Van Dwelling/Cooking

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Even on the road, it is possible to eat well!

Fuel, water, and space are very limited in a van or small vehicle. Therefore, it can sometimes be a challenge to eat healthily on the road.

There are a wide variety of foods that can be eaten without cooking:

Fruit -- bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes,

Vegetables -- broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, tomatoes, "spinach in a bag".

Breakfast cereals -- Advantages: convenient, tasty, portable, stores well for moderate lengths of time (a few months). Disadvantages: somewhat expensive, full of sugar (with a few exceptions).

Canned soup -- Canned soups are relatively inexpensive, durable, don't require refrigeration, and can be eaten cold or heated. Disadvantages: often high in salt, more expensive than self-prepared foods.

Tips to reduce fuel usage:

  • Presoak beans and grains overnight before cooking. This will soften them up and reduce the time required for cooking.
  • Use an insulated container to "slow cook" your food.
  • Use waste engine heat. As Laren Corie writes: "Even the dash heater can put out temperatures high enough for a lot of cooking, if you build a frame to direct the air over and around the food or container." It is even possible to cook on the engine block. After running for any length of time, the engine block should be hot enough to cook on.

Sprouts[edit | edit source]

Advantages of sprouts:

  • Inexpensive
  • Nutritious
  • Easy to prepare
  • Compact
  • Require no cooking or heating
  • Easy to find


  • Require an ongoing water supply
  • Require twice daily rinsing
  • Some people don't like the taste