In pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, 6% of the US population are currently on a vegan diet. However, the desire to be healthy and eat more consciously is not without its obstacles. Numerous factors can contribute to us veering away from our diets. For busy individuals, for instance, their lack of time and availability or access to healthy meals can be determinants of failed diet management. Traveling, specifically, can compromise our commitment to stick to a vegan diet when plant-based options seem few and far between.
Image credit: Pexels
Living an on-the-go lifestyle shouldn’t be a detriment to your health goals. In this article, we shed light on the nuances of being a vegan while traveling and how feasible it is to stay on track.
What is it like to be vegan while traveling?
Whether you’re traveling for leisure or work, vegan diets can be affected by various circumstances when you’re constantly on the move.
Traveling for leisure
When you’re away for leisure, it can be challenging to find vegan provisions, especially when you don’t know where to begin. Seemingly limited vegan options can cause you to stray from healthy foods. On plane rides alone, you may not be provided with vegan-friendly alternatives and resort to packed granola mixes instead.
Getting to your destination opens another host of problems. For the average traveler, one trip highlight is the local cuisine. While it isn’t bad to indulge in these meals, some of them may contain meat or animal by-products. That said, research goes a long way. There’s been a surge in plant-centric hotels and restaurants that offer whole food plant-based meals. In Mexico, vegan bars have been operating beside tourist-heavy beaches and serving Chaya leaf wraps. Hotels in Greece have also been opening vegan restaurants. These accommodations can mean the world for vegan travelers looking for healthier options on their trip.
Traveling for work
When your profession entails traveling, there can be instances where your diet takes less priority. This is especially true for jobs that are demanding, either consisting of long hours or little to no breaks. Travel nurses, for one, are called to hospitals or clinics in different states, and the stress to adapt to new environments can be disadvantageous to their dietary habits. If you factor in packed shift assignments, it can be challenging to stay on track with their diet and find vegan options. Likewise, flight attendants report that a significant barrier to their diets is the lack of access to healthy foods. While on board the airplane, they aren’t given reserved fridge storage to accommodate fresh foods. Flight attendants also report struggles in visiting local groceries or restaurants— this is because stringent safety protocols from recent years have reduced operating hours of the mentioned establishments. Otherwise, they don’t have enough time to shop for healthy foods due to late arriving flights or shorter layover durations.
The demands of work can clearly limit access to nutritious meals, making it difficult to sustain a vegan diet that requires fresh, plant-based ingredients.
Is it truly possible to stick to a vegan diet during your travels? It definitely requires a lot of planning, but with a few adjustments to your routine, vegans can maintain their diets while traveling. The key is forethought, and this applies to those who either travel for work or leisure alike. Select fiber-rich, nutrient-dense foods which are easily available and easily prepared. If you're busy during weekdays, carve out an hour to go grocery shopping on the weekends. Stock up on vegetables and fruits, and pick out snacks that are easy to bring on the go like grains and nuts. The next thing you should consider is meal planning. It’s easy to forego healthy meals and rely on options that can quickly abate hunger, like fast food or processed snacks. This is why you should prep your meals in advance. You can combine dried fruits and nuts to create your own trail mix, or carry high-fiber fruits like apples to satiate your appetite. Otherwise, you can also subscribe to a local vegan meal kit delivery service. This way, you’re given high-quality and fresh ingredients at your convenience. Ultimately, the short answer to the question is yes, you can stay vegan while traveling — provided that you do your research, maintain discipline, and incorporate healthy plant-based foods in meals.
Article written by Reggie Grace