Finding vegan food when you’re on the go
Eating on the go – the best tips for fans of plant-based food
People have always felt the need to travel in order to discover the world and get to know other places. This is how the idea of traveling came about. From the first nomadic peoples to flashpackers and businesspeople, things have changed quite considerably. So, what plant-based food is on offer when you’re on your travels? We took a look at what vegan travelers can expect to find, and at their experiences. In this article, you’ll find some info and top tips on keeping vegan hunger at bay while getting from A to B.
Is there an app for that?
Yes, luckily there is indeed an app for that! More than one, in fact.
One of the best known is “HappyCow”, which lists vegan restaurants, cafés and grocery stores worldwide. Simply enter your current location, and you’ll get a list of vegan options in your area.
Another useful app is “Vanilla Bean”, which offers similar services, and even takes into account environmental aspects and fair trade.
On the other hand, “Vegman” concentrates on European destinations, making it particularly useful for those traveling on this continent. With apps like these in tow, it has never been easier to enjoy vegan food even while you’re on the go.
Up, up and away: vegan menus on Cloud 9
Many of us take the plane when going on holiday or when jetting off to our next business conference – even if there are good arguments for online meetings and taking the train. In this article, we’re interested in what the food on the plane is like.
Most airlines now offer a vegan menu. They have recognized the growing interest in vegan nutrition, and have adapted their menus accordingly. A 2022 ranking by “FlightVeg” (source: FlightVeg ranking 2022) shows that Singapore Airlines is currently the leader when it comes to offering in-flight vegan food, followed by Qatar Airways and ANA. Each of these airlines offers a range of plant-based dishes which will win you over not only in terms of health, but also in terms of flavor. To ensure that a vegan menu will be available on your flight, however, it’s always better to book one in advance. This way, at least on long-haul flights, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious plant-based food even when you’re up in the clouds.
And how about before and after the flight itself? Airports are like small towns – and as in every town nowadays, you’ll find something vegan on offer. From green smoothies to vegan burgers to plant-based breakfasts: you just have to know what you’re looking for in order to be able to get your bearings quickly when looking at the airport map.
Vegan food at motorway service stations
For a long time, motorway service stations in Germany had a (not entirely unjustified) reputation as culinary wastelands. Nowadays, however, many of them do have some surprisingly good vegan options – from salad bars to vegan sandwiches. But German service stations have a lot to learn from those in other countries, where healthy and plant-based food has been on offer for some time, and often seems a bit fresher.
Of course, the motorways all over the world also feature the famous fast food pitstops with the big “M” or with the name that makes you think of a crown. But even in these restaurants, the vegan products on offer have come on considerably, and are by no means just a peripheral phenomenon.
So, what’s on offer at the classic German Serways service stations? The umbrella encompasses several restaurant partners which sell meals and snacks to people on the go. In addition to the fast food chains already mentioned, there are also restaurant chains such as Essbar or Gusticus. Having tried out the Gusticus restaurant at the Inntal Ost service station near the border between Germany and Austria, we can say that vegans tend to have to rely on side dishes: potatoes in the form of fries or fried potatoes – and salad – appear to be the pinnacle of what’s on offer. Somewhat more variety is offered by the establishments run by Campus Suite. There you’ll find smoothies, soups, bowls and salads there, some even with a falafel topping.
Our tip: It’s worth researching where you’d like to take a break from driving, because there are plenty of unexpected finds to be discovered – like Miss Pepper near Nuremberg. You’ll find an entire page of the menu dedicated to vegan options – from onion rings to wraps, burgers and brownies – all served up in a nostalgic 50s-style atmosphere.
So, with a little forward planning, you’ll simply be able to exit the motorway at the right spot – simultaneously giving yourself a break from the noise of all the cars and other vehicles. Discover your inner veggie scout, and don’t hesitate to share your experiences with others!
Of course, it’s never a bad idea to take a vegan meal with you – Velivery has plenty of recipes (such as these sandwiches) and plenty of tips below to give you inspiration – but even if you just take a quick pitstop on the motorway, you’ll be able to find at least something plant-based – even if it might be slightly less fancy than you’d ideally like.
