A common challenge among budding athletes heading away for an event is, of course, what foods to take. Whether it’s stocking up at the shops before travelling, deciding what to eat on the road, or preparing the perfect pre-race super meal, it’s an ever changing obstacle course to navigate! To make matters more confusing, many of us are opting for events in locations where both the local sources of food and means for preparing them are extra difficult.
As is often the case in eating well for health and high-performance, in my opinion it is all about preparation. There’s now plenty of fantastic non-perishable options that fall into the unprocessed, whole and real food basket. If you can spare a few extra dollars and some time to get stocked up on such items, you’ll set yourself up for a stellar performance no matter where on earth you’re headed.
The following are some of my favourite suggestions for foods to take that will last the journey, fit snug in your suitcase, promote good health and strong immunity, fuel your best performance and taste delicious.
A complete wellness and super gut health elixir, this stuff is the perfect travel companion to maintain a hardy gut as well as boosting immunity. At $20 for a small bottle, it certainly isn't inexpensive, though a little goes a long way and I absolutely urge you to rock it before you knock it. If you can’t find it or want another option, take a small bottle of apple cider vinegar. Hilbilby Fire Tonic.
These are a totally dependable steadfast in my luggage. All you need is to add a little water to a few tablespoons and wait a few minutes to have an energy efficient, high fibre and nutrient dense meal in a cup ready and waiting. Fantastic for breakfast, a snack or any other meal of the day, you can brighten things up with any of the toppings in the list below. Chia seeds also make a great homemade energy gel called iskiate.
Packed with muscle-friendly micronutrients, cacao powder is easy to travel with and mixes well to sweeten and flavour your breakfast – be it the chia seeds above, some porridge or muesli or even a cup of hot water.
Nuts & Seeds
Even better if they’re activated, nuts and/or seeds are a snack on the go or the perfect little additive for your chia or breakfast food. If you’re used to eating them while running, particularly in ultra-distance events they are a great race food.
There are so many delicious and nutritious granola mixes available nowadays. I’m happy with anything paleo to throw in my carry-on for a sneaky snack to nibble on as finger food or to pour on my chia mix.
Biltong or Jerky
Dried or cured meats offer a filling and flavourful option for those protein-type eaters, and also are an ideal choice for training or racing recovery. Plenty are now made with clean and healthy ingredients, sometimes as simple as just beef, apple cider vinegar and salt.
Coconut Cream or Coconut Milk
A couple of cans will go a long way if you can manage to take a small glass jar to store it in once opened and ideally have access to a fridge, too. Use it to add to coffee, make chia meals with, for porridge or granola. It’s not always in my luggage, but if I have room for the extra weight I will always take at least a can for the first couple of days of the trip!
Peanut butter, almond butter, macadamia butter or ABC butter. Whatever it is, these are a versatile and tasty option for snacking on by the spoonful, adding to breakfast, eating on the go during racing or for putting on toast, fruit, veges or crackers.
These are just some of my favourites, and I don’t always manage to take all of them on every trip. Other foods that might feature when I travel include freeze dried organic coffee (aka instant coffee organic style), dried fruits, seed crackers, bliss balls and paleo bars. There are so many exciting options to choose from, so I recommend sparing some time to purposefully stroll your local organic shop aisles!
If you’re looking to stock up on all of these things at once, it’s true you could spend in the range of $150. It’s totally up to you what sits right and what is manageable, simply prioritise the items from highest to lowest. I find it easy to regard this sort of purchase as an investment in not only my health, but my performance. After all, I’ve spent weeks upon months grinding out the miles at home; I’d hate for it to all come undone because of the processed plane food and questionable continental breakfast at an outback tavern homestay.
What do you like to take with you when there’s going to be limited resources. Leave a comment below.