How to stick to a vegan lifestyle while being away from home
Today I will be traveling to the middle-of-nowhere Georgia to be a camp counselor. Camp Dream is an amazing camp for children (and adults) with physical or mental disabilities. Unfortunately a lot of fun, everyday activities that you or I can enjoy are a lot more complicated for someone who has Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome. This camp, however, offers tons of activities that the campers can successfully and safely take part in. There’s horseback riding, bowling, swimming, arts and crafts, music time, sports, and even a dance on the last night. It’s a pretty humbling experience to be around so many kids who, despite their situation, are so happy. I will be at camp until Sunday afternoon, so that’s a total of 5 days and 4 nights.
At first I was a bit worried about signing up. In the previous 3 years that I have gone, I was a vegetarian. Therefore, I could pretty much eat what was served at camp minus anything with meat. Now that I have transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, there’s a lot more to consider. Plus, I am now tracking my sugar intake which is hard to do when you don’t know how the food is made or can’t read the labels. This is the point when most people would cave in, but not me. Instead of wondering what foods have dairy or eggs in it, I decided to bring my own meals and snacks.
I wanted to share these, so you can see that even though it will require a little bit more effort, it is most definitely possible!
So even though there is a fridge available at camp, I didn’t know how full it would be or how often I’d be able to access it. Our camp schedule is pretty busy with activities, so it’s easier for me to just carry around my book bag with items that don’t need refrigeration.
Pacific Organic Steel Cut Oats
There are a TON of oat options that come in cartons or boxes. However, most of them have a whole day’s worth of sugar in them which is a no go for me. I did find these oats that only have a bit of sugar and have a good amount of protein and fiber in them as well. These were $2.69 at Sprouts, but they had a $2.00 off coupon!
Since steel cut oats won’t have a whole bunch of flavor, I am bringing my own cinnamon, coconut flakes, and coconut sugar (non-refined).
Since I only got three oat boxes, I figured I’d get an oat bar for the fourth morning at camp. These were $1.79 at Sprouts and they had a $1.00 off coupon!
The camp typically has a selection of fruits to choose from as well, so I figured I could also enjoy a banana or apple with my breakfast too.
Dr. McDougall’s Vegan Bowls
Who would have thought that there were specifically made vegan noodle and soup bowls?! I came across the brand Dr. McDougall’s that has a good amount of options. There ones I saw at the store were: spring onion noodle soup, Thai noodle soup, miso ramen noodles, black bean and lime soup, split pea soup, and tortilla soup. Looks like there’s a bunch more options when I looked online as well.
I love the idea of these because I can easily add water and microwave in the same container. How easy is that?
Pacific Organic Soup
I got one box of Pacific’s Spicy Black Bean and Kale soup. It has a decent amount of protein and fiber, so I figured it’d be a good option.
Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Pouches
Not all of these rice pouches are vegan and unfortunately they don’t put “vegan” on the packaging. So, I did have to read through all the ingredients. I went with the Spanish style rice and garden vegetable rice. These are also simple because I can microwave them in the pouch.
Lundberg Thin Stackers Puffed Grain Cakes and Peanut Butter
This delicious combo has been my go to post workout snack. I typically put some regular PB2 on 4 rice cakes and drizzle a bit of honey on top. Since honey is naturally sweet, I don’t track it for my sugar intake. I used to eat Quaker’s rice cakes, but the flavored ones have a lot of sugar and the serving size is small. I found this brand at Sprouts and I’m in love! There’s absolutely NO sugar in the rice cakes and only 2 grams in my serving of PB2.
Since I don’t want to take my PB2 powder, add water, and mix to make the peanut butter at camp, I opted for something else. I bought Justin’s individual peanut butter packets and Peanut Butter and Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams butter.
Kettle Brand Pepperoncini Chips
Hands down the best chips I’ve ever had. Please try them so you know what I mean!
No, Oreos are not healthy, but they are vegan! It’s not everyday that my pantry contains Oreos. Depending on the flavor, Oreos can vary in sugar level, but it usually is about 11-13 grams per serving which is only a few cookies. I got these because at camp they have a lot of little sweet, dessert items after dinner. I decided that in replacement of those treats that most likely contain dairy or eggs, that I could have a few Oreos instead.
I used to LOVE gummies, especially peach rings. Unfortunately most gummy type candies have gelatin which derives from animals. It’s actually pretty gross. Since I can’t eat those anymore and they definitely wouldn’t fit my sugar tracking, I decided to try dried fruit. Sprouts has the bulk section of dried fruit, but the only downfall is a lot of them are sweetened with more sugar. I wanted dried fruit that didn’t have any added sugar.
The only one I could find that I would be interested in were Turkish apricots. The texture is pretty close to that of a gummy, it’s sweet, and much healthier than a gummy.
Love Crunch Granola
I LOVE granola especially if it has chocolate chunks. I used to eat yogurt with granola right when I got to work as my second mini breakfast. However, when I started tracking my sugar I realized yogurt has a boat load of sugar and isn’t very filling. So I don’t get granola very often anymore.
Recently I bought it as a little snack or a topping. I still don’t consume it a lot because with the chocolate it also has a bit of sugar. I figured I’d bring it to camp though in case I needed a little pick-me-up snack.
I mainly drink water throughout the day, so that shouldn’t be an issue at camp. However, I do love hot tea. So, I am bring my own tea bags and honey straws to make tea in the mornings. I also mix Amino Energy BCAAs in my water for energy, so I’ll probably bring a few scoops of that as well along with my Contigo Shake and Go Tumbler. I usually consume BCAAs for a pre or post workout, but it also does help with energy. Since we will have pretty full, busy days and I’m already a zombie part time, then I figured it might help me a bit.
So yes, being a vegan may take a little more effort on my part, but honestly it’s worth it. I am able to be aware of what I am consuming, keep up with my sugar tracking, and not feel guilty (or hungry)! I’m extremely grateful that there seem to be more and more vegan options offered in stores which definitely helps the process.
If you’re a vegan, how do you stay on track with your lifestyle while away from home? What do you tend to eat or bring with you?
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