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7 Easy and Healthy Meal Ideas for Van Dwellers: Stay Energized on the Road!

Living in a van can be an adventurous experience, but it can also come with challenges, especially when it comes to preparing meals. As a van dweller, finding creative and healthy lunch or dinner ideas that are easy to make can be a daunting task even if you live a stationary van life. That's why I've put together 7 meal ideas, with bread, rice, and pasta, to remind you of some quick and simple options.

These recipes are not only delicious but also require minimal preparation and cleanup, making them ideal for those in tiny homes who may have limited access to water and space for dishes. With a focus on using just a handful of ingredients, these meals are flexible and adaptable. They allow for substitutions or variations based on personal taste preferences and what you already have in your fridge. Whether you're on the road, camping, or just looking for some new lunch ideas, these meals will help you stay energized and satisfied throughout the day. So, let's dive in and explore some delicious recipes!

→ amounts of ingredients are added only where it is essential for the recipe


  • 1 burner stove top

  • 1 medium size pan

  • 1 pot (preferably 2-4 liters)


MONDAY: High protein PB&J


  • bread

  • peanut butter

  • jam

  • chia seeds

  • 1 scoop protein powder

  • milk or water


  1. This first step is optional but highly recommended: toast the bread in a pan (or oven if you have it), It takes the meal to a whole different level.

  2. Spread the peanut butter and then jam. My favorite flavors are apricot, rosehip, raspberry, and fig.

  3. Sprinkle chia seeds on top. They have lots of fiber and are great for digestion.

  4. Mix your favorite protein powder with milk or water. You can even add a shot of espresso and make it a protein coffee.

TUESDAY: Creamy tuna spaghetti

INGREDIENTS (for 2 portions)

  • 220 g of spaghetti (half of the small package) or any other pasta

  • 1 large tuna can

  • 1 onion

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese or sour cream

  • 2 tbsp milk

  • salt and garlic powder

  • oil


  1. cut the bagel in half and spread ketchup or pizza sauce on both

  2. sprinkle oregano

  3. add pepperoni and cheese on top, and olives

  4. sprinkle some more oregano

  5. add to a pan, cover, and cook on low heat until the cheese is melted

WEDNESDAY: Turkey Sandwich


  • bread

  • avocado

  • turkey breast

  • arugula

  • chili flakes

  • salt

  • pickles or olives


  1. spread avocado on bread, add salt and chili flakes

  2. then stack arugula and turkey breast on top, close the sandwich

  3. Pickled veggies go great on the side: olives, pickles, roasted peppers

THURSDAY: Bagel with sauteed mushrooms and avocado


  • bread

  • mushrooms

  • avocado

  • salt, garlic, chili flakes

  • oil


  1. Add oil to a pan and saute the mushrooms on low-medium heat until browned about 4-5 minutes. Stir often. Add salt and garlic.

  2. Slice or mash the avocado and spread it on the bread. Again, if you start with toasting the bread, it will taste a whole lot better, just do it before sauteing the mushrooms.

  3. When the mushrooms are done, place them on top.

  4. Sprinkle salt and chili flakes. Pepper or garlic salt would be great as well.

FRIDAY: Bagel Pizza


  • bagel

  • ketchup or pizza sauce

  • cheese

  • pepperoni

  • oregano

  • olives


  1. cut the bagel in half and spread ketchup or pizza sauce on both

  2. sprinkle oregano

  3. add pepperoni and cheese on top, and olives

  4. sprinkle some more oregano

  5. add to a pan, cover, and cook on low heat until the cheese is melted

SATURDAY: Salmon Risotto

INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings)

  • 1 1/2 cup rice

  • 1 L cups of vegetable broth, or from a concentrate

  • 1 lb raw salmon, boneless and skinless

  • parsley

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • olive oil


  1. Rinse the rice and add it to a pot. Add 3 cups of vegetable broth, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to the lowest you can stir and let it simmer. Set the timer as per the rice package instructions.

  2. Meanwhile, chop parsley and garlic, add olive oil, and spread them around the salmon fillet.

  3. When the rice is about halfway on the time, place the salmon on top and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn around. until it's cooked through.

  4. Keep the rice moist, so add more vegetable broth if needed.

  5. Mix the salmon and the rice together and serve. If you are not overly starving, let it sit covered for 3-5 minutes before serving. 🤌

Note: Sometimes broths don't give enough flavor. Add salt or soy sauce for that salty taste.

SUNDAY: Protein French Toast

INGREDIENTS (1 serving)

  • 2 bread slices

  • 1 egg

  • 1 scoop protein powder

  • 2 tsp milk (any type of milk will do, but I prefer oat milk because it's creamier)

  • toppings: Nutella, blueberries, sliced almonds


  1. Mix egg, milk, and protein powder.

  2. Place the bread in a nonstick, greased pan, and pour over the mixture. Turn it around after a minute. Wait until most of the liquid is absorbed.

  3. Turn on the stove to medium heat and cook until the bottom side is cooked through about 5-6 minutes. Then turn around and cook on the other side as well, until crispy.

  4. Add toppings.

Note: pick any topics you already have at home: jams. fruit, honey, maple syrup, peanut butter, etc.

These are just a few meal ideas that you can easily prepare in your van with minimal ingredients and equipment. Feel free to customize them based on your own taste preferences and dietary restrictions. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can enjoy tasty and satisfying meals while living the van life.

And remember to always practice safe cooking habits in your van, including proper ventilation and fire safety precautions. Keep your cooking area clean and organized to minimize mess and make cleanup easier. And make sure to properly dispose of any food waste to avoid attracting pests.

Enjoy your meals on the road! 🚐🍴😊

Bon appétit!

Lara xo

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