Jun 16, 2017
On the Road Again
Lindsey Remmers

Athletes’ schedules can be summed up in one word: busy. Whether it’s practice, class, a team meeting, a weightroom workout, a study session at the library, or traveling to an away game, they always seem to be headed somewhere. With so little time to sit and eat, fueling on the go is vital.

It is especially important when on the road. Not only is proper nutrition critical for maintaining energy levels, but it also helps fuel the body to fight the fatigue and dehydration associated with traveling. Unfortunately, when long hours on the bus and odd flight schedules prompt a stomach growl that says, “I’m hungry,” athletes are often not as prepared as they should be.

But they certainly can be. The trick is planning ahead. Here at the University of Nebraska, we often pack food for the trip, scope out the grocery stores located nearest the team hotel, and see which restaurant options are available–and if any of them will deliver to the playing site. And if a team has to go the fast food route, the athletes are educated on the options so they know what to look for.

Many athletes view traveling as a vacation or getaway and give themselves more leeway with what they eat. But when teams are on the road, that means they’re competing, and it isn’t a good time to compromise nutritional intake.

The best option is to bring familiar, healthy, and nutritious snacks and drinks when traveling. We purchase food items in bulk, then send our athletes on the bus with their own individual-size servings.

Teams can also easily pack a small soft-sided cooler with bags of ice to keep perishable foods cool. At each gas station or rest stop, they can refresh the bag of ice from a soda fountain. Here is a list of items that will supply athletes with carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, and are easy to pack on a van or bus trip:

  • Whole fruit: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, peaches
  • Greek yogurt and granola
  • String cheese
  • Jerky
  • Peanut butter and jelly ingredients (100% whole wheat bread, whole fruit jam or honey, natural peanut butter, and plastic knives)
  • Tuna packets
  • Triscuits, Wheat Thins, rice cakes, Kellogg’s Cracker Chips
  • Whole grain Goldfish
  • Trail mix
  • Dry cereal (great choices include Kashi cereals, Multi Grain Cheerios, Cinnamon Life, Quaker Whole Hearts, and Quaker Life Crunchtime)
  • Horizon low-fat chocolate milk (shelf stable)
  • Dried fruit
  • Protein shakes
  • 100% juice boxes
  • Clif and Kashi bars
  • Fruit cups
  • Yogurt parfait cups
  • Water.

Lindsey Remmers, MS, RD, CSSD, LMNT, is the Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Nebraska.

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