Word on the street is that there are some fun roller derby tournaments right around the corner, so I am here to talk about one of my favorite things: meal prepping! It sounds so daunting, doesn’t it? I’m here to reassure you that it doesn’t have to be!
Whether you have access to a tiny fridge in your hotel room or a full kitchen in your AirBnB, you can absolutely make it through a long weekend without having to resort to eating out for every meal, which can often leave you feeling malnourished and sluggish. The best thing you can do for yourself is to sit down a week or so ahead and plan out your meals for the days you’ll be competing. Start a google doc, make a grocery list, and plan out each meal on a calendar. Once that’s done, you now know what you need and how much to get, so that weight is lifted right off your shoulder. (I won’t lie to ya’ll- grocery shopping isn’t my forte, so here’s a quick shoutout to my partner who has been picking up the grocery slack for all seven years of our relationship. No one blasts through a shopping list like you, Kev. You are truly my Right Hand Man.)
Below are some of my favorite quick and easy meals and snacks that you can either pack away in your travel cooler or cook while you’re there if you have access to a kitchen. Of course every athlete has different nutritional needs so these are just examples that work for my own bod. I like to eat a little bit (lol jk A LOT) of everything and do not have any diet restrictions, so hopefully there are at least a few examples that work for everyone!
It’s always overnight oats for me. They are simple, nutritious, and tasty as all get out if you use ingredients that you love to eat. Oats are a complex carb and do a great keeping you full and energized for a pretty decent amount of time. I normally bring one or more small Tupperware containers or Mason jars with me depending on how long I’ll be out of town or if I have access to a sink to wash them out. I either bring a whole container of oats with me or fill each jar up with half a cup of oats, each ready to go for the next morning. The night before, you simply fill the jar with your favorite type of milk (yes, I always travel with milk) and your favorite mix-ins. My go-to is dark choccy chips and a whole mashed up banana, but I’ve also dabbled in strawberries and skyr. The next morning you can wake up anxiety free knowing you don’t have to waste time making breakfast because it’ll be ready and waiting for you.
If you have a full kitchen where you’re staying and you like to cook while you’re there, bring a big ol’ thing of eggs. I love a few scrambled or over easy eggs with some avocado toast for a filling, nutrient packed breakfast.
Quick Snacks/Small Lunches
One of my favorite bars to grab and go are Perfect Bars. They do have to be refrigerated but it’s rare that I won’t have a small cooler on me if it’s a long day. If that’s not your thing, LaraBars are my second choice- packed with nutrition, no refrigeration necessary. Not a bar person? Throw some hummus and pre-cut veggies in your cooler -peppers, tomatoes and whole wheat pitas are my favorite dippers.
Allergy alert! My best friend and forever derby travel partner has severe allergies to tree nuts, legumes, and peanuts. If and when I travel with her, I obviously do not pack any products that could harm her. If that’s relatable to your situation, she loves baba ganoush and with veggie dippers, and is really into dipping cucumbers into Sun Butter. I also have a teammate who swears by a pack of prosciutto wrapped cheese, and I am always here for that. Another mutual favorite for our regular traveling derby fam is PICKLES- any kind, all of them, yes please.
There’s approximately three whole dinner meals that I love to prep and bring in containers- my homemade turkey meatballs with whole wheat or chickpea pasta, and turkey taco kits.
Meatball recipe: If I tell you I’d have to kill you, mostly because I don’t have a recipe. I throw a bunch of spices, garlic, onion, etc., into some ground turkey meat and I make balls out of it, and same goes for the tomato based sauce I make for it. Make what works best for you. I prepare 2-3 balls per dinner in each container with a little bit of sauce and cooked pasta and top it off with a sizable amount of parmesan cheese.
Taco kit: I cook a whole ton of turkey meat in ye olde taco spices and usually end up just bringing a whole big container of the cooked meat. In another container I make a fresh pico de gallo, which for me consists of chopped tomatoes, onions and avocado with some salt, pepper, cilantro and lemon juice. I pack packets of shredded cheeses and soft tortillas as well. Add in whatever fixings you love most!
Butter chicken with veggies and rice: Get yourselves some chicken breasts and slow cook them in some butter chicken sauce. Yes, I buy my sauce already made from Market District. No, I am not sorry. I normally will either bake some asparagus or brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then make up whatever kind of grain you like best with it- for me it’s rice or quinoa. Divvy it all up between containers or pack each part of the meal individually.
As previously stated, what works for me does not work for every athlete. Hopefully each of you finds at least something in this blog that will be helpful for your big trip to RollerCon, Summer Affair, or any fun tournament that is on your horizon! If you have any meal prep ideas that are for specific diet restrictions such as vegan, vegetarian, low carb or gluten free, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Quick tip to top this one off- always give yourself permission to go out and grab a meal or two with all your derby pals. It’s a great way to decompress, relax with your teammates, and hang out with people you never get to see!