Eating healthfully on the run isn’t easy to put it lightly, but add eating plant-based to that challenge and you’re really up for a task. Sadly, fast food is one of the largest avenues for animal suffering and cheap, easy meals on the run. Fast food isn’t just addictive and harmful to you, but it’s also misleading and scary considering what really goes on in the fast food industry. Anyone eating a plant-based diet knows that eating on the go is totally possible – it just takes a bit more creativity and knowledge.
Have no fear though – eating on the go and eating plant-based doesn’t have to be more expensive or time consuming, and isn’t really that hard once you know the basics. Even with all the processed hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and dairy ice cream or coffee with dairy milk on every fast food menu, delicious plant-based options do still exist.
Eating plant-based on the go means you won’t suffer digestion problems hours later (which traveling can make worse or contribute to for some) and you wont’ be gaining weight from all the unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol found in animal foods. You’ll be eating to provide your body with energy, giving your heart quality nutrients, giving your digestion a break, and contributing to an awesome cause with your dollars (not an industry that promotes otherwise).
What do ya say – let’s eat plant-based on the go, shall we?
1. Ignore the Main Menu
If you were to only look at the menu choices of most fast food restaurants, I’d be willing to bet you wouldn’t find one item that was 100 percent plant-based (unless you eat at one of these awesome exclusively vegan spots or food trucks.) Still – there’s no need to fear; you can completely create a plant-based meal yourself, no matter what the menu says otherwise.
All you need to do is simply ask for a salad without meat, eggs and cheese. Then ask for extra veggies, a side of fruit, and get a side of guacamole, some mustard, or ask for some salsa if they have it. These make great salad toppers and add flavor and nutrients to your foods without any animal products at all.
- Croutons usually contain milk (along with gluten and trans fats) so leave those off too.
- When it comes to coffee, ask for yours without milk or see if they have soy milk you could use as a creamer instead.
- For dessert, opt for a fruit cup if they have one or just bring some vegan dark chocolate to have instead.
2. Have a Backup Plan
The best option for anyone trying to eat healthfully on the road is to have a great back up plan. This usually means bringing something portable that can suffice for a meal if need be or supplementing something you bring along with an item off the menu. For instance, one thing I like to do is carry an all natural, organic plant-based protein bar with me that I can easily pair with a plain salad off any fast food menu or a side of veggies and fruit. If protein bars or whole food bars aren’t your thing, fresh fruit and nuts make an easy meal on the run, too. You can easily toss bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and dried fruit like a mini box of raisins in your bag along with some raw almonds, cashews, and walnuts. Individual cups of applesauce and oatmeal are another great option, along with dried fruit and veggie chips. Or you can really be on top of your game and make some vegan granola bars or raw treats to take with you, too.
Several companies also make plant-based protein powders in individual packets that you could bring with you on the go. Having a back up plan is an awesome way to fret less about having something healthy to eat and you can be sure of where the food came from versus eating off a fast food menu where several hands have been in your meal before yours have!
3. Know Your Chains
Many chains offer exclusively plant-based meals, which I think is totally awesome. For instance, PETA has a growing list of chains that are going plant-based for their customers and there are some awesome apps you can download to make things easier, too. Knowing what chains can help you eat plant-based is a great way to eat healthy and support an important cause. It also raises the demand for plant-based items to be offered on menus which will make things much easier for all of us over time.
Never forget that every convenience store has something plant-based you can buy if you’re in a real pinch. Nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruit, fruit and nut bars, salads, veggies, and even boxes of rice and oatmeal are all available at most stores and can be mixed with some hot water in the microwave at any convenient store location. Eating plant-based is really quite easy if you make things simple and stick to the basics no matter if you’re at a restaurant, convenient store, or just in your car.
How do you eat plant-based on the road? Any great meal ideas? Let’s hear ’em!
Image source: extended epiphany/Flickr