A shopping list and menu for 3 days of healthy no cook meals. Perfect for an end of Summer, Labor Day camping trip, or exploring and surfing trips all year-long in Baja Mexico.
One of the best reasons to travel is to explore the local cuisine but eating out for every meal can be expensive and unhealthy. There are limited dining choices in many places in Baja. By all means try the local taquerias, the expat hot spots and the occasional fine dining restaurants but plan for a few “go to” healthy, no cook meals that you can put together with store-bought shelf stable foods.
Eating out when you travel is not your healthiest or cheapest option. Your pesos will go farther at a grocery store or an outdoor market and you can control the calories and the nutritional value of your meal.
If you have access to a barbecue and refrigeration then your options are almost like home and I hope you will try to buy all fresh real food but if not, you can still make healthy meals with minimal fuss and maximum Mexican flavor on a budget using shelf stable mostly nutritious foods. In general canned foods are high in salt and may have some scary ingredients but simple canned meats and beans can be found. Just say no to Spaghetti O’s, I’ve actually seen them in Mexico. Yikes.
Planning is especially important for vegetarians, vegans and anyone with food restrictions while traveling in rural Mexico. You will have to ask a lot of questions and your choices may be limited. Don’t be surprised that the sauces, frijoles and tortillas may not be vegetarian. If you can buy foods with labels and you know a few key Spanish words, then you can be in control of your diet. Lard is manteca (de cerdo). Learn the name and every variation of your food allergens in Spanish. I found several places on the internet that give away or sell “Allergy Translation Cards”. They look like this.
This article is about healthy no cook meals but the same strategy will work if you have any dietary restrictions and you have a kitchen or a campfire.
Be flexible and shop wisely:
Most of the ingredients for these healthy no cook meals are available at the local grocery store.
Start with tortillas, flour tortillas seem to be the most versatile without needing to be cooked. Look for shelf stable protein sources for example: canned tuna, chicken, shrimp and beans. Nuts are usually available, especially peanuts. Peanut butter should be on your list for quick breakfasts and lunches. Honey or jams can be used to sweeten any meal and you won’t need to refrigerate them.
Buy easy to prepare fruits and veggies that you can quickly wash or peel, and can be eaten raw, for example: carrots, cucumber, onions, zucchini, peppers, jicama, avocados, limes, cherry tomatoes, mangos, melons, bananas, oranges. Buy the freshest fruits and vegetables that you can find because they are the nutritional stars in these no cook meals. Canned fruits and veggies can be used in a pinch but avoid the high salt and sugar versions, which is what I see in my local grocery store.
Skip the lettuces, chard and other dirty vegetables that take lost of time and water to clean. It is rare to find pre-washed and packaged salad mixes as you leave the bigger cities. If you find them then I would re-wash them before eating.
Food safety and safe drinking water should always be a concern and a priority wherever your travels may take you. The water you wash produce with should be safe drinking water. Nothing ruins a trip faster than a food born illness.
You’ll need a knife, cutting board, a can opener and ziplock bags for leftovers or to pack your lunch.
3 Day Sample Menu
No Cook, Healthy Meals
- Peanut butter and banana tortilla wraps or sandwiches
- Almond milk overnight oats with nuts and fruit: Combine quick cooking oats, non-dairy milk, a drizzle of honey or jam in a ziplock and let sit overnight. Add fruit and nuts in the morning and breakfast is ready.
- Breakfast burritos: Spread pinto bean frijoles in a tortilla with salsa and red pepper strips.
- Tuna fish wraps: Buy oil packed tuna, drain and flake, combine with thin slices of cucumber, carrot and red pepper and wrap in a tortilla or eat as a salad. Add a squeeze of lime. A few jalapeño slices would give you a spicy tuna wrap.
- “Waldorf” fruit salad: Combine rough chopped walnuts, celery, and apples. Make a dressing with olive oil, orange juice, honey and lime juice. Serve with a hummus wrap and remaining vegetables.
- Hummus wraps: Smash cooked garbanzo beans with a fork, add a tablespoon of olive oil, a squeeze of lime, and thinly sliced onion and zucchini. Use in a wrap or as a dip for other vegetables or tortilla chips.
- Canned chicken, honey lime chipotle salad: Combine 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of minced jalapeño or to taste, a teaspoon of honey, squeeze of lime and whip with a fork. Combine canned chicken, 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, diced mango and serve in halved red pepper cups for a gourmet touch.
- Baja shrimp wraps: Rinse canned shrimp. Mix with garbanzo beans, olives, diced celery and tomatoes, olive oil, lime, and any combination of peppers. Wrap in a tortilla.
- Burritos bowls: Combine drained and rinsed black or pinto beans, canned corn, diced red or green pepper, olives sliced, sliced avocado and chunky red salsa.
Healthy No Cook Meals Shopping List:
PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST, HEALTHY NO COOK MEALS
- flour tortillas
- peanut butter
- honey or jam
- quick oats
- non-dairy milk or shelf stable cow's milk
- canned tuna
- canned chicken
- canned shrimp
- canned or bags of vegetarian pinto, black and garbanzo beans
- oregano or cumin
- canned salsas
- olive oil
- red bell peppers
- crispy tostados or tortilla chips
- dark chocolate for a healthy treat
- tequila for obvious reasons
- Step 1 Minimal gear packing list, sharp knife, can opener, cutting board, safe drinking and food prep water, ziplock bags, silverware, plates, bowls, wash basin and dish soap
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