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Cooking For a Family in the Van

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Vanlife Eatshttps://vanlifeeats.com
Two passionate Vanlife cooks and the creators of Vanlife Eats.

Words by: Emilly Sonsie (@sonsie_life)

van life australia

Welcome to your in depth look at how the Sonsie’s eat on the road. We are Emilly & Michael and we are travelling around Australia in our van, Pep. Along for the ride is our 3 year old son, Hunter, and our labrador, Shadow. We’re exploring, we’re laughing and you can bet we are eating! Everything you could possibly want to know about how we cook on the road can be found below. We’ve even included a few delicious recipes for you. You can keep up to date with our travels on Instagram and Youtube – @sonsie_life.

Food is a large part of our lives and fueling our bodies with nourishing food is extremely important to us. Contrary to what many may think, if you have the right set up, cooking on the road is not too different to cooking in house.

So what exactly do we eat?

It’s all plants baby

Our family of three eats a vegan, predominantly whole foods diet. Fresh produce, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. Hunter has been vegan his whole life and doesn’t know any different. The benefits we found when switching to a plant based diet were incredible and we are never looking back. Reduced inflammation, better sleep, increased energy are just a few benefits that we experienced.

van life plant based

If you need wholefood recipe inspo then head here → www.emillysonsie.com. We have over 170 whole food recipes that will keep your family happy on any occasion.

We try to eat seasonally in the van as the produce is not only fresher but it is also cheaper. In winter we reach for the oats, warm curry dishes and soups. In summer it’s all about freshness; smoothie, salad sandwiches, fresh platters & buddha bowls.

Cooking on the road

As long as you have a fridge and cooktop then you can really cook anything. We have the added benefit of an oven as well which means roast veggies and cookies are up for grabs on a regular basis. We always make sure that we have the fridge and pantry stocked to the brim. This enables us to cook whatever we feel like for lunch and dinner and to be as creative as we feel like in the kitchen. As the van is a small space we try and eat outside as much as possible and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Picnics are a given and finding a beautiful place to sit can make the meal even more enjoyable.

Our essentials

Fresh produce is the absolute key to have on board the van. You can guarantee our fridge is filled to the brim with colour and that we have about 10kg’s of bananas and potatoes just waiting to be devoured. Spices are essential for cooking any dish especially a curry or dahl and we just can’t go past nutritional yeast either for that nutty cheesy flavour. There is always a selection of pasta and canned legumes as well. Variety is key when travelling with a toddler. It’s super important to have plenty of options on hand for him. Having fruit on display in the van (or in your home) is the best way to get kids interested

Check out our YouTube video where we show you exactly what is in our pantry and what we always have with us on the road → https://youtu.be/jXKLoZ3MAFE

Let them help

Kids in the Kitchen. For so many reasons letting your kids help you in the kitchen is essential.

  1. It keeps them occupied while you’re cooking so you’re not having to multitask.
  2. It gets them involved, and puts them in control of their plate making them more inclined to eat their food.
  3. They learn new skills, like chopping and grating and they get to use maths and literacy.
  4. More importantly though they boost their creativity, independence and teamwork as well.

We could go on, but we’ll stop there. Embrace the mess and enjoy the cooking experience. It’s well worth it.

If you’re not sure where to start with kids cooking in the kitchen then we have you covered too → https://www.emillysonsie.com/ebook/kidsinthekitchen 

It’s not all sunshine

Winter travel has proven a little difficult and some mornings we haven’t even had enough power to boil water. We chose to have our van run completely off solar power and not have any gas on board. This was to make it safe when cooking with a toddler. However, this means during the cloudy, overcast and wintery days Pep can sometimes run out of charge over night. We just have to be mindful about how we use her power. We found that if we have good sunlight during the day it’s best to cook dinner in advance and then just quickly heat it up at night. In summer none of this will be a problem and we’ll have all the power we could dream of.

We hope we have given you some valuable insights into how we live on the road and the food that we cook and eat on a regular basis. To inspire you to cook more on your travels and explore some amazing vegan food we have 4 recipes to share with you!

With gratitude & love,

The Sonsie Family

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Check out some of Sonsie_life’s deicious recipes here on vanlifeeats.com

van life pumpkin dahl

Emilly’s Warming Pumpkin Dahl

One pot dinners will forever be a winner in the van. Less dishes and a whole lot of flavour is what we like best! Method Except for the spinach and peas, place everything in a pot and cook on a medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed and a…

van life cookies

Hunter’s Double Choc Cookies

Hunter is our resident snacker. Sweet or savoury he’s all over it so we always have some freshly baked cookies on hand for a 3pm pick me up. Method Preheat the oven to 180°C Add the dates and boiling water to a bowl and let soak Place the oats, cacao…

van life recipe tofu sauce

Everything Tofu Sauce

Perfect with pasta, in a lasagne, as a dip, and with fresh potato wedges. It truly is your everything sauce and will quickly become a staple with your family. Method Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Try and not drink it…it’s truly that delicious. Serves…

Michael’s Hearty Breakfast Oatmeal

Cold winter mornings call for giant bowls of oatmeal with all the topping. This simple oatmeal is sure to keep you feeling satisfied all the way till lunch! Method   1. Place the oats, coconut, water and sultanas in a saucepan and heat on a medium heat until the water…

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