Our Van Life Food Tips

May 05, 2021

Stephanie Malone

While food doesn’t run our lives, it is definitely something that we give a lot of consideration to. We consider where it comes from, why we are eating it, and whether or not each meal is one that we can make ourselves. Making meals ourself is, in my opinion, our most important habit as it has helped us get the most out of our nomadic lifestyle and gain a really positive attitude towards our food and eating habits.

Of course it’s more than fine to be a ‘foodie’ who loves to travel and try different cuisines, or eat at cafes and restaurants, but when you are traveling full time this generally isn’t financially viable.

Take your kitchen with you

Having a converted van or a caravan with you throughout the day means always having a kitchen on hand. You don’t have to ‘pause’ your daily adventure to go and find somewhere to eat - you already have the food and now it’s just a case of seeking out that perfect spot to enjoy it. Using your own kitchen to its full potential is also a great way to save money, which is often a focus of the Van Lifers. See below for some of our  favourite “Adventure Day” foods.

We travel with our trusty lunch containers and have a few different sizes that nestle neatly into each other to save space. On the occasions we need them we have zip lock bags too. We tried using beeswax sandwich wraps but they weren’t a great option for us as they attract ants and don’t seal food well when in a backpack all day.

On the days when you choose to buy a meal out - we suggest that you think local. When overseas, smaller eateries off the main streets can have food that is not only wonderfully authentic but also is generally lower in price as they aren’t targeting tourists. And if you do decide to go somewhere a bit more ‘fancy’, iconic or special, let yourself enjoy it! When in Bangkok we enjoyed local eateries and street food, but also had to check out [rooftop restaurant] based on a recommendation. The views were jaw dropping and the food was amazing, and we allowed ourselves to relax and have an elegant evening knowing we had earnt it with our usually  frugal lifestyle.


Our favourite Adventure Day foods

  • Salad with tuna or salmon. Light and fresh, you can keep the fish seperate in a container or tin and pour it over the top when you’re ready to eat! We usually bulk our salads up with avocado, cheese and walnuts.

  • PB&J. We have our own special twist on this American classic, using Mayver’s Dry Roasted Peanut Butter (if you haven’t tried that one, we highly recommend it) with a jam made from fruit and chia seeds. Using a very generous amount of toppings means that just one or two sandwiches can be really filling and as calorie-dense as needed.

  • Mixed nuts. A simple on-the-go snack that can be thrown into any backpack - perfect!

  • Snack bars. We always keep some nut bars, Clif bars or similar products stashed in backpacks and climbing bags. You never know when you’ll need an extra energy hit or lunch addition, and there are so many tasty options that you’ll really feel like you’re eating a treat.


Fun food options

  • Visit a pick-your-own farm and spend the time to pick berries, fruit or vegetables

  • Go to the nearest Farmers Market to try local produce and support local small business

  • Eat with a local - make friends on your travels and let them show you their favourite spots


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