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With veganism on the rise globally, food vendors everywhere are starting to find that they have to adapt their businesses to support the different demands that veganism brings. However, the pace of veganism’s growth varies considerably from country to country, and it is still far from a mainstream lifestyle. As a result, there are many destinations where it can still be challenging to find places that will easily cater to a vegan diet.
Often, traveling as a vegan can take more planning than you may have initially anticipated. Depending on where you are traveling to, and with which airline, you may be lucky enough to receive a good in-flight meal, but what are some key items that you could pack in your case to ensure that you enjoy healthy, balanced and tasty vegan food experiences throughout your trip?
Before you start packing, you’ll need to make sure that you have checked the customs regulations for the country you will be visiting, as some places, such as Australia, have very strict rules about what food items can be brought into the country. Typically, these rules most commonly apply to animal products such as eggs, dairy and meat, so they may not impact your packing as a vegan. But, the regulations can extend to seeds, nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables. No one wants to have taken the time and effort to plan and buy food for your trip, only to arrive at customs and have to throw most of it away.
Also, it is worth researching the local cuisine where you will be visiting. Some places, such as Bali or Los Angeles, are great for vegans whereas others can be a little more complicated, particularly when it comes to ‘hidden’ ingredients in food such as tofu in East Asia often being cooked in fish broth, or ghee being used in most vegetable dishes in India. Knowing what to expect where you are visiting will help you know how much (and what) food to bring with you in your case.
Wherever you go, you are pretty much guaranteed to be able to find carbohydrate sources. Frequently, the only options available to vegans are chips or salad. So, when it comes to deciding what to pack in your luggage, focusing on protein sources is very important. The easiest way to cover this is by packing protein powder (as well as a shaker cup, too). Some good options that taste great with only water added are the Bulk Powders vegan powder, which has the added bonus of being in a compostable package, or, alternatively, a more high-end protein like Form Nutrition. These shakes make great snacks throughout the day.
Some more great options to help you cover your protein requirements whilst you are away are precooked lentils, tofu, tempeh or protein bars. It is always worth checking if your room will have a fridge.
Nutritional yeast can also be a great option. Not only is it very light weight, but it’s also packed with vitamin B12, which is important for vegans. The nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, nutty taste to any meal — from soups to salads. If you want to go all out with flavorings, you can even pack your own spices or favorite sauces to bring with you to accompany any meals you may be eating during your trip.
Even if it might not sound like it, baby food is a good choice for vegan travelers. You can buy pouches of baby food, which make a great healthy snack. If you are not keen to try it but still want to ensure that you get in your daily dose of greens, there are plenty of drinkable veggie powders that can be mixed with water in a shaker. Other great snacks that keep well in a suitcase are dried fruits, nuts, granola, trail mix, rice cakes and your favorite vegan chocolate.
The best way to approach traveling as a vegan is to go with an open mind, realizing that things may not be as easy as they are at home. But, preparing for your travels in advance can make it a better experience.
Featured photo by martin-dm / Getty Images.
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