I just got back from 1 month backpacking Indonesia and the Philippines! Traveling as a vegan can often be difficult. Below are the vegan travel snacks I brought to prepare for long plane rides, travel days and how to stay healthy (let alone fed) in places where it is un-heard of to be a vegetarian. (Literally the word does not exist in the Philippines, sometimes they laugh when you tell them).
On the average day I am not a big granola bar eater (unless I make them myself). Mostly because I think there are yummier foods to eat and I like cooking! But I love to bring them for vegan travel snacks, especially in foreign countries where it can be hard to find vegan food. There have been too many times I have been hangry and wandering in a hot country where no one speaks English with my giant pack trying to find food or my hostel and I am saved by a Lara bar!
Below are the ones I bought, Lara bars being the staple and I also thought I would try some funky new ones I found in my organic store! I buy bars with the simplest ingredients possible, these ones are all made of dates, nuts, and other dried fruit and spices. Look at the ingredients on the granola bars you buy, many are made mostly of syrups, sugars and many other things you can’t pronounce! This way the bars actually keep you full and you are also avoiding heavily processed foods.
Lara Bars – A classic, can be found anywhere, they have a bunch of new flavours. My favourite is Apple Cinnamon, Coconut Cream and Peanut Butter but I also brought a Cashew. They also have: Lemon, Blueberry, Brownie and Chocolate Chip!
My Favourites: Mango Roo Ball (these have so many other flavours, I will definitely buy again)! Apple Cinnamon Maze Bar (Similar to the Lara Bars but a bit bigger with more chunks)!
Make your own! If you are going on a shorter trip it would be cheaper, more environmentally friendly (and probably tastier) to make your own granola bars. I love minimalist bakers peanut butter granola bars! Or make your own Lara bars!
I find breakfast can be the hardest thing to find in a foreign country. Usually there is a local option which is savoury and consists of veggies, rice, meat etc. I personally love a sweet breakfast! Most hostels, hotels and restaurants have ‘western’ breakfasts but this is usually, eggs or yogurt and granola. I brought a giant bag of homemade muesli so that each day when there is nothing for breakfast I can just add hot water and whatever fruit is available. I am also bringing so packs of instant oatmeal, for travel days and breakfast on the go.
2 Cup quick oats
1 Cup buckwheat groats
1/2 Cup Chia Seeds
1/2 Cup Hemp Seeds
1/2 Cup Ground flax
1/2 Cup Coconut
1/3 Cup Cacao Nibs
1/2 Cup Chopped dates
4 tsp Cinnamon
Additional Add Ins: Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Maca, other spices (nutmeg, ginger, cardamon, turmeric, or vanilla)
If you’re like me you need something sweet after dinner! For a quick vegan snack on the go, or an option if there is no fruit of vegan suitable dessert I am bought a ZazuBean dark chocolate bar. I like Zazubean because it is sweetened with coconut sugar instead of refined sugar. They are also delicious and have many flavours! I am also bringing some Nomz energy bites. Although you can buy many different energy balls these days, these are my favourite. Really rich and chocolatey, made from whole ingredients and they are also a Canadian company!
Verdict: BRING MORE CHOCOLATE THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED. This chocolate was a saviour on travel days. Good thing there were lots of Oreos in Asia to keep me happy! Not the healthiest but a staple vegan junk food!
Cutlery & Straw: To use on the plane and carry with me so I do not have to get plastic cutlery and straws all the time!
Trail Mix: Almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried mulberries
This was what I had in my pantry, but feel free to get creative! Try cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, goji berries, coconut chips, cacao nibs.
Dried Figs: My favourite snack, good for sweet craving! (really random but I’m calling it now these will be the new dates)
Soy Milk Powder: Kind of gross. But I am brought some in case of emergency to add to cereal/muesli. I also like to have english breakfast tea with milk when I feel like something ‘homey’. In the end I didn’t end up using it that much, other than 1 cup of tea.
Lotus Foods Instant Ramen: An emergency meal for a long travel day. I ate these at 4am in the Tapei airport and they were YUMMY! I would buy the large pack again to make ramen at home. Ramen noodles made out of brown rice and millet with a miso soup mix. You can also get black rice and other varieties.
Taste Adventure Instant Soup Cup: Made of just dehydrated vegetables and spices. I ate it one night when my travel partner was sick and I could be bothered to walk in the heat to get food! Would be a good emergency meal if you were traveling with someone that was not a vegetarian (luckily I was).
Verdict: I wouldn’t serve it to the Queen, but it was good for instant soup.
My Stance on Protein/Greens Powder:
I think they are marketing scams! I believe it’s best and easiest to get all your protein and nutrients from whole foods. If you eat a balanced plant-based diet you definitely do not have to rely on expensive powders. Additionally, a lot of powders have a lot of added chemicals, binders and flavouring making it much healthier to just eat food!
However when traveling in a foreign culture where a plant-based diet is less common, it was good to have in case of emergency and to supplement what I am already eating. These powders are all made from relatively whole ingredients with minimal additives. When traveling I would get smoothies, just on the street you stands blend up fresh fruit and ice it is delicious! I would simply ask them to add the packet of protein powder! I also used them on long boat days or scuba dives. Often the only option was white rice and fruit (but really good fruit). I would mix them with water to sustain me until dinner.
Plane Food – What I Ate on a 25 hr. Flight
There is a rumor that you cannot bring fresh fruit and vegetables on international flights, this is not true! As long as you eat it on the plane before you go through customs it is ok! On long journey’s where you have a layover in another country and then reach your final destination, you usually do not have to go through customs, just change gates therefore your meals will last the whole time! I tried to pack foods which would stay fresh until I arrived.
Meal 1: Kale salad, with lemon, quinoa, lentils, fresh veggies and herbs. – The lemon keeps the kale soft but not soggy, any other salad greens may get soggy. (Brought this because I knew I would eat it relatively soon)
Meal 2: Fresh Rolls: Rice paper rolled with carrots, cucumber, edamame, mango, pepper and herbs
Meal 3: Oatmeal mixture (packed in a jar) – added hot water and a banana
Other snacks: 2 Apples, 2 Oranges, Apple Cinnamon Lara Bar
Other ideas: any kind of quinoa/grain salad in a mason jar (Try Sweet Potato Pomegranate Quinoa Salad), sushi (homemade or bought before hand), pasta salad, rice cakes with avocado and toppings.