Taking the train in Germany: Vegan food in the on-board restaurant
If you haven’t lived in Germany before, you might be surprised to hear that trains here don’t have a good reputation in terms of punctuality. But in terms of the vegan food available on board, they’re at the head of the pack. In Germany’s ICE (high speed intercity express) trains especially, more and more plant-based options are available. Deutsche Bahn began expanding its range of vegan meals as early as 2016, in order to cater for plant-based food trends and for passengers’ needs. What started out as a small range of vegan snacks at the time has now developed into a broad menu ranging from vegan wraps to salads and hearty main meals. According to Deutsche Bahn, these products are theoretically on offer in all ICE and EC trains.
However, as we all know, in reality things are often rather different… As I can tell you from experience, it’s not unknown for nothing at all to be available from the on-board restaurant because supplies need to be restocked somewhere en route. Or you have the choice between chili CON carne and a sorry-looking sausage WITHOUT fries, even though you can see the ad for the “vegan Tuscan pasta salad” in bright shiny colors right behind the till! ; -)
The fact that the vegan food on offer is constantly being developed, however, shows that Deutsche Bahn wants to keep up with the times not only in terms of mobility – but also in terms of sustainable and contemporary nutrition.
Our tip: Take a look at the online menu before you travel. In particular when it comes to train companies outside Germany, we recommend that you find out what’s on offer by looking at the relevant websites in advance.
Train station restaurants and vegan takeaways: grabbing a plant-based bite to eat
City trips in particular are often hectic, and there’s sometimes only time for a quick meal on the go. Luckily, there are more and more takeaway restaurants with vegan options that can be found at train stations themselves. Vegan chains such as Vincent Vegan, which offer fast food, make a point of setting up shop in train stations, which means that the German train network is gradually becoming greener in terms of food – and that’s great for passengers!
Our tip: For anyone who’s in a real hurry or simply needs a snack on the go: many supermarkets (often in Germany’s large train stations) and kiosks do now offer a good selection of vegan nibbles and meals to go. And in terms of takeaways, your best bet is often going to be with international cuisine: with a falafel wrap or Thai noodles, your tastebuds will be taken on a journey even before you set foot in the train!
Making your own packed lunch: a vegan picnic is always a great option!
As @RunVeganRun says on Twitter: “These vegan energy balls are my safety net on any journey! #SnackAttack”.
What’s a surefire way to ward off hunger as a vegan on the go? A homemade packed lunch, of course! This way, you have full control over the ingredients, and how fresh they are. Just remember that if you’re flying to a country or continent where you’re not allowed to import all kinds of food, such as fresh fruit, then you’ll be better off eating it while you’re still on the plane. Need some inspiration for picnics while you’re on your travels? How about some of these?
- Avocado and hummus wrap: A wholegrain wrap filled with creamy hummus, sliced avocado, fresh rocket and tomatoes. A squeeze of lemon rounds it all off. Or how about something exotic? Check out this Thai curry wrap.
- Quinoa salad with black beans: A protein-rich mix of cooked quinoa, black beans, chopped veg and a light lime dressing. Or are cashews more your thing?
- Vegan sushi rolls: Take rice, avocado, cucumber, red bell pepper and perhaps a little smoked tofu, wrap it all up in a sheet of nori, and serve with soy sauce. Or how about our sushi sandwich?
- Chickpea salad sandwich: A delicious spread made from crushed chickpeas, with vegan mayonnaise, chopped onions, celery and spices, served between two slices of wholegrain bread.
- Our pink glass noodle salad in a jar looks just as good as it tastes.
- Or one of countless bowl variations.
In addition to these recipes, we should never underestimate the power of snacks – especially on long journeys:
- Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds are energy-rich and satisfying.
- Dried fruits: Raisins, dates or apricots are perfect for when you’re craving something sweet.
- Vegan muesli bars: These are available in so many different brands and flavors. Really practical for when you’re on the go!
- Vegetable sticks with hummus: Carrot, cucumber and pepper sticks are refreshing and healthy.
- Edamame: These young soy beans are rich in protein and are easy to cook before you start your journey.
- Vegan chocolate: Because occasionally, we all need something sweet to comfort us when we’re down.
A well-packed vegan lunchbox is not just healthy – it’s also delicious, and ensures that you’ll always be satisfied and energized when you’re on the go. Of course, you’ll find everything you need to make one here at Velivery.
Traveling as a vegan can be a challenge, but with a little preparation and the right attitude, it can also be a real pleasure.
Whether you’re traveling by land, air or on the water – the plant-based revolution began a long time ago. So pack your bags and see for yourself how vegan the world can be! 🌱✈️🚂🚗