When you think of on-the-go foods, what comes to mind? Is it fast food, packaged snack foods like chips or crackers, or energy bars? There are so many convenience foods in grocery stores, gas stations, and liquor stores that it’s easy to consume processed foods on a daily basis. Especially when you’re on the go, it’s too easy to get drive-through fast food to satisfy your hunger. This, however, leaves much to be desired in the nutrient department since most of these convenience foods are just empty calories void of any real nutrients.
And on another note, what if you are following a vegan diet or want to consume mostly plant-based meals? You’re not going to find much besides french fries or potato chips when you’re looking for something quick to eat on the go. And that won’t do your body any good when you’re needing energy. So what can you do?
Preparing healthy vegan snacks and meals to take with you on the go is key. This will allow you to always have something on hand when you’re feeling hungry and nourish your body with real food rather than packaged, processed snacks or fast food meals. Vegan meal ideas can become your new recipe box staples. And the delicious recipes don’t have to be complicated! Below are five simple vegan recipes that you can take with you anywhere.
1. Blueberry Energy Smoothie
Smoothies are the ultimate on-the-go meal. You don’t need any utensils and you can pack in a lot of nutrients into one recipe. It’s easy to consume for a quick breakfast in the car, on a walk, or at work. And this Blueberry Energy Smoothie is something you can feel good about eating on the go. No need for sugar-filled bottled smoothies at the liquor store or smoothie shops that use animal-based ingredients like milk or yogurt. This Blueberry Energy Smoothie is vegan and satisfying!
- 1/4 cup unsalted cashews
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 2 pitted dates
Add all your ingredients to a blender and blend until all the ingredients are broken down and the smoothie has a creamy consistency.
Note: if your blender isn’t powerful, you might need to blend for a longer time to break down the cashews and dates completely.
2. Chia Date Energy Balls
What’s better than a quick snack you can pop in your mouth for a burst of energy? These Chia Date Energy Balls won’t only provide you with a source of protein and give your body lots of energy, but they will satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. Think of fudgy brownie batter—that’s what these taste like. And they are 100 percent vegan! Bring a few with you when you leave for the day and pop one in your mouth when you are feeling hungry. Your vegan meal ideas may start an office trend if you’re kind enough to share a few of these with your colleagues.
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine all your ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. (A food processor is preferable.)
Process or blend until all the dates are broken down and the other ingredients are incorporated to form a thick batter-like consistency.
Form the ingredients into 1-inch sized balls by rolling together with your palms. Add the balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet or other flat tray and put it into the freezer for about 30 minutes to form.
Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Serves 12 balls
3. Blueberry Pecan Granola Bars
There are so many granola bars on supermarket shelves that are marketed as “healthy.” However, many of those granola bars are filled with high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener and natural flavors instead of whole food ingredients. Granola bars are a great snack for on the go because they are easy to eat and don’t have to be kept cold. Rather than getting a box of granola bars at the store, you can make your own with real food ingredients and healthy sweeteners like maple syrup. These Blueberry Pecan Granola bars will have you ditching the store-bought granola bars and enjoying these as your favorite on-the-go sweet snack.
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup dried blueberries
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Note: This recipe is great for customizing! If you aren’t a fan of blueberries or pecans you can swap them out for your favorite dried fruit and nut. There are lots of ways you can change it up! Here are some examples:
- Chopped dried apricots and chopped almonds
- Dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds
- Raisins and sunflower seeds
- Vegan chocolate chips and chopped almonds
In a food processor, process the dates, maple syrup, and warm water until it forms a paste-like consistency.
In a large mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, pecans, blueberries, and cinnamon. Mix together. Add the date-paste mixture and mix until the paste is evenly incorporated throughout the oat mixture.
Grab an 8-x-8 baking dish and line it with parchment paper for easy removal. Pour the granola mixture into the baking dish and press down until you get a smooth, flat layer. Press the mixture down firmly to pack in it tight—this will help the granola bars stay together.
