Laurel and Justin (our pro triathlete training partner) left Monday morning for a cross country drive from NYC to LA. On day one, Laurel texted a photo of their first roadside picnic. She described the meal as "something that left me hungry by the time we got back on the road" and that it "wouldn't exactly make it into an Athlete Food cookbook."
In order to help Laurel and Justin improve their nutrition for the rest of the trip, I thought I'd post a few Athlete Food travel tips.
Make room in the car for a cooler. Fill the cooler with greek yogurts, cheese, baby carrots, ZICO and a few make-ahead road food salads.
Pack stash of your favorite snacks. It won't be easy to find Pirate's Booty or Glutino Pretzels at a gas station in the middle of Tennessee.
Use Google Maps. Search for grocery stores like Wegmans and Whole Foods that have trustworthy prepared foods and sushi. If you need to go out of the way to make a stop, do it. It'll be worth it. Also map out food stops for athlete-friendly fast casual restaurants like Chipotle, Panera, and Starbucks.
Dial Ahead. Search for a pizza place an hour or so down the road. Call up to place an order and then swing by for a pick up.
Don't forget utensils. It's hard to have a roadside picnic without a fork -- I love reusable bamboo cutlery (thanks to xterra pro triathlete Jessi Stensland for the tip).
Keep breakfast in mind. For a multi-day road trip, pack a bunch of oatmeal packets or make your own instant oat mix. You can make this quickly in the hotel room before hitting the road. Krispie Kremes from a convenience store aren't acceptable!
On that note, best of luck making healthy choices when you're at a truck stop in the middle of the night! Anyone have any advice on that one?