If you couldn’t tell from my previous posts, I thrive on a good challenge. So, how to eat fresh, nutrient-dense meals while training for an off-road triathlon and constantly traveling? But I’m determined to stay healthy to help my training pay off. I’ve been reading up on sports nutrition for endurance athletes and hitting the aisles of New Zealand supermarkets to uncover a few things to help keep me on track.
To start, here is some helpful reading:
I can’t claim to be an expert but a few pillars of nutrition have stuck out and now I stick by them: Eat fewer carbohydrates on rest days, cut down on anything with sugar including most starches and continue not eating meat. Specialists have indicated that nutrition is almost as important as the training itself and while that's great in theory, it's tough in practice. After a few weeks traveling in New Zealand I was starting to get the hang of things. I knew what to shop for, what I could cook on overnight trips in the backcountry and take on long days on the trails. Here are my suggested packing lists and menu ideas:
Long Day on The Mountain Bike:
Breakfast: If I have at least an hour between breakfast and the start of the ride I’ll scramble some eggs with green veggies, coffee and almond milk.
Every hour and 15 minutes: I’ll rotate between Pic’s Peanut Butter Slugs (nicely portioned packets for the trail), fruit (New Zealand has incredible produce) or raw nuts. Honey Stinger or Clif gels in an emergency or on race day only
Lunch: In a plastic bag, I’ll add two sliced hardboiled eggs, a handful of spinach or chopped kale, sliced carrot then mix in Tahini, salt and pepper. Don’t forget a small plastic fork!
After Ride: Within 15 minutes most endurance nutritionists insist that athletes replenish with plenty of water and protein. After our rides there is typically a bunch of faff, driving, showering etc.. so I pre-make a protein shake so I don’t feel rushed.
Long Trail Run:
Breakfast: I tend to get a nervous tummy on long trail runs so I’ll mix some protein powder in with greek yogurt and a handful of gluten-free granola as to not feel too full. I'd recommend New Zealand's locally made, Yum Granola and a protein powder from NuZest Clean Lean Protein from Health 2000.
Every hour: Popular and easy to find are the Smoosh Balls - with only five ingredients these are sweetened with dates and pack a punch when it’s tough to eat on the run. Again, Honey Stinger or Clif gels in an emergency or on a race day only.
Lunch: This is a tough meal to handle while running so I pack simple foods like hardboiled eggs, nuts and Sealord Tuna Packets (these are awesome but don’t forget a plastic fork)
After Run: This practice is the same as the long bike ride. Within 15 minutes I’ll have a protein shake on hand to refuel.
Mountain Bike Trips:
Lunch(es): Hard boiled eggs, parmesan slices and an apple.
Breakfast: Protein powder mixed with gluten-free porridge and a banana.
Overnight Kayaking Trips:
It was such an awesome surprise to discover all of the extra storage space kayaks have. Rather than worrying about the weight of heavy backpacks, we had room to add loads of fresh veggies and even a cutting board!
Breakfast: cut an egg carton down to size and pack enough eggs for a veggie scramble each morning. Courgette (zucchini), capsicum (bell peppers) and mushrooms seem to travel best. Don’t forget salt, pepper and a small baggie of coconut oil for cooking.
Lunch: hard boiled eggs, tuna packets, raw nuts and seeds, slices of hard cheese and fruit are great options.
Dinner: Leftover veggies from breakfast, tin of rinsed chic-peas or mixed beans and a nice pre-mixed baggie of spices or soy sauce.
Hopefully you'll find this useful if you're looking to spend time on a holiday or relocate to New Zealand. In our 4+ months doing regular trips and adventures, I did plenty of supermarket crawling. I found the best place to gather the food listed is in New World Market, Health 2000 and local bike shops. If this is the start of your journey - enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments.