Packing Primal: Meal Planning Hits the Trail
I find primal meal planning extraordinary simply at home, but as with any diet that diverges significantly from the Standard American Diet, it can be hard to maintain on the road. This weekend, I’m headed into the wilderness to compete in the Old Selam Endurance Ride — an equestrian challenge for which I want to be well-nourished on a familiar diet.
The good news is that I’m doing the meal planning, so I have full control over what I’ll consume. However, there are a few complicating factors:
- No refrigeration. Instead, I’ll have an ice chest with limited space.
- Little prep time. I’ve been to enough endurance races to know that cooking becomes a low priority in the heat of competition. I’ll have a camp stove, but little interest in making a big production of it. I have a horse to care for!
- Others’ needs. My significant other, who can outrun, outswim, and outcycle me any day of the week and shall henceforth be known as Ironman, is all for eating clean. However, as an endurance athlete, he goes for more carbs than I do, and he doesn’t eliminate grains. Our meals should accommodate both diets, which gets tricky when you can’t take the entire refrigerator and pantry along.
- Energy requirements. This is an athletic competition. I’ll need extra, non-grain, low-glycemic-index carbs to pull it off, but I want to remain focused on dietary fats for the bulk of my fuel. It’s a matter of striking the right balance!
Here’s the solution I’ve come up with. Hopefully, it’ll be useful next time you find yourself in a similar situation…and if you have any brilliant suggestions for me, please share in the comments!
Saturday’s Lunch on the Road — Turkey and avocado wraps (in romaine leaves for me, and in tortillas for Ironman). Jicama, apple, and grape salad with lemon-mint dressing.
Saturday’s Dinner in Ridecamp — Stifado (pre-made and reheated). Spinach salad with mixed raw vegetables and peach viniagrette. Larabars. Cabernet and dark chocolate (hey, we’re here to have fun!)
Sunday’s Breakfast Pre-Race — Banana with almond butter. Cold Hay Day Hash (Pre-made. Ironman will have time to reheat his and cook eggs on the stove, if he wishes, but I’ll need to get saddled up for an 8:00 a.m. start time.)
Sunday’s Lunch Mid-Race — Southwest chicken salad with olives, crudites and dip, hard boiled eggs, and plums. (I’ll be eating this during the mandatory hold, during which most of my time will be spent caring for my horse instead of preparing food, though Ironman’s help will make this a lot easier.)
Sunday’s Dinner Post-Race — Beef enchiladas (filling pre-made) with avocado and olives (in tortillas for Ironman, in a bowl for me). Coleslaw made with carrots, apples, raisins, and cinnamon. Celebratory (or possibly conciliatory) whiskey and dark chocolate.
Monday’s Breakfast in Ridecamp — Apple with almond butter. Hard boiled eggs. Larabars. (Basically, whatever is handy as we pack up for an early departure.)
Snacks — Primal Energy Mix, Larabars, and kippered herring to our hearts’ content. And, okay, beer.