The Plant-Strong Traveler


Whether you are headed to the Andes, Chicago, or the Jersey Shore, preparing plant-strong food makes the journey easier and more delightful.  While airports, train stations, and turnpike stops are becoming more plant-friendly, it’s still prudent to “pack your own.”

Not too long ago, we were traveling just four hours from home, and I thought that I could “make it” without packing food for travel.  But, extreme traffic turned a four-hour trip into an eight hour adventure.  We ended up stopping at a roadside gas station that had a “snack bar.”  While the plethora of items was mainly food from the Standard American Diet (SAD), I was able to find some limp celery and carrot sticks, an apple, and a bottle of water.  I wasn’t doing a plant-strong dance, but I was able to have a nice snack, all the time thinking, “You gotta get your food prep game together.”  The snack was nearly $6.00.  The guy behind me commented about my “rabbit food” as he was ready to scarf down on soda and chips.

If you’re traveling, the first thing is to head to a dollar store and get lots of containers in various sizes…from two ounces and up.  They’re perfect.  Pack them with your favorite foods, label them, and remember to stay within the liquid ounce guidelines.   For air travel, I am sure of the fact that I could become wealthy when it is food time in flight.  While everyone else is eating whatever food is available, I might be enjoying some Engine 2 burgers, baked potatoes, fresh veggies, hummus, and fresh fruit.  And, then, you get that “stare,” or people will ask, “Where did you get that?”  Sometimes they even ask if they can buy a snack from me!

I’ve seen photos from friends who travel where they boast that airlines serve “vegan-friendly” foods.  And while this is a step in the right direction, many of the foods are still packed with salt, oil, and sugar.

Remember to get a soft cooler to stuff into your carry on, this way, your food will maintain its proper temps.

On the Road:  It’s pretty easy to keep a cooler in the car, I pack E2 hummus, fresh veggies, fruit, filtered water, etc.  If the trip is going to be extra long, I might add brown rice cakes, whole grain tortillas, and other foods that will make a good wrap.  Remember to pack a “trash bag,” so that you can dispose of any waste from your meal.  If you’re traveling by bus, this is also very doable.

On the Rails:  Yes, there are café cars on trains, but for the most part, the food is from a 1957 menu.  If the food is “vegan,” it is heated in a plastic bag in a microwave.  Eat deliciously and safely and pack a small bag of some of your favorites.  Avoid the pitfalls and aromas from the train station, and grab a magazine and enjoy your snacks.  There are also food eateries in stations that do make salads, and you can snatch a plant-strong version.  But, packing your own is always easiest.

In the Air:  Airline terminals are packed with food for all palates with healthy places that are erupting where organic and plant-based foods are served.  Friends report that they have been able to easily navigate a menu to make it E2 compliant.  If you’re headed to the friendly skies, there are “mini” ice packs to use to keep your foods chilled,  they meet the liquid requirement and do a great job chilling your foods and keeping them at temp.  I like to pack baked potatoes, fresh fruit, hummus, and E2 burgers.  Sometimes, a salad works, too.  The other thing to think about?  Once you land, how long of a van or car ride do you have to your destination?  When I travel to Honduras, there is a very bumpy and long drive in an un-air conditioned van that it packed tightly.  Knowing that I am well fed and hydrated, makes the final leg of the trip much easier.

On the Seas:  Nowadays, cruise lines accommodate many dietary considerations.  Just stay away from the dessert bars at midnight and you should be okay.  Let the wait-staff know about your dietary practices.

I am a penny-pincher, so I always travel with my own food.  I also pack bags of brown rice, so that it can be used at the guest house where I am staying.  And the other thing to think about?  How can you repeat your best plant-strong practice for the return trip home?

No matter where you’re headed, have a great time, and keep it plant-strong!  A few summers ago on my way to Plant-Stock,  a snack shop on the New York State Thruway was serving big bowls of fresh fruit, so it seems as though everyone is asking for healthier foods.

I sure hope so!