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Aah, the open road. Just you, the tarmac, some fellow vegan friends, a dog you picked up on the side of the road, and endless disputes over who gets to control Spotify.
The only thing missing from this fellowship is sustenance - something that vegans can find quite hard to come by on the side of the I-90. That's why the clever ones think ahead and pack their snacks.
For those unfamiliar with the art of picking and packing vegan snacks ahead of a road trip, this article is for you.
Ensuring you have vegan food in your car ahead road trips might not be an obvious thing to do. Many of us who have a healthy relationship with food don't think about eating all the time. Certainly not while driving.
We're used to cooking our vegan food at home, dining out, or guilting our friends into preparing us something to eat.
The fact is, your body needs energy. Whether you're working out, lying in a hammock reading, or having a trip down the open road, food is critical. I'm not going to go into the science here. At this point, a smart vegan like you should know this.
However, you need to ensure they have enough to nibble on between destinations because it makes you a better driver. Road trips are awesome, but they're also risky. Spending many days on the road has its dangers - mostly the road itself.
In a study conducted by Shell in 2017, results proved that road users' concentration levels were significantly affected when they were either hungry or dehydrated.
"Just like how you need to fuel up your car before going on a drive, our body needs our own fill as well. Driving while you're hungry, especially in this heavy traffic, can really affect your mood and focus, which can have detrimental effects to your driving."
- Nadine Tengco, Fitness Nutritionist
So, here's our list of the best plant-based road trip snacks. Also, be sure to stick around to the end of the article where we'll give you some handy extra info on the dos and don'ts of eating while on the road.
Right, so before we get into why this is one of the best vegan snacks out there, be aware that aiming for a dipping bowl while driving is not a great idea.
Unless you have a car with a mechanical arm that can somehow find the veggies, dipping bowl and your mouth.
In which case, I have to ask why you're reading this article and not out driving and being fed by your awesome friggin' car?
Seriously though, veggies and dips are one of the best vegan road foods. They don't take up a lot of space. They're super healthy and delicious.
Plus, there are tons of different options. Cucumber, carrots, celery, asparagus… you get the idea. As for the dips, my personal favorites are hummus and peanut butter.
Just be careful. Keep the dipping bowl close to you. Don't take your eyes off the road!
Pringles are the ultimate vegan gas station snacks. Sadly, not all the flavors qualify for this status.
The chip itself is vegan, but it's in the flavors that they get you. Some of the most popular options are off-limits, like Sour Cream and Onion.
Fortunately, Pringles isn't a company that sits back and watches as their existing range of products stagnate. Nope, these guys are constantly putting out new flavors.
So if you're looking for a vegan friendly chips that has a bit of a "guilty-but-not-guilty" vibe going for it, Pringles are terrific snacks for road trips.
We can confirm that Original and Paprika flavors are both plant-based snacks. As you explore other flavors, be sure to check out the ingredients.
Plant-based jerky is a thing now, and they're an amazing vegan road trip snack. They're especially popular among vegans who still crave a "meaty" flavor and texture in their snacks.
Options and brands abound, so we're not gonna get into that. Most decent food shops that have a vegan section should have these on the shelves.
What makes these attractive as vegan snacks on the go is that there are a ton of flavors available. Vegan snack producers are all clamoring for a grip on this market and continue to produce a wide variety of yummy options.
For vegan snacks to go, nothing beats the convenience of mixed nuts. For decades they've been the go-to option for anyone looking for a quick snack while on the move.
A handful of these bad boys have seen many a hiker and driver through a long stretch without any sustenance. They’re perfect snacks for road trips.
Again, many brands are producing a great selection of vegan mixed nuts. My advice would be to go for a product that has the widest variety of nuts. If you're gonna invest in a vegan snack that's "mixed," do it right.
Many mixed nut products tend to skimp on the more exotic (and delicious) nuts and overcompensate with boring old peanuts. Be aware of this tactic.
You don't want your snack to bore you. Remember, you paid for something that says "mixed" on the label.
As far as vegan on the go meals is concerned, this is as ideal as it gets. Mainly because of the variety and cost. Regular, unsweetened, vegan-friendly dried fruit is relatively inexpensive and offers a massive variety of flavors and textures.
In my experience, all of these are plant-based, and no product I'm aware of compromises this during the drying-out process.
The critical thing is that you steer clear of the sweetened variety. These are seldom, if ever, vegan friendly.
These are also likely to be one of the healthiest options in our list of vegan travel snacks.
Most unsweetened products are gluten-free, and you can easily check on the label whether they contain GMOs, artificial flavoring, or preservatives.
Yup, you read it right, folks. America's favorite "edible plates" are fantastic vegan road trip snacks. Just like Pringles, they do have somewhat of a reputation as the go-to snack for lazy stoners looking for something to munch on at 2 am.
Don't let this fool you into thinking they're not a feasible option for a vegan going on a road trip. Again, be aware of flavorings. Regular Ritz crackers are absolutely vegan-friendly snacks.
But if you want to have a bit of a flavor variety, I suggest pre-preparing some with vegan toppings rather than finding a flavored Ritz (peanut butter is a great option).
You're gonna struggle to find a healthy, vegan Ritz flavor for your road trip.
Eating vegan snacks while on a road trip is necessary and healthy. But try to stick to these four guidelines to make sure you're not putting your health at risk.
Just because you're eating vegan snacks doesn't mean you should constantly be eating. Road trips can be boring, so make sure you have enough distractions to prevent you from constantly putting food into your face. There are some terrific vegan lifestyle podcasts to keep yourself entertained.
When you do decide it's time for a vegan snack, don't overdo it. Ration your eating during your road trip. Just because there's a seemingly endless stretch of road ahead of you doesn't mean your stockpile of vegan snacks is endless. You've got a long way to go. So take it easy with the portions.
It's not just about the snacks, people. Your body needs sustenance, but don't limit its intake to food alone. If a section of your road trip is very long, make sure you're well-stocked with water and vegan friendly sodas.
If you wonder can you enjoy some hot chocolate while traveling, you can. Just make sure that it's made from pure (vegan-friendly) cocoa powder.
As above, if your trip is particularly long, snacks alone aren't going to cut it. You need a proper meal. Not just because you can't exist on snacks alone, but also because you need to take a mental break from the trip occasionally.
Can vegan snacks travel with you? You bet! There are tons of options aside from the six we mentioned here. Road Trips are fun and exciting. There's no reason why your snacking can't also be just because you're vegan.