Healthiest On-the-Go Options for the Traveling Rider

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When you’re on the road, usually hauling a horse or two behind you, getting hungry can feel like a desperate situation. You’ve got to find:  1) Somewhere that isn’t far off the highway, 2) Where you can pull your trailer in safely,  and 3) Food that won’t fill you with regret and indigestion for the remainder of your drive.

Of course, the best option is to pack food. This allows you to control exactly what’s in your food, and since it’s available to you as you drive, you won’t reach that “I’m going to run my car off the road in a fit of rage because I’m hangry” stage.

But sometimes we forget, so it’s helpful to know where you can stop and grab a quick bite that won’t throw your diet too far off track. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Chipotle. This is my absolute favorite “fast food” option and it can be made into – by far – the healthiest if you order the right stuff. They also make a bit of an effort to source their food responsibly, which is more than almost any other fast food joint can say. Here’s my usual order which is paleo-friendly (unless you consider rice off-paleo) and a good balance of carbs, protein and fat.

Burrito Bowl to go (the horses are waiting!) with:
1/2 scoop brown rice (they will do half portions or double portions – you just have to ask!)
The stir-fried veggies
2 scoops mild salsa
Guacamole (the key to staying satiated for the rest of your drive)

No chips, no soda (you’ll be okay, I promise). A large cup for water. It usually comes out under $10. Not bad!

2.  Starbucks. In the past few years, Starbucks has upped their game in the healthy food department. Now you can get coconut milk in your coffee instead of dairy milk, and you can pick up some healthy snacks so that the baked goods aren’t so tempting. Pro tip: If it’s behind the glass, don’t order it. This is where all the baked goods and breakfast sandwiches live. Go for the cheese and fruit trays or even the wraps in the refrigerated display instead.

Some good munching options at Starbucks include:
Kale chips
Fruit and cheese plates
Fruit cups
Nut packets
Oatmeal cup – ask them to leave the brown sugar packet out of your baggie and just use the nuts and dried berries instead.
The peanut thai chicken wrap is yummy too and a bit more of a meal. It usually comes with grapes.

3. Sheetz. That’s right, you read that correctly. You can stop at a gas station and make the food work for you. At Sheetz, you can order specific ingredients in everything you get and while it may not be an abundance of leafy greens and clean proteins, it’s enough to work.

What to grab at Sheetz:
A made-to-order wrap or salad with grilled chicken and guacamole. Load on as many veggies as they offer.
There’s a pretty good protein bar selection – grab a Quest bar if you like those. This isn’t really clean eating but it’s better than a lot of other options.
Bags of nuts
Fruit cups! They always have cut up fruit in the refrigerators.
String cheese.
Hard boiled eggs

4. Chick-fil-a. This is an easy and quick fast food option and there are ways to work around your diet.

What to order:
Grilled chicken nuggets. Skip the sauces as they’re loaded with sugar and ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Grilled chicken wrap. Again, skip the dressing they offer with it.
Grilled chicken sandwich. I remove the bun and just eat the chicken.
Fruit cup
Superfood salad. Heck yes! They have a yummy crunchy kale salad with nuts and dried fruit. I’ve tried it and it’s delicious!

Happy traveling!

Stable & Spice

Fitness and nutrition series for equestrians.

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