On our recent European road trip we travelled 1700 miles across Europe in our Mazda Bongo and needed to come up with some vegan food ideas that didn’t need refrigeration. We did take a camping stove with us, but we were out on day trips most days when we weren’t travelling in the car, so we needed food ideas that needed no fridge and no stove.
I thought it was going to be really tricky to come up with enough snack ideas and meals that don’t need refrigeration or cooking, especially healthy ideas. We actually surprised ourselves and came up with a pretty massive list of healthy non perishable foods to take with us in our Bongo.
From this list we were able to have meals on the road or create healthy packed lunches to take out with us for the day when exploring new cities. We explored Amsterdam for a day, visited my husband Ben’s Gran in Germany, took an epic 10 hour drive to see many of the Delta Works in the Netherlands and we stopped in Bruges before heading back home.
For two nights we camped in the Bongo in Amsterdam, we stayed at Ben’s uncles for a couple of nights in Germany and then an AirBnB whilst in Belgium. We don’t have a fridge in the camper as we haven’t converted it (instead keeping the 8 seats and having a massive bed), so we had to come up with a whole list of vegan meals and snacks that we could eat on-the-go and not need to store in a fridge.
Of course we had a fridge at the AirBnb and at Ben’s uncles, but we decided to take as much food from home as possible to keep eating costs low so we had to take things that didn’t need a fridge as the first part of our trip was a lot of travelling and camping!
All of our plant based meal ideas had to be made from as much dried food as possible. None of it could be refrigerated. We’re also all vegan so they’re all suitable for anyone following a plant-based diet.
Of course at Ben’s uncles and the AirBnB we were able to use a fridge and cook, but we had to get the food there without using a fridge, so we stuck to non-refrigerated food ideas.
Between Ben’s uncles and our AirBnB we had a whopping 10 hour drive, so we needed meals and snacks for this. We also had two nights camping in Amsterdam, so had to be inventive with vegan road trip food ideas here too.
Vegan food on the go (with no fridge)
If you’re wondering what on earth you can eat on a road trip as a vegan or when camping, without a fridge, then here’s a stack of ideas.
We came up with as many ideas as we could to create a shopping list before our trip and took loads of food from home. That was a great benefit to driving across Europe in your own car, as we could really save loads of money on food and visit a UK supermarket before we left.
Here are loads of vegan road trip food ideas!
- Celery and peanut butter – so long as it’s not sweltering in your car then celery will last a couple of days. Take some cutlery with you and spread some cupboard friendly peanut butter on for a great energy boosting snack.
- Rice crackers with peanut butter or marmite, or plain. Rice crackers are perfect to much on as a snack or to make peanut butter or marmite cracker sandwiches! These are perfect for kids lunchboxes on the go. Marmite doesn’t need to go in the fridge so it’s the perfect road trip food to create tasty lunches and snacks.
- Wraps with peanut butter or marmite. Take an airtight container and you can store bread or wraps for a few days to make vegan sandwiches on the move.
- Cereal to snack on dry, or with water or longlife plant-based milk. Cereal is perfect if you take bowls and cutlery with you. It’s so easy to make a bowl of cereal with some longlife milk. Try and get smaller cartons or make sure you all eat cereal at the same time so you don’t waste any milk. If you’ve milk left over then the kids may want it as a drink as you venture on.
- Fresh fruit – some fruit will last a few days and doesn’t need refrigerating so take grapes, oranges, pears, bananas and apples so snack on.
- Salad – the same applies with some salad. Tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and cucumber can last a couple of days out of the fridge, so you can snack on this or make your wraps or sandwiches more exciting for a couple of days at least. You can always plan to visit supermarkets whilst travelling to keep fresh salad and fruit topped up. Take a cool box to store it in, though the coldness will only last the first day unless you buy ice too.
- Dried fruit makes perfect on-the-go snacks and won’t spoil. We love apricots, prunes and raisins. Stock up on some dried snacks from Graze before you head off.
- Bliss balls also known as energy balls are mostly made from dried fruit, nuts and seeds so they last ages too and don’t need refrigerating. You can buy these from the shops, but it’s so easy to make your own too before you leave.
- Bars, bars, bars! We love dried fruit, nut and seed bars of all different kids. There’s Trek bars, Pulsin bars and Nakd bars to name a few. These are perfect to pack in bags when exploring to stop hunger in between meals and on long car journeys.
- Crisps – my favourite crisps are the Eat Real crisps and we also get the kids Organix crisps as they are organic and contain no sugar.
- Fruit pouches are great for kids and adults too! ‘Baby’ fruit pouches aren’t just for babies, but kids and adults too. The best thing is they don’t need refrigeration at all. These were great for adding some more fruit snacks into our packed lunches each day. The kids get really excited about a fruit pouch in their lunchbox and me and Ben had one every day in ours too.
- Breadsticks – nice and easy snack to hand out in the car when the kids are complaining their hungry!
- Fruit crisps – it’s amazing how many things are made from fruit nowadays! Dried fruit crisps satisfy that crisp crunch you might be craving, but they also provide a portion of fruit, so are much healthier than regular crisps.
- Popcorn is another great dried food snack that doesn’t need a fridge.
- Nuts and seeds will keep you going when you get peckish.
- Sweetcorn is one of my favourite things to eat out of a tin! It’s so refreshing and satisfies any sweet cravings. Most tins have a ring pull so it’s really easy to eat on the go. You just need a spoon. You can drink the remaining water too.
- Pineapple – this is another tinned item that it great for road trips. It’s another portion of fruit and you also get to have the juice! We love the chunks in juice and the kids use reusable straws to get all the juice out of the tin.
- Noodles and rice pots are a great idea if you have a way of heating up some water. We did take a camping stove with us so we could heat up some water for noodle/rice pots and hot drinks. But of course this was only good when we were at the van itself and not driving. We didn’t take the stove out to the cities with us! We enjoyed eating some of these when visiting the Kinderdijk Windmills in the Netherlands before we arrived in Amsterdam.
- Green tea is packed full of antioxidants and great to sip on each day, in the car and out, if you take a thermal flask with you and can get some hot water. Otherwise it’s also a refreshing cold drink.
When planning our road trip, we thought we’d really struggle to come up with vegan food ideas on the road. We actually managed to think up so many ideas that we had plenty of plant based food options in the car, camping and whilst exploring Europe.
If you need some more inspiration then there’s even vegan supermarkets online with lots of yummy snack inspiration!
Our 8 day Europe road trip travel diary
If you want to see what we got up to for the whole eight days and all the photos then check out all my Europe 2019 road trip travel diary blog posts here:
- Europe family road trip day 1 – England to Netherlands / UNESCO World Heritage Kinderdijk / Camping Vliegenbos
- Europe family road trip day 2 – exploring Amsterdam
- Europe family road trip day 3 – driving from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Munster, Germany
- Europe family road trip day 4 – Soltau, Germany
- Europe family road trip day 5 – Munster, Germany
- Europe family road trip day 6 – coastal scenic drive from Germany to Belgium
- Europe family road trip day 7 – a few hours in Bruges
- Europe family road trip day 8 – back to the UK
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