It can be VERY difficult to eat right when living in a vehicle.
From not having the proper cookware, to the lack of space to prepare your meals, or even the constant temptation of junky fast food options, the reasons are many.
But here's the super duper excellent news...
It IS possible!
Even better, eating healthy foods when living in a car doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.
Here are some of the yummy, nutritious foods I consume to keep my weight in check, to remain vital, and to stick within my budget...
#1 Hard-Boiled Eggs
I really, really love eggs! I enjoy them prepared any which way, but prefer hard-boiled because they're easy to pop in my mouth for a quick meal-on-the-go.
They're a fantastic source of lean protein, and are packed with nutrients like B vitamins, selenium and choline. Best of all, they're low in calories.
Aside from eating them alone, you can include them in a ton of different hot & cold dishes.
If you can't cook in your vehicle, most supermarkets sell bags of hard-boiled (and peeled) eggs, usually in bags of 8 or 10. Places like WAWA's, 7-11's, and other convenience stores even sell 2 packs.
#2 Bagged Salad Kits
These typically cost about $5 per bag in supermarkets - which is a tad costly at first glance - but when you consider that you're eating an entire lunch or dinner for that price, it's actually a steal.
These kits usually include everything: dressing, spices, meats, etc., which makes then enormously convenient.
For added variety, you can also throw in other items like raisans, veggies, or whatever else suits your fancy.
For me, what I like best is that everything's ready to go...no slicing & dicing is needed, no mess, nada. Just throw all the ingrients in the bag, shake it up real well, and serve!
#3 String Cheese
This is another great option, especially when paired with a piece of fruit or some hard boiled eggs for a lighter meal.
Aside from protein, string cheese has a bunch of other nutrional properties, and surely beats noshing on junk food like chips, candy, etc. when you want a quick snack.
I typically eat 2-3 of these per day, sometimes just as a craving soother, and other times as mini lunches or dinners paired with another food item.
If you're watching your waistline carefully, try buying the light variety.
Yep, to me, cereal is a food. But maybe that's because I'm a kid who never officially grew up!
Seriously, though, if done RIGHT, cereal actually is a meal unto itself. Of course, I'm not talking about all of that processed stuff that's loaded with sugar and other crap, but a healthier option instead...of which there are many.
One of my faves is Nature's Path Heritage Flakes. OMG, these things are UNBELIEVABLE!!! Before discovering this stuff I never saw a cereal that didn't get soggy, but through some space-age, scientific voodoo the makers of Nature's Path figured out the solution to this problem.
It's a bit expensive, however it's actually a very healthy cereal. It's only got a wee tiny bit of sugar, so I usually add some honey and/or bananas to help give it some flavor.
Try it, you won't be disappointed :)
#5 Raw Nuts
While almost any nuts are good, I enjoy peanuts, almonds, and pistachos the most. The latter two are also fantastic sources of protein!
Since I try to avoid excess salt in my diet, I usually opt for the unsalted or lightly salted varities, but no matter which you go with, they always please.
I eat these alone as mini meals or snacks throughout the day, put them in my cereal, and enjoy coupling them with things like cheese, etc.
Rice is a staple in my diet. While I can't eat it too much since I'm trying to lose a few pounds, the fact that it's so easy to make, cheap, and convenient is a big plus for me. I eat a rice dish about twice per week.
You can pair rice with anything. Eggs, beans, veggies, poultry...whatever your heart desires.
What can I say about beans? Except that they're an AWESOME food!
Like rice, this is another food that you can pair with almost anything. I go though many cans per month - and fart jokes aside 😜 - these should be a staple in any person's diet due to their health benefits and cheap cost.
#8 Canned Veggies
If you haven't guessed already, I'm a vegetarian. I don't eat meat, chicken, seafood, or any other animal flesh.
So I have to get much of my vitamins and nutrients through other sources. And vegetables are one of them. Which doesn't bother me one bit, as I truly adore most all veggies.
While the canned variety aren't as tasty or nutritious as fresh or frozen, since I don't have a freezer in my car, nor do I wish to store bulky vegetables, deal with peeling them, cutting them, and so forth, I just buy canned.
It's easier, cheaper, and they last WAY longer this way!
I couple my veggies in lots of dishes that include rice, tofu, beans, and a gazillion other things.
Buy the low sodium variety, as they're obviously healthier. Especially if you're concerned about your weight or need to watch your sodium levels.
