to fill your stomach. The trick to avoiding this type of situation? Being prepared!

Travel, without a doubt, invites many unpredictable elements – your food choices do not have to be one of them. If you are interested in making healthy plant-based choices while staying happy on-the-go, you’re in the right place!

Drink water

This seems obvious, but staying hydrated is key. Many calorically-dense food cravings are born from misinterpreted thirst. Dehydration is not something to trifle with! Bring a travel water bottle around with you and fill it up whenever you have an opportunity, and to serve as visual encouragement to stay hydrated. Having a sufficient water intake will also lend you a clearer mind while you tackle your busy day!
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Choose fresh snacks

Snacks are essential. There are instances where your meal times will not be regular, and you will need something to tide you over in between them. For short-term travels, opt for fresh foods over packaged when you can. Even if you are away from a refrigerator for hours at a time, these options will keep just fine!

  • Fresh fruit: berries, oranges, and other citrus fruits are fantastic quick-fix snacks, while fruits like bananas, apples, and pears serve as a more filling option (you can even find many fresh fruits in convenience stores when you’re in a pinch)
  • Crisp veggies: sliced cucumber, chopped bell pepper, baby carrots, fresh celery, and even cherry tomatoes are all fabulous road snacks, especially when paired with a satiating dip like hummus

Seeking options that will keep for longer periods of time? Read on!

Consider portable snacks

  • Nut butter packets: arguably one of the best ideas ever, these single serve packets are perfect for throwing in a bag or your pocket, and come in many flavors (almond butter, peanut butter, chocolate hazelnut butter, etc.)
  • Trail mix: this is a wonderful snack that you could even make yourself and take along on your travels (stock up on components like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate pieces, etc, and mix them as you please)
  • Granola/protein bars: go for options that have recognizable ingredients and a whole-food focus when you choose processed foods like these
  • Protein powders: in a pinch, plant-based protein powders shaken with nut milk or water can provide easy and long-lasting fullness while you are out and about

Whenever possible, opt to fill up on green foods like fresh fruits and veggies. These will hold you over until your next opportunity for a meal if you are running around town. Choosing more protein-rich snacks like those found in the latter list can keep you full longer, just remember to watch your portions as they can also be higher in calories!

Find healthy fast food options

Being prepared isn’t always something that is realistic. Sometimes you find yourself out and in need of sustenance, with nothing but quick-serve establishments calling your name. Burger joints often offer salads with veggies, and many taco/burrito eateries boast plentiful options for those seeking a plant-based dining experience (no cheese and extra beans, please!). When it comes down to it, the fries are not your only option. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make substitutions when possible!

A busy schedule paired with travel and dietary restrictions can seem like an unconquerable beast at times. Staying prepared will help you maintain your energy and positivity throughout those long days on the move. Don’t let your elephant makes friends with the hunger monster! Happy travels!