Travel Eats + Van Life (So Far)

Hello from Leavenworth! We decided to take our vacation just a few hours away from our home base and always LOVE coming to this special little Bavarian town.

We have been traveling (and living out of!) our van since this last Saturday and it’s been a journey already! A lot of little bumps and a bit of a learning curve but we are now making everything run pretty smoothly and nourish our bodies well on this trip!

We have avoided eating out almost completely (except for one time where we were offered a free meal in exchange for some work) and have been really happy with how well prepared we are!

Having snacks and quick meals during the day is really important to me as well as being able to make a nutrient dense dinner with some meat and vegetables (and carbs is if was a climbing day!).

In our van we (meaning the fiancé…) have installed solar power panels and a battery that can convert that energy into useable energy for appliances. We are using a butane powered gas stove for our cooking appliance but are able to use solar to power our Nutri-Bullet blender (bulletproof coffee, duh!), coffee grinder, charge our phones, laptops and other small appliances.

It’s really fun to have some modern conveniences in the van like the solar power but we still are doing it pretty “old school” with a conventional cooler and bins for snacks/non-refrigerated items. I figured out pretty early that in order for the cooler to keep food fresh the longest and avoid the dreaded ice melt, water leakage problem that I needed to somehow separate the water from the food.

After some brainstorming I went a bought a metal grill grate to place on top of the bag of ice and then place all the refrigerated goods on top of the grate. This way the ice can melt and the food will not be sitting in water all day. Pretty proud of myself on this one 😉

In terms of refrigerated goods we like to keep certain things on hand that we know we can grab in a rush or in the morning when boiling water for coffee sounds like just a bit too much work. In the mornings we love having Chameleon Cold Brew, coconut milk in aseptic packages, breakfast sausage and pre-cooked bacon. We usually add in some sweet potatoes (cooked up the night before), some greens and maybe some dried fruit.

For grab and go lunches between climbing sessions we love having Applegate lunch meat, cut up raw veggies (carrots, cucumbers, radishes, sugar snap peas), dried fruit like dates, pineapple and mangoes and some form of nut butter.

Dinners look like meals we would cook at home! We’ve had a lot of luck because the grocery store in town carries a lot of pre cut veggies that we can include in our meals if we don’t feel like doing a lot of the prep work ourselves. We’ve had pork chops with butternut squash and Brussels sprouts and chicken thighs with a cabbage mixture and sweet potato spirals.

We generally combine a quicker cooking protein like chicken thighs or breasts, pork chops or ground meat with at least two types of veggies. On longer climbing days we like to include denser carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or rice with dinner so we can recover and refuel for the next day.

Dinner usually takes about 20 minutes start to finish and only uses one pan! I like only having minimal dishes to wash after dinner and one pan meals do the trick! I will try to remember to take pictures of the meals for later reference!

We also always love to have condiments on hand – they make every meal just that much better! Our favorites include Tessemae’s Ketchup, BBQ Sauce and Balsamic Vinaigrette as well as coconut aminos (just like soy sauce but without the soy or wheat!) and sriracha. These fit nicely in the cooler and stay spill proof as long as they are kept upright.

I snapped a quick picture of some of the staples we like to keep in our non-perishable food bin. Zing bars and Rx bars are mainly for the fiancé as I tend to do better keeping nuts at a minimum. I love having jerky bars and meat sticks for a quick protein boost and tuna that I can mix with avocado! Healthy fats and protein = win. We (of course) have dark chocolate for an after dinner treat, dried fruit (pineapple, mangoes and dates are our faves) and a jar of peanut butter hidden deep in there. I also brought some cassava chips for a fun carb-heavier snack and some white rice to include in a dinner stir fry.

I also always bring sweet potatoes (because I basically live off them!), tea bags and plenty of other supplements.

Must-haves for me include collagen, apple cider vinegar, electrolytes, magnesium, melatonin and ghee! I also brought plenty of spices – salt, magic mushroom powder, bagel spice, curry powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

So far we’ve really enjoyed our time spent in the van and I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of trying to stay healthy while on the road! I prioritize the fact that food is fuel, eat when I am hungry, don’t worry about calories and try to keep stress at a minimum!

2 Comments

  1. To solve the ice/water/food dilemma. Make ice in recycled half gallon or gallon juice containers. The block stays frozen longer and you can drink the water as it melts.

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    1. Thanks Mike!! I will definitely be trying this in the future! I also need to purchase a cooler with a spout valve for draining!

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