The transition from cooking and eating in a home with a full-size kitchen, to a less than 40-square foot space that contained my bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom, was surprisingly a relatively easy one.
My name is Amanda and I am a full-time van-living gal. I will forever and always be learning about life on the road in one respect or another, but one thing I have down pretty well is how to eat a balanced diet with few amenities and little space. To my advantage, I have been eating a simple and plant-based diet for years prior to moving into a van. This has allowed me to eat relatively the same in my van, although my love for baked sweet potatoes has been deprived.
Whether you're transitioning into full-time or part-time van life, going on a short road trip, or camping trip - these tips are for you!
Here are some items that are on constant rotation through my pantry and fridge:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables - depending on the weather you're in, you might need to store most of these in the fridge to maintain freshness!
- Wildway - I wish I could put into words how much of a lifesaver Wildway is. I eat it for snacks, on my yogurt and oatmeal bowls, as a source of fuel when I'm on the trails, and in all the moments when I just need quick and real fuel.
- Fiber-rich foods - in addition to veggies, whole grain crackers and bread with simple and real ingredients are delicious and filling.
- Lentil pasta - chickpea or lentil pasta is higher in protein than traditional pasta!
- Protein - being plant-based I rely on beans, eggs, and fish to give me the boost I need.
- Spices and condiments - although I'm not a big dressing gal, salsa and avocado for guacamole are an absolute necessity.
- Nut milk
- Protein bars with simple ingredients
The key is to rely very little on packaged and processed food items that contain fake ingredients, preservatives, artificial sugars, and high sodium.
Though these types of foods are often the most convenient, they do not fair well for anyone!
Although I have seen vans get very fancy with their kitchen set ups, I have only a fridge and propane Coleman camper stovetop. This might seem limiting, but I can actually still create a variety of simple and wholesome meals that don't require an elaborate recipe.
If I am in need of some quick and easy meal inspiration, I will turn to resources provided by other van lifers or Pinterest! I've included pictures of meals I have created while in the van that not only taste perfect, but do a wonderful job of fueling my body with wholesome ingredients.
Oats made with almond milk, mashed banana, and cinnamon. Toppings include sliced banana, strawberry, blueberries, and Wildway Grain-Free Granola (an absolute essential!).
Crispy tempeh, chickpeas, shredded carrot and beet, tomato, cucumber, sliced avocado, hemp seeds, and a bed of spring mix underneath.
Coconut chickpea curry, quinoa, sliced bell pepper, cucumber, and a bed of spinach.
Loaded sammie with mashed avocado, hummus, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, cucumber on whole grain bread.
It's as simple as that! It's all about taking the leap and discovering what living a healthy lifestyle looks like for you. It is an adjustment, but it's an adjustment well worth the reward of living a life of freedom.