On-The-Go Nutrition: Plan Ahead when Traveling to Events

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By Breanne Nalder Harward, MS, RN — It’s the time of year when many of us have events away from home. Whether it’s a road trip to Southern Utah for a road fondo or a MTB race, a flight to one of the epic gravel events that are popping up all over the country, or anything in between it is crucial to prepare your nutrition too! We train hard to get ready for these rides, so let’s make sure to have a plan for all the food. As I always say, we want premium fuel for our engines to fire on all cylinders, and when we’re away from home that can become challenging. Here are a few tips to consider and a couple of staple recipes to use on your next adventure.

Know before you go

We all have particulars when it comes to sport nutrition products, and that’s ok! In fact, part of our preparation includes practicing the intake and timing of electrolyte mix, gels, bars, etc. Therefore, it’s a good idea to investigate what the event sponsors are and what might be provided at aid stations. Maybe it’s a product you’ve never tried, or worse one that you know doesn’t work for you. That way you can either try what will be provided in advance to be sure you like/tolerate it or know that you need to pack your ‘tried and true’ favorites. The last thing you want is to have a bad day on course because you didn’t have what you know your bodies needs to perform. It’s also worth looking up the local restaurants and grocery stores to know what your food options will be when you get into town. If there’s only a diner and a gas station, you’ll know you need to bring all your food. If there’s healthy places to dine, you can make reservations in advance to ensure you get the pre-race meal you want. And let’s not forget about breakfast the morning of an event. Make sure you either bring your go-to oatmeal and banana or check that your hotel’s breakfast has options that you like and of course that they offer food (and coffee!) early enough that you can eat and digest in time to get to the start.

What to pack

Having all your nutrition needs met when traveling is all about bringing your essentials! A quick list would include your vitamins, electrolyte, and recovery mix, and what I call “security snacks.” I am always over-packing to ensure I don’t have to settle for foods that may compromise performance. It may be a little extra weight and planning, but bring some of your favorite bars, some trail mix, protein powder, and a tub of your favorite electrolyte mix. That way you can ensure you don’t get stuck grabbing a donut or fast food or soda just to get by. Everything you put into your body in the days leading into an event has an influence; so, plan ahead, bring a cooler loaded with yummy healthy food, and know you will have what you need to ride your best!

Hydrating while traveling

I hope this isn’t redundant, but I want to remind you to drink, drink, drink! Travel is dehydrating by nature, even though we aren’t provoked to drink like we are when exercising and sweating. Always have water available, and it’s even a good idea to drink a bottle of electrolyte mix, especially when you’re gearing up for a long day in the saddle or the weather is forecast to be especially hot or windy!

Recipes

These energy bites are easy to prepare and travel with and provide nutrients to keep the engine burning strong. Enjoy!

  • Beets contain natural Nitrous Oxide to help increase your body’s ability to transport oxygen to your muscles.
  • Flour, oats, and dates give you the carbs you need for immediate energy.
  • Coconut and almonds provide healthy fat for sustained energy.
  • Cinnamon promotes fat utilization (just be careful not to use too much and give yourself dry mouth!)
  • Salt is a main electrolyte and helps balance the sweetness of the dates
Beet Root Energy Bites

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 14 bites

Ingredients
  • 9 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked
  • 1 large red beet, roasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose baking flour (or any GF flour you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds chopped
  • •1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to food processor and mix until a thick paste forms, scraping down the sides of food processor with rubber spatula as needed until evenly combined.
  2. Transfer mixture to the fridge for 15 minutes to chill and set.
  3. Form 14 energy bites from mixture and roll each in shredded coconut for added flavor.
  4. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks. Bring along in a small bag for fuel when you need an energy boost.

Cinnamon Date Energy Bites

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20 bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1.5 packed cups Medjool dates, pitted and soaked
  • 2 TBSP warm water

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until thick dough created.
  2. Add in more water to make texture sticker as needed.
  3. Chill in fridge to set for 10 minutes.

 

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