What energizes you?
Nourishment. We all need it to do the things we do. Hopefully, your goal is to fuel your body with nourishment to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. What’s the fuel that energizes you with the confidence, strength, and motivation to continue on with your adventures and daily life?
If you’ve ever traveled on the road for a long period of time, you might have realized already that eating healthy can be expensive! And if you’re on a budget like most of us who are living out of our vans, the cheaper the better! But most cheap foods aren’t the healthiest… I have discovered some healthy meals that are still rich in nutrition and WON’T break the bank.
Eating healthy and preparing healthy meals for your journey does not have to be an expensive chore. In fact, it can be an enjoyable experience if you know what to buy, how to make it last, and how to make it!
Protein is an essential part of a person’s diet and should not ever be left out of anyone’s diet. As a vegetarian, I understand the difficulties of finding sustainable protein while traveling! Protein helps build and repair tissues in your body. Technically, protein is a macronutrient (fancy word for saying you need it, a lot of it). Protein can’t really be stored in your body like other nutrients can. Once protein enters your body, it gets put to good use and fast! To my meat-eaters and my plant-eaters alike: it’s possible to include healthy, great-tasting protein to your backpacking, dirtbagging, traveling diet!
You’ll need a cooler to store the protein properly. Once you’ve got that, you’re ready to start loading up on protein! Here are some proteins that are rich in nourishment, easy to store, and simple to cook with for meals:
- veggie burgers
- plain greek yogurt
- canned tuna and canned salmon
- sunflower and pumpkin seeds (no cooler necessary!)
- eggs (no cooler necessary)
- eggplant (no cooler necessary!)
- beans: black, lentils, and garbonzo (no cooler necessary!)
- peanut butter (no cooler necessary!)
- (all of the above in Vegetarian/Pescatarian)
- ground turkey
- ground pork
- chicken breast
- lean beef
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and veggies are delicious, offer lots of variety, and are very nutritious! Vegetables are incredibly important to keep us energized and on our way. Fruits are FULL of vitamin A and vitamin C. Vegetables contain potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid. Skip out on the vegetables, and you’re skipping out on a whole lot of nutrients… Want a healthy immune system and to keep your body happy and healthy? Don’t resist the mouth-watering fruits and vegetables!
Needless to say, these play a prominent role in a healthy and happy nourishing lifestyle, too! But, fruits can be EXPENSIVE, right?Here are some inexpensive fruits and veggies that provide lots of nutritious benefits but don’t kill your dirtbagging budget:
- bananas (pro tip: get them borderline green so they’ll last longer and put them somewhere they won’t get smashed)
- mangoes (anyone ever tried a ‘green’ mango? comment and let me know how they taste!)
- apples (personal favorite: granny smith!)Avocadoes (YOU CAN DO SO MUCH WITH THESE…)
- grapefruit (personally, not a huge fan…)
- spinach (bunches of spinach are so cheap)
- sweet potatoes
- kale (yummy… kale salad!)
- bell peppers (ever tried these babies with some hummus or peanut butter?)
- cucumbers (so refreshing, especially with that peanut butter!)
- carrots (chomp! “What’s up doc?”)
Crag Snacks/ Travel Snacks
Snacks are important, too. But there are so many to choose from! As the passenger, your most important job is to be in charge of snack organization, execution, and delivery for the driver! At least, that’s my primary job while we travel and I’m not driving!
Snacks don’t have to be chips and just-okay-tasting granola bars! Besides, your body deserves more variety and access to sustenance. Here’s what I almost always pack in our snack bag that I have tucked away behind my seat for easy access:
- nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashews are our personal faves)
- fruits (apples, bananas, and pears are yummy)
- veggie chips (the need to eat something crunch and salty must not be ignored!)
- granola bars (just in case…)
- rice rolls/cakes
- carrot sticks and a small thing of peanut butter
- sliced cucumbers (don’t need to be in a cooler)
- dried fruit (mangoes and pineapples are our personal faves)
- dark chocolate (careful not to let it melt, though… guilty chocolate lover…)
- goldfish (if you must!)
Food You Should Always Have
As a dirtbagger, there are some foods that you should just always have stored in your rig. Everyone’s got their own tastes and opinions, and I’m so excited to hear what you all always have handy! But here’s what I always have in our makeshift pantry/cooler on the road:
- Don’t leave home without it:
- dehydrated food (Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai is our favorite!)
- peanut butter
- vegetable oil
- seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder)
- a couple of fruits (apples, mangoes, avocados, and bananas are good)
- a couple of veggies (lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, carrots)
- water (we have a 5 gallon jug, our personal water bottles, and our water filter)
- some kind of protein (choose from list above)
- nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.)