When you have a million and one things on your plate, you need the energy to get them done. Eating vegan when you’re not home can be stressful for many people. Driving home on an empty stomach at the end of a long day just compounds the stress, so do away with it entirely! These tips will help you prepare to bring your food during a fast-paced drive, but also tell you ways to make ordering out a quick and easy process. Whether you need to order takeout down the block or just roll through the drive-thru, here’s how to eat vegan on the go.
Prepare for a Snack Attack
If you’re a chronically busy person, you know that the urge to snack only strikes when you have the least amount of time. If you have to shuttle kids from school to soccer to a friend’s birthday party, all while picking up the dry cleaning and the groceries, you’re going to be hungry enough to eat…well, not a brontosaurus, but probably those giant mega-flora leaves the brontosaurus ate!
Combat hunger pains by planning wherever possible. Get a box of vegan granola bars, chocolate bars, or similar shelf-stable, long-lived snacks, and stash them wherever you’re likely to be when hunger strikes. We have a lot of vegan snacks available on our shopping page if you need some inspiration. Also, keeping a bag of healthy chips around for when hunger hits should take the edge off. The car and your office desk are great ideas for hoarding snacks, but keeping some in the locker at the gym or in your purse or backpack could work too.
Fast Food can be Friendlier than You Think
Veganism is rising in popularity in most of the world. As such, there are more vegan options rolling out in chain restaurants and even fast food joints every year. Depending on where you are it can be easier or harder to find options; the US has a much harder time than the UK or Australia. Even in the United States, however, it’s easy to find at least a few things. Burger King, Taco Bell, and Dunkin’ Donuts all have very popular vegan items!
Don’t Be Afraid to Substitute
Often, the key to eating vegan without slowing down is not wasting time trying to find a vegan restaurant open for takeout. The key is to find dishes that can be customized, and asking for them!
A lot of people don’t want to make a fuss when calling in their takeout order. As long as you’re polite, though, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You want to order from them, and the restaurant wants to make a sale!
With more and more people wanting or needing special diets, it’s also become increasingly common for people to ask what’s in a meal before ordering it. You won’t stand out, and even if a restaurant can’t accommodate you, it’s useful data for them that they’re losing a sale by not doing so. The more incentive they have to create vegan options, the better.
Good old PB&J
Learn Common Safe Vegan Foods
Learning reliable vegan foods can speed up the process of grabbing a bite. Aside from the obvious options, like just eating fruits and vegetables, here are some commonly vegan dishes.
PB&J is a favorite of kids and vegans alike! While some jams may have gelatin in them as a gelling agent, it’s becoming increasingly uncommon. A single question about that could have you eating a tasty, protein-filled sandwich in minutes.
Sourdough bread is commonly vegan, as most recipes are made with just flour, salt, water, and the sourdough starter. Again, a great compliment to PB&J!
You can ask for things to be fried or sauteed in olive oil as opposed to butter, and have olive oil and herbs as a spread instead of aioli or mayo.
Many dishes in Asian or Indian cuisines are commonly vegan or vegetarian, and you should be able to find options at almost any restaurant. Just to be sure to ask about any “hidden” animal products, like fish sauce or ghee (clarified butter), and explain you’d like yours cooked using plain soy sauce or oil.
Vegan chickpea curry with spinach, potatoes, and naan.
Only Opt for Fake Meat in a Pinch
These days, vegan options are popping up more and more in the form of meat replacements. While some meat replacements (like the granddaddy of them all, tofu!) are nutritious and filling, many of the newer ones don’t have the same nutrition and fill-you-up fiber. If you know that you’re only going to have time for one meal today, ditch the vegan “beef” burger and opt for a more filling black bean burger instead.
Filling up on lots of beans, rice, and vegetables will keep you full and satisfied for a lot longer than a serving of fake meat. These items are alright as a treat and can taste fantastic, but they won’t see you through the day. Opt for whole, minimally processed food whenever possible and you’ll save time and hunger pains.
Bagel with Kite Hill Garden Veggie Cream Cheese | Photo: Nicole @veganshowoff
Vegan Breakfast on the Go
This could be anything that you could quickly make at home and eat in the car with you such as a bagel with vegan cream cheese, a container of overnight oats, a smoothie, a cup of cereal with your favorite plant milk, and of course, avocado toast! Don’t forget your coffee, tea, lemon water, or whatever morning pick me up you prefer!
Vegan black bean burger with beetroot and quinoa.
Vegan Lunch Ideas on the Go
For lunch, you could defer to eating out if you didn’t have the time to plan ahead and bring a to-go meal with you. You can also bring leftovers from dinner the night before. When you take time to make dinner for yourself or your family, get in the habit of cooking an extra-large portion of whatever you’re making so you can package some up and eat it the next day for lunch. If there’s too much, depending on what it is, you can always freeze it in single-serve portions for future meals.
Eating vegan meals on the go can seem challenging at times, but it can be done. Whether you’re on a road trip or just trying to figure out how to avoid getting hangry while running errands all day, these tips will keep you in vegan bliss. Travel confidently, knowing you can find satisfying vegan options anywhere you go.
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