Eating at A Horse Show Survival Guide
As with any sport, good nutrition is extremely important in riding. Keeping your body as healthy and fit as possible allows you to ride at your best, maintain energy throughout long horse show days and can prevent injuries. Healthy eating at horse shows can be challenging, due to limited options and tempting alternatives, but it’s crucial to keeping your body at its optimum potential. It’s so easy, especially after a bad round, to grab a candy bar or bag of Doritos instead of something that will benefit your body (and, trust me, there are days that require Doritos) but today, I’m going to share the ways I was able to maintain a healthy balance at horse shows.
I feel like I say this a lot, but PREPARE!! Whenever I have a horse show, I like to pack a variety of snacks that are healthier, so I have those snacks at an arm’s reach rather than something like chips or cookies. I like to pack granola bars, cut up veggies/fruit, sandwiches, almonds and pistachios, crackers, apple sauce squeezes, etc. It’s super important to stay well-fed during horse shows to stay awake, strong, and confident. Furthermore, you need to stay hydrated. I highly recommend you purchase an insulated water bottle, like Hydroflask or Hydropeak, to have throughout the day, so you always have ice cold water at your fingertips. Most shows have water coolers for refills or the option to buy bottled water.
My next tip is if you’re hungry, try eating the healthy things first. Healthy foods have so much more nutrients than junk food. They will keep you full for much longer and help you stay focused. Afterwards, maybe indulge in some chocolate or other candy as a little treat if you’re still craving it. Just remember, it’s ok to crave something sweet, but balancing that piece of chocolate with something that will benefit your body is key! Another idea is to “trick your body.” I like to have something that is super nutritious but is on the sweeter side, satisfying my body completely. For example, I love to have peanut butter and banana on a whole wheat toast. It’s super filling and delicious, but also makes me feel like I’m having a desert. Another one of my favorites is a smoothie bowl. Not only are they so healthy for you, but you feel like you’re eating ice cream, when you’re really not. I love to make these smoothie bowls and add toppings like strawberry, banana, cacao nibs, goji berries, peanut butter, etc. I hate the idea of labelling foods as bad or good. I like to think of it as fueling my body. What is going to give my body what it needs to carry me through a tough day? After that, treats are a bonus!
There are so many vendors around horse shows and personally, I love to eat there every once in a while. However, a lot of these places have both really healthy and unhealthy foods. So how do you choose? Personally, I find it’s all about balance. Most days, I will automatically reach for something healthier to make me feel good and full, like a salad, sandwich, or veggie bowl. But, some days I’m in the mood for something like a quesadilla or grilled cheese, and that’s ok! If I am in the mood for something like a quesadilla, I will add some protein, like chicken, and some veggies to add some nutrition and keep me fuller longer.
Here are some great options you can find at most horse show food vendors:
Granola Bar/protein bar
Apple Sauce Squeeze
Fruits (bananas, apples, fruit cups, etc.)-I love to add peanut butter to my apples and bananas to give me extra fat and protein so it fills me up
Veggies (cucumbers, carrots, peppers, celery, etc.) and add hummus!
Acai Bowl w/ Granola, Banana, Strawberry, Goji Berries, Cacao nibs
Pb & J
Salad-make sure you add protein and fat so it really satisfies you
Stir fry bowls with lots of interesting veggies
Soup-soups are a great way to get in extra vegetables and the broth is hydrating
Bagels (my personal favorite is multi-grain or plain)
Avocado Toast (Most vendors sell this now!!)
Pasta (Regular, Pesto, Cold Pasta Salad)
Pizza-yes, pizza! Choose an option with some veggies and lean protein like chicken and pizza can be a great option for the carbs, fat and protein your body needs!