Eating On the Road

Posted on: December 28th 2016

… Or, How To Not Be That Weirdo With a Cooler!

It’s all well and good to follow a meal-plan and stick to your habits when you’re in the comfort of your own home, but what about when you’re on the road and you don’t have the ingredients or tools that you want?

Since Derby Fuel is all about having a plan for nutritional success, derby weekends needn’t be a reason to go too far off-plan.

Before you leave:

  • Research where you’re going, read the hospitality packages that are provided to you – there are often some great restaurant options in there, see where the local markets are, talk to local skaters to see where they shop for food.
  • Pack a cooler, a can opener, and a mid-sized piece of tupperware. You never know if your hotel will have a mini-fridge, so better to be prepared.  If you’re going to be gone for longer than a day or two, aim to book a hotel with a mini-fridge.
  • Pack your ingredient swap list.  This will really help when buying your road trip groceries and making choices at restaurants. Flexibility is key – as long as you’re substituting similar nutrients, and the dishes you’re choosing don’t contain a lot of extra additives, you’ll do just fine!

For the drive there:

If you’re leaving on a Saturday, and you don’t have to get up crazy early in time to make your game, stop at your local farmer’s market to buy car snacks – veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds. That way you’ll be far less inclined to make questionable road stop choices. If you’re leaving on a non-market day, pick up some smart snacks from the supermarket – get your whole carpool in on it!

Stay hydrated! For every caffeinated beverage (and I know there can be lots on those marathon trips), try to match with a bottle of water. Dehydration can negatively impact performance, so make sure you’re looking after yourself on your way to the bout.

Once you get to your destination:

Remember to eat like an athlete! There’s always a solid restaurant find in a derby town – do your research in advance. Read menus online, make choices that will fuel the next day’s activity, and try not to eat anything too unusual to your routine – when it comes to sports nutrition, familiar foods are your friend.

If you’re eating out, choose a meal that provides you with lean protein, high quality carbs, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats. Try to avoid anything overly processed.

ALWAYS go to the grocery store! My first stop in any new city is the local market where I can pick up meals to eat at the hotel, meals for the venue, and snacks to keep me going. When you’re shopping, think about ingredients you can make multiple meals with and ingredients that can also serve as snacks.

What can you even cook in a hotel?

Well, if you get put up in a swanky suite with a full kitchen, you can cook whatever you’d like, but since most of us travelling for derby are trying to keep it frugal, there’s lots you can do with just a microwave and mini-fridge (or even no microwave and a cooler with ice from the machine).  

Wrap It Up! – Ingredients: tortilla (or lettuce leaf), can of tuna, spinach, (peppers, scallions, cucumbers if you’d like). Drain tuna, chop up all the things, wrap them in your leaf or wrap, enjoy! If you want to make this a salad instead, omit the wrap and maybe toss some cottage cheese on top too!

Micro-Eggs – Ingredients: 2 eggs, spinach, peppers, scallions, mushrooms. Crack two eggs into your packed tupperware container, add chopped peppers, spinach, scallions, mushrooms. Mix and microwave for 30 seconds. Fluff, and continue cooking for 10 second blasts until cooked.

Put a little bit of time in to have the necessary plates/bowls/utensils with you before you hit the road and your body will thank you!

Eating Out

When you’re following a nutritional plan, eating out (or going to parties where food is served) can seem challenging – but it doesn’t have to be!  You can use a few simple strategies to eat well when you’re not the one preparing your food.

  • Do your research: Study menus before you go out.  Have a plan of what you want to order, and a backup plan in case your first choice isn’t available.  The most important part of good nutrition is planning ahead.
  • Ask questions: You don’t have to ask a million questions, but you can certainly ask if side dish substitutions are available, or if you can get your burger without a bun and so on.  It takes some courage, but you’ll be happier in the long run if you ask.
  • Time it right: If you know that you’ll be going to a restaurant or party where either starchy or off-plan meals will be served (that you want to eat), you have some options:
    • Treat the meal as part of your 10% and enjoy!
    • If the meal isn’t way off-plan, get a training session in before you go out, and let your body make those starchy carbs work for you!

More party tips: Just being mindful about what you eat at parties can make a world of difference. Think about the nutrient content before you put something on your plate or in your glass.  

You can also:

  • Keep your plate stocked with veggies
  • Stand further away from where the food is
  • Keep your glass full of water all night
  • Eat and/or train before you go
  • Bring some healthy snacks to share
  • Don’t arrive on an empty stomach.

Just remember to ask questions, do your research and plan ahead.  As long as you have a plan (and a backup plan) restaurants and parties should be a breeze.