These days, more and more people are opting to adopt vegetarian (or even vegan!) diets, and for quite a wide variety of reasons, including but not limited to the potential ethical dilemma of consuming meat and other animal products, concerns about the environmental impact and sustainability of a meat-oriented diet, interest in developing eating habits that are beneficial for long-term health, and many more.
Of course, developing a vegetarian diet and sticking to it isn’t easy, especially in the Western world where, for the average person, meat often serves as the centerpiece of a meal. Stories abound of longtime vegetarians who resign themselves to a non-vegetarian lifestyle after years of struggling with the accumulated and myriad frustrations of being vegetarian.
In order to effectively manage their dietary limitations, most vegetarians develop a personalized system that suits their daily schedule, but if you’re a vegetarian going on an RV trip, you can’t just “copy-paste” your system to suit your life on the road. There are unique limitations inherent to living and traveling in an RV that can make vegetarianism even more difficult if you’re not prepared.
So, what can you do to ensure that your RV trip is both easy and fun as a vegetarian? Consider the following tips and tricks!
Invest in Meat Substitutes for Classic Recipes
If you’re going RVing, then you’re likely going to incorporate at least a few outdoorsy sights and activities over the course of your trip. But camping and the outdoors is not just about the nature experience — it’s also about the food! Hot dogs and burgers are so closely associated with the camping and barbecue experience that it would be unfortunate to avoid them altogether, especially if you’re going on a family trip with kids. Consider using soy and seitan meat substitutes so that you can incorporate classic camping foods into your trip. As an added benefit, store-bought meat substitutes tend to keep well. You can save yourself some time and effort down the line by stocking meat substitutes in the RV fridge for use throughout your journey.
Though many vegetarians prefer to make their own meat substitutes using fresh, unprocessed ingredients (i.e., bean patties, among other unprocessed substitutes), doing so on the road is likely to be difficult given that most RVs have cramped kitchen facilities. If you generally avoid processed foods, you may want to consider redeeming some of your “cheat” days for those classic campfire meals!
Purchase Pre-chopped Ingredients
Pre-chopped fruits and vegetables will go a long way towards making your life easier on the road. It’s no secret that some days out on the road can be extremely tiresome. Whether you’ve spent a long day hiking, or dealing with a mechanical issue in your RV, or navigating a bad customer service experience at your RV campground, there will be times when you simply don’t have the interest or energy to spend significant time with food prep. It’s worth spending a little extra money and stocking up on some pre-chopped ingredients for use on those particularly difficult RVing days.
Visit Local Farm Stands and Farmers’ Markets
If you’re running low on food supplies on your RV trip, plan a visit to a local farm stand or farmers’ market. Local produce is usually cheaper and of higher quality than supermarket produce, and further, you’ll be helping to directly support small farms in an era where many farms are industrial operations managed by multimillion dollar corporations.
To find out where and when the local farmers’ market will be held, check out the municipal website — many municipal government websites feature information on industry events like farmers’ markets.
Soup, Soup, Soup it Up
Soup is the best friend of vegetarian RVers everywhere. A good soup is hearty, easy-to-make, cheap, and doesn’t require any fancy cooking equipment. Bring along some soup recipes with you as you begin your trip. When you’re tired and hungry after a full day of activities, a bowl of fresh, warm soup will sate you like few other meals can.
Take Breaks from Food Prep and Dine Out
The strict requirements of vegetarianism and veganism can lead many to avoid dining out as much as they’d like. It is a supremely disappointing experience to arrive at a beautiful, well-reviewed restaurant, only to find that the vegetarian options are very limited. As a result, vegetarians have adapted and many prepare home-cooked meals to avoid the disappointment and frustration of limited dining out options. On the road, however, daily food prep can be tiresome and unsustainable, especially if your RVing trip involves a lot of draining physical activity. When planning your RV trip, be sure to save some room in your budget for regular dining out experiences.
In recent years, vegetarian and vegan restaurants have become quite trendy, so you’re likely to find at least a few such restaurants in any reasonably populated area. To make your search experience easier, use a restaurant review platform like Yelp and Foursquare to filter for vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants.
If there are no specialty vegetarian or vegan restaurants in your area, start looking for an Indian or Chinese restaurant. Indian food is perhaps the most vegetarian-friendly cuisine in the world, with a startling array of great-tasting, meatless entrees (if you’re vegan, do be careful not to order Paneer, a rectangular cheese ingredient that forms the core of a lot of vegetarian Indian curries!)
Chinese restaurants are also a great backup choice, as they typically feature a variety of tofu and veggie-based dishes on their menus. When eating at a Chinese restaurant, however, confirm with the front-of-house servers that your dish does not incorporate any fish sauce, oyster sauce, or other such ingredients — some restaurants identify dishes as vegetarian despite the inclusion of various non-vegetarian ingredients.
Post by Gaby Cuda – RVShare.com