Put the baking dish into the freezer for 20–30 minutes until it sets.
Remove the dish from the freezer and remove the granola. Cut into 10 bars or 15 small squares. Wrap each bar or square individually in parchment paper and store in the freezer or refrigerator.
Serves 10–15 bars
4. Quinoa “Mac N Cheese”
No fast food needed when you have this Quinoa “Mac N Cheese”. It’s simple to make and you can bring it on the go because it doesn’t require constant refrigeration—part of the beauty of vegan food. It’s filling, tasty, and the ultimate on-the-go meal. With ingredients like quinoa and broccoli, it will satisfy your hunger and leave you feeling full and energized. And the cheesy flavor of the nutritional yeast makes this meal an ultimate on-the-go indulgence. Enjoy this quinoa as dinner warm, cold, or at room temperature!
- 2 cups white quinoa
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons garlic granules
- 2 teaspoons onion granules
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup water
In a large pot, add the quinoa, broth, garlic granules, onion granules, and salt.
Next, turn the heat to high and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover and let the quinoa simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add in the nutritional yeast and stir to mix well. Next, add your broccoli and water then replace the lid and let the broccoli steam for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
Let sit for 5 minutes and then add the pine nuts. Stir so all the ingredients are incorporated.
Package into individual containers for an easy grab-and-go meal.
5. Vegan Lentil Pasta with Artichoke Ragu
There’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of pasta. So if you can enjoy a good serving of pasta while you’re on the go, then why not? This Vegan Lentil Pasta with Artichoke Ragu recipe, in particular, is great because it can be eaten hot or cold. If you have a way to heat it up when you’re out and about then that’s great, but if not, it’s just as good as a cold pasta! Packed with juicy artichoke hearts, other vegetables, and fiber, it’s a satisfying vegan meal that you can grab and take with you any day.
- 12 oz. gluten-free lentil pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1, 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1, 15-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt the water and add in the pasta. Let the pasta boil according to package directions or until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.
In a saucepan, add olive oil and turn the pan to medium heat. Add in the finely diced carrots and lightly salt. Sauté the carrots for 3-4 minutes and then add in the garlic. Stir the carrots and garlic together and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Next, add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes until it comes to a simmer. Once it’s simmering, add in the chopped artichoke hearts and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Lastly, add in your cooked noodles to the sauce and mix well.
Package the pasta into individual containers for an easy grab and go meal.
Store Your On-the-Go Snacks and Meals
Now that you have a handful of simple vegan recipes for when you’re on the go, what’s the best way to package them up and take them with you? These options can be applied to any similar recipe, too.
- Smoothies: Glass mason jars work best for taking smoothies on the go. They keep the smoothie tasting fresh and you won’t have to worry about them leaking with their airtight lids.
- Snack balls: You can use small plastic or reusable bags. You can also put them into small glass storage containers or mason jars to avoid squishing. The choice is yours!
- Homemade bars: These are best wrapped individually to maintain freshness and also retain structural integrity. Parchment paper or plastic wrap works best. When they’re wrapped individually, you can grab them and throw them in your bag with no worries.
- Main dish meals: When it comes to storing and taking main dish meals on the go, you have a couple of options. Glass storage containers work best to preserve the freshness of the food, but if you’re looking for convenience, disposable meal prep containers can be tossed after use. Having a mix of both on hand for different uses is the way to go. If you’re bringing a meal to your office for lunch, go for glass. If you’re bringing a dinner picnic to the beach, disposable is awesome.
Vegan recipes and storage tips—you’re all set with five new easy vegan recipes. Now all you have to do is pick your favorite delicious recipes and you’re ready to go! Vegan meal prep ideas make the week a breeze. Just look at your week every Sunday and plan accordingly. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to have delicious vegan recipes ready and waiting!
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.
Want to learn how to stay energetic and balanced all year long? Learn Deepak Chopra’s simple practices to tune into the healing wisdom of nature and thrive, with our self-paced online course, Secrets to Vibrant Health. Learn More.