Now, who says you can’t be vegan and enjoy great meals while backpacking? Not me, because vegans have an assortment of very nutritious and sumptuous meals they can have a go at while on the trail or backpacking.
But what’s vegan?
Vegan in dietary terms refers to a plant-based diet that prevents animal consumption like meat, dairy, honey, and eggs. This is one-way people define their lifestyle, although, even as vegans, their choices differ. I will be dropping a list of strict vegan products, which will cover all vegans.
What do vegans eat?
Vegans, on the contrary, have no have no problems consuming, filling, satisfying and living healthy and just in case you're curious to find out what they eat, have opinions about what they eat, or you're interested in becoming one, this is just the right place to be.
Vegans eat a lot of healthy foods. Most vegans don’t eat animal products like meat, fish, and the likes but some tend to make do with refined natural products like dehydrated milk. Below are a few meals vegans eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Breakfast is usually the first meal of the day. For a sneaky-quick list with brands and products listed, check out the below list to see some breakfast items vegans can pick up in local grocery stores or even any store with a natural foods section. These items are pure meals which are plant based of course.
- Dehydrated milk – which is better than many milk brands. It makes both soy and rice milk, can be found on Amazon. I’ve searched for dehydrated Almond and Coconut milk, but can’t seem to find a reputable source.
- Granola and Cereal – many flavorful options can be found at Trader Joe’s and in two other brands, Nature’s Path, and Cascadian Farm Organic. These brands are found in medium/large sized grocery stores and online. These options are sold at affordable prices, no $13 per pound granola, and offer enough variety so you don't get tired of one product. Also, check out bulk bins in such stores as Fred Meyer and even Winco. You could also checkout natural food stores within your locality.
- Whole Foods – Do have options that are high in calories and taste, though I can’t assure you that the options will be wallet friendly.
- Tortillas – Mission brand flour tortillas, are another wonderful vehicle for beans and taco meat, or even a fast plop of peanut butter that provides a high-calorie snack. They can be found in most any grocery stores.
- Oatmeal –Quaker Oatmeal, a true standby on the trail, it is relatively cheap and widely available in different flavors which can be eaten with peanut butter instead of water to give a unique taste. Pack instant packets of oatmeal as the backup for CDT for days you won't need other types of food.
- Bagels – Thomas New-York Style Bagels (Plain, everything, and blueberry) are easy to find in towns along the trail. A great option for vegans and topped with your favorite nut butter, very tasty with a high calorie start to the day.
Lunch and Dinner
For lunch and dinner, vegans eat just about any hygienic plant-based meal from dehydrated beans to ramen and others. Some of the generic and branded vegan food items are listed below, many of which are easily found at any standard grocery store.
- Dehydrated Beans – Some vegans have a likening of refried beans (dehydrated of course). Some brands like Santa Fe Bean Company, sell these dehydrated meals on online e-commerce stores like Amazon.com, Taste Adventure, they are also sold on their website, and they are sold in either smaller pouches or larger 10-pound bags if you plan to spend quite a while on the road. It will also save you a few bucks if you buy in bulk.
- Boxed Meals – Box meals include; Earth Balance Cheddar Mac & Cheese! Boxed meals products (which include snacks, nut butter, crackers, and entire meals) are made for vegans. Tortillas – Mission brand flour tortillas, are another wonderful vehicle for beans and taco meat, or even a fast plop of peanut butter that provides a high-calorie snack. Can be found in most any grocery stores.
- Prepared Meals – Outdoor Herbivore is the brand I’d most like you to try, offering tasty, healthy, and easy to cook vegan meals, available online. I’ve heard testimonies of the Backpacker’s Pantry Katmandu, though price-wise that would be a more infrequent meal over the course of a long hike.
- Ramen – this is one vegan food item that has gotten us through many resupplies and small trail towns. One of the few types of ramen that is vegan, the Nissin Top Ramen Oriental flavor. It doesn’t need heat to cook, as it will rehydrate in a peanut butter jar, it’s relatively cheap and widely available. It may not be the healthiest option out there, but if options are very limited, you can have a nice lunch/dinner with this 3-ounce meal that’s loaded with calories (to a tune of 380), there’s also quite a bit of salt (mineral).
Snacks and side dishes
- Chocolate – I love chocolates, my favorite is Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bars which are the best deal for the quantity of chocolate, they weigh in at a pound for less than $5, but most stores have lots of specialty bars if you want variety, the example is Theo chocolate.
- Nut butter – It’s not just peanuts filling the jars anymore, other creative brands are taking the spotlight and mixing up the peanut butter world. If you’d like to snag Justin nut butter, you can get them online, in Whole Foods as well as your everyday grocery stores. Justin Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is some of the most delicious vegan nut butter available. There is also a host of brands which you could snag both online and in physical outlets. These brands of nut butter come with their peculiar flavor.
- Bars – vegans eat bars. There are lots of options for granola bars and energy bars, like Lara bars, Luna bars, Clif Mojo bars, Trader Joe's granola bars, Odwalla, kind and Nature Valley bars. Lara bars have a high calorie. Bars are fairly easy to find in trail towns along the way, and lots of flavors can be found in stores like Whole Foods, beyond the common brands in regular sized grocery stores.
- Jerky – This is great chip alternatives for vegans. These protein rich meals come in six (6) standard flavors.
- Salty Snacks – salty snacks include; standard potato chips, pretzels, and tortilla chips found anywhere from a gas station to Coscto. Other salty snacks apart from those earlier mentioned are; Original flavor Chex Mix which is crunchy, salty, high in calorie, and widely available.
- Peanut butter is another great meal snack. Adding filled pretzels make this meal a special delicacy for vegans. These snacks are great for backpacking because they can be easily transported due to their compact nature. You could have them in either BBQ flavor or plain flavored. They are available at most convenience stores and drive by gas stations.
- Cookies and Candy – Oreo Cookie, Nutter Butters, and Skittles are some of the best options for cookies and candy. More options include; Newman’s O’s, Trader Joe’s Speculos Cookies and Strawberry Licorice are yummy. Candy like skittles, dark chocolates and red licorice are great in hot temps and are easily found in town.
- Vitamins – take a multi-vitamin on a daily basis both on and off the trail and you will be happy with the Rainbow Light brand of vitamins, as they won’t upset your stomach and are clearly labeled. Many other brands are found online and in stores like Whole Foods and other specialty markets, depending on your location.
- Vegetable Bouillon Cubes – one of the easiest ways to add flavor and salt to plain pasta or rice dishes, it is not difficult to find in grocery stores, such as the Knorr brand.
- Olive Oil – one tablespoon of Olive oil contains about 120 calories! If you are looking to add calories, then you should be stocking olive oil.
- Drink mixes – If you are looking for vegan mixes then the perfect choices would be Chrystal light mix and Gatorade mix. They add some very nice flavor as well as a nice dose of calories to your drinks. They are also an effective mix to hide the hint of yellow coloration in your water if you find it disturbing (who doesn’t actually?).
On a final note, being a vegan doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat sumptuous meals, of course, there are plant-based meals which you can be much more delicious than animal-based meals. Also, going backpacking as a vegan wouldn’t tell you if you plan your trip well.
Have an arsenal of natural plant-based snacks you could bite on while on the trail. Do your shopping in a natural foods store or grocery store with lots natural foods. Have an exciting time backpacking as a vegan!