"Effective Ways to Meal Plan"
While Living Nomadically
~ By Contributing Writer: The Gnomad Home ~
Let’s talk about everybody’s favorite topic - FOOD!
Your eating habits on the road can make or break your budget. If you eat out frequently, you are shoveling out a bunch of money. If you eat nothing but ramen packets - you may save loads, but what is it costing your body? Here are some ways we’ve found to fuel our bodies in positive ways, without breaking our budget.
First and foremost - one-pot meals are a great best friend to have when living in such a small environment. Personally, we love a large elaborate meal! Anytime we have access to a full kitchen with a four burner stove, oven, multiple dishes and more - we wreck the place in the happiest of ways. BUT... when you are living in such narrow quarters, you need to keep the wreckage to a minimum if you want to remain even the slightest bit sane.
This is why we find one-pot meals handy. One-pot meals can surprisingly cover a large array of dishes and cuisines- you have soups and stews, pastas, stir-frys, quesadillas, paninis, scrambles and chilis and more! You can get pretty elaborate without having to deal with a wicked mess in the end.
Dishes That Can Be Reincarnated
One of our best kept secrets in regards to eating on the road is to create meals that you can turn into something else with the leftovers. We rarely make enough food for just one evening. Most of the time, we purposefully make a ridiculous amount of food in order to turn it into something else the following day.
Our greatest example is whenever we make lentils. We love making some lentils! You can combine them with rice. You can enjoy them with naan. You can eat them loaded with veggies and tofu, or you can throw in some fish or chicken. There’s all kinds of ways to mix up spices and seasonings to create an enjoyable dish and make it different every time.
This is one of those items we specifically make way too much of so that we can guarantee having a dank lunch the following day. Normally the day after a lentil party, we take the leftovers for lunch, crack in an egg or two, mix it all together with some flax (optional) and shape them into patties. We then cook them in our cast iron pan in some coconut oil until they brown on each side and voila! We have ourselves some lentil patties for a scrumptious sandwich, salad, or wrap.
So much variety!
There are so many items that can be resurrected into new dishes the following day. Stir-fries can become tacos. Or, transform your leftover medleys (veggie and/or meat): mix in some tortilla chips and salsa, crack open some eggs, sprinkle with a little bit of cheese, cover with a lid for a minute or two and BOOM! You just made yourself some grand ole chilequiles.
Just Throw It All In!
Whether you live in a vehicle or a mansion, we all have those days where you just don’t feel like trekking to the store to get more ingredients. We fall into this headache far too often. We frequently find ourselves debating whether to get off our butts and surrender a beautiful spot to another eager camper or take whatever we have, throw it together with a bunch of seasonings and see what happens.
More times than not, the modge podge of food option takes the cake! We actually have had some of our best meals when they aren’t entirely planned and it’s just a free-for-all of what we throw together.
A trick to making this little hack even MORE successful - have plenty of tortillas on hand at all times. Got nothing but a can of chili? Throw in some flax or flour, thicken it up, grab a tortilla and BAM. Instant burrito! Got nothing but cheese and tortillas hanging out in your fridge and that unopened jar of salsa in your cabinet? I don’t know about you, but I’m smelling a quesadilla on the horizon! Basically tortillas are the glue that hold our miscellaneous items together when we don’t know what else to do.
United We Van Cookbook
For our final tip, we suggest investing in a cheap and handy cookbook for those times you lack food creativity or inspiration.
The United We Van Cookbook is our personal favorite. This cookbook was made as a collaborative effort by nomads living out of vehicles from all over the world!
For $12.99 you get over 100 pages of all kinds of meals that people actually make in their tiny homes on a daily basis. And the best part about it? 100% of the proceeds are donated to The Nature Conservancy!
This book is jam-packed with recipes including breakfasts, snacks, an entire section on tacos, one-pot meals, desserts, beverages, pastas, salads and SO much more. There is even a meal in here made entirely of items a woman foraged in Alaska.
It’s only available as an ebook, so you can download it to any device you wish and not have to worry about taking up any additional space in your tiny house on wheels. You, my friend, are so very welcome.
Get Cookin’, Good Lookin’!
There are tons of ways to plan your meals for when you hit the road. We feel that a decent amount of veggies and beans are always great to travel with. They make for great side dishes, salads, items to stuff other items with, and are perfect for on-the-fly cooking when you’re so stinkin’ hungry but don’t have a single plan in mind. Throw ‘em in the pan with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder - drizzle whatever your favorite sauce is on top, and you are good to go with minimal effort!
Using a fuel efficient Bio Lite cooker for some sausages!
Happy munchin’, friends!
Check out another great article on waste free tips for van life.