All riders can relate to that hour of the day at which we hit a wall, usually around 1:30pm when our bodies finally succumb to the fact that lunch isn’t going to fit in the agenda. Between barn chores, work, rides, competitions, and more barn chores, it’s not even uncommon to realize that eight hours have gone by since our last meal (if you can call a banana and a latte a meal). These situations can tempt us into unhealthy nutritional territory.
As disciplined as we are about our horses’ feeding schedules, we often manage to neglect our own dietary requirements by skipping meals or reaching for the family size bag of Sour Patch Kids conveniently stashed in our tack trunk. The irony is not lost on us, and the topic of how to stay fueled up throughout the day has been a consistent conversation among our peers during this busy winter show circuit. We turned to a few pros to find out what they eat while on-the-go, and were delighted to discover that with some simple planning – like, really simple – we can rely on a handful of grab-and-go or easy-to-prep meals to provide the energy necessary to keep us from raiding the carrot bin, or surrendering to the pocket full of peppermints swiped from our favorite restaurant (What? Every rider does it!).
The Most Important Meal of the Day
FIBER & ENERGY SMOOTHIE
This comes in two iterations: tasty, and not-so-tasty-but-very-healthy. For the tasty version, add fresh or frozen spinach to a high powered blender. Add frozen blueberries and additional fruits of choice, as well as half a cup of non-fat Greek yogurt, two tablespoons of chia seeds (this is the energy part), and some coconut or tap water. Blend, and bottoms up! For the uber health-nut, swap spinach for kale, ditch the yogurt and add some hemp seeds and apple cider vinegar, then hold your nose and chug as fast as possible.
We know it’s a “thing,” but avocado toast is so simple and packed with nutrients that we were happy to hear it’s the breakfast of champion eventer Allison Springer, a four-star rider, trainer, and coach. “I start each day with a piece of whole wheat toast topped with avocado and a slice of provolone cheese. It’s my favorite time of day to have my avocado toast with a N’Espresso latte. It really gets me going.”
PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY
One cannot argue against this tried and true American snack. Springer has relied on PB&J every single day for years, and pairs hers with a banana. “Obviously it’s good for you and it gets you through the day, but most important, I can keep doing what I’m doing while having my sandwich. I don’t have to pause to eat in the middle of my day.”
YOGURT WITH GRANOLA
Springer also makes her own yogurt parfait using recycled jelly jars. “I fill them with Greek yogurt and, depending on the season, I’ll add fresh berries. I also keep Ziploc bags filled with pumpkin seed and flax seed granola. Then I mix it all together at the barn. Again, I can eat while I’m coaching.”
FRUIT WITH ALMOND BUTTER
Showjumping Olympic medalist Lucy Davis turns to this heart-healthy combo. The banana is her fruit of choice due to its inherent travel-friendly design, especially when paired with the new single-serving packaging from Noosh almond butters. Davis also gets her kick from coffee, particularly almond milk cappuccinos. The energy-dense benefits of almond-based substitutes include healthy fats, as well as high fiber and antioxidants.
W.W.B.D.? Of course when it comes to rider nutrition, we had to ask ourselves, “What would Boyd do?” and luckily, Mr. Martin was happy to let us in on his nutritional regimen. “I’ve been using Isagenix products for a while now. The bars are easy to eat on the run, and they also have energy supplements for an extra boost. I might grab a sandwich, or coffee and a muffin between horses, but I don’t generally have time to sit down for a meal in the middle of the day, so it’s important to keep fueling up as I go,” he said, then adding that he also keeps a Red Bull on hand for when additional energy is needed.
Grab a bag of these individually wrapped vitamin C-bombs for a hydrating snack that can be stored at the barn. At OR, we keep two or three in the car along with a few other quick fixes, such as packets of instant oatmeal, RXBARS and…yes, Sour Patch Kids. Because one never knows when hanger will strike…
PLAIN OLD WATER
Last but not least, both Davis and Martin reminded us, “Stay hydrated!” While Davis keeps water handy at all times, some of us need a friendly nudge. The WaterMinder app will ping at you all day, and help to easily keep track of fluid intake. For those who require a little flavor in their water, Springer is a fan of the Cranberry Spritzer (soda water with a splash of juice). “I only recently discovered the large Yeti travel tumblers and I use mine daily. It keeps my spritzers cool in the summer, and my green mint tea hot in the winter.”