#9 Fresh Fruit
Eating fruit is an easy win when you live in a vehicle: it needs no cooking, it's healthy, and it tastes great!
My go-to's are bananas, apples, and pears. Occcasionally I'll do some strawberries or a canteloupe.
These are perfect any time, but especially when paired with cheese and other finger foods.
Fresh fruit is also excellent in the warmer months, when it might be too hot to cook, and you don't want to eat heavy meals.
#10 Protein Shakes
You might be thinking; "Hey, those aren't food!" Actually, they are. That's why they're usually referred to as 'meal replacement shakes'. And that's precisely how I use them.
There are many times when we don't want to eat a lot, or we don't feel like cooking, or whatever else. That's when these are perfect!
They might not feel the most filling, but they have all of the proteins and nutrients needed to be counted as a meal. Not only that, but they're mighty tasty, and will definitely satisfy a sweet tooth.
#11 Trail Mix
Doesn't everyone love trail mix?!
I munch on this stuff more than frequently. It works on so many levels!
I try to avoid the real sugary ones that taste like candy, and always opt for a healthier variety. But honestly, they're almost all fairly good for you compared to other junk foods.
A big bag is great to keep in the car to nosh on throughout the day.
Ok, technically prunes are a fruit. I could've included them earlier, but they're a dry fruit, which is a completely different animal in my crazy brain.
Regardless of how they're classified, prunes are amazing. Loaded with fiber, they help immensely with cleansing the body of waste and promote efficient bowel movements!
They're packed with a bunch of other helpful nutrients and vitamins, and I definitely consider prunes a superfood.
I enjoy snacking on these alone, but they also go great in salads, on sandwiches, and with a bunch of other concoctions.
Not everyone likes prunes due to their appearance and texture, but if you do, they deserve to be a staple in your car for healthy eating.
#13 Almond/Peanut Butter
I think this is another food that's almost universally loved. And why not?!
It's ooey, gooey, and oh so sweet. And unlike most sweets, both of these butters are actually good for you.
While I try to avoid breads as much as possible, sometimes I'll cave and do any of these on a sandwich (see my pick for the best tasting, healthiest bread down below).
But they're also super on apples, bananas, rice cakes, pancakes, and a million other things.
As with most things, you almost always get what you pay for when it comes to food. The cheaper, processed stuff is great for saving money, but terrible for your body. This includes almond and peanut butters.
I am a BIG fan of Justin's. They make both peanut butter & almond butter, and while on the pricier side, the quality is TO DIE FOR...especially the butters that are mixed with honey 😍
#14 Veggie Slices
I eat veggie slices by the ton!
Tofurky is the brand I mostly buy, but there are a lot of other good ones out there, too.
They make slices that taste like pepperoni, salami, pastrami, bologna, and a slew of different varieties.
I'll occasionally make a giant sandwich to scarf down, but I usually eat these with cheese, eggs, or even by themselves.
If you're not a vegetarian you can swap these out for any cold cuts from a deli, like: ham, turkey breast, etc.
Additional (No Cook) Healthy Foods for Vehicle Dwellers
I only listed the above foods because I actually eat them in my car, and can recommend them based on personal experience.
While I do not eat all of the following items - at least, not anymore - they're still GREAT staples to keep stocked in your vehicle at all times...
Canned Tuna & Sardines (Packed in Water)
Whole Wheat Pasta
Canned Soups (Low sodium)
Bagged Popcorn (Plain or Lightly Salted)
Dave's Killer Bread (Powerseed)
Remember that bread I mentioned earlier? This is it. CRAZY GOOD!!! And healthy, too.
As I said, I try to avoid bread as much as I can, but when I indulge, this is the only stuff I buy anymore.
It's expensive, though well worth it. And no, I'm not being sponsored by the company. I just love it so much that I wanted to spread the love and give them a plug.
Give it a shot, I believe you'll be pleased.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned in the past 13 months of full-time car living, is that you DON'T have to sacrifice eating well just because your home is on four wheels.
There are an abundant amount of wholesome, inexpensive foods to enjoy while on the road.
Even better, many of the items I've shared don't need to be cooked, and some require no refrigeration. So they are perfect for those who are just starting out as nomads and might not have a lot of gear yet!
Living in a vehicle means FREEDOM, and enjoying life to its fullest. Eat, drink, and be merry.
LIVE WISELY, LIVE WELL!