Athlete’s guide to eating away from home

Posted on February 13, 2019 by

Athletes are often travelling to compete and are away from home, which forces a change in routine and eating habits.

You don’t want travelling to interfere with energy levels and preparation for competition.

Adapting to your new setting can be achievable through a little planning and making sensible decisions when making food choices that are similar to what you would normally have when training in your familiar home environment.


Suggestions for eating away from home

  1. Once you arrive at your accommodation get to a supermarket to buy a few days’ worth of supplies including some snacks that you can pack and take with you for during the long days of competition, choose food outlined below that will nourish and help performance, not just give a sugar rush
  2. Try to include some fresh fruit or vegetables where possible as meals or snacks (big list of snack ideas for athletes)
  3. Make an effort to get the food you need while you are away, do research ahead of time if need be
  4. If there are no suitable foods available or you need some extra energy, consider beverages including 100% fruit juice, low fat flavoured milk or sport drinks before you choose soft drinks
  5. Avoid preparing or buying really large meals, fatty meats and sauces and high sugar foods as these will interfere with energy levels over the day and may lead to feeling tired later on
  6. If portions of snacks or meals purchased on the go are larger than what you would normally eat, then either share with team mates, discard what you don’t need or save for later in the fridge
  7. Aim to make choices balanced with some form of carbohydrate and protein and occasionally salad
  8. Be cautious of food safety and hygiene when buying food from an open counter or cafeteria, its best not to risk this and avoid where possible. Make sure hot food is steaming hot
  9. Use hand sanitizer or wash hands before eating if out and about
  10. When preparing food, avoid cross contamination of meat and keep surfaces clear and food refrigerated
  11. Reheat food so that it is steaming hot, only keep leftovers for no more than 3 days


The shopping list

In competition you want to mimic what you do and eat around training normally, so try not to start eating really different foods that you might not normally eat just because you are away from home! Here are some suggestions (but not limited to) that will be easy to prepare and keep at your accommodation for snacks and some meals. Bring some supplies form home like condiments, salt, pepper and tea bags or other creature comforts you might like.

Carb choices

  1. Crispbread or crackers – vitaweat / corn thins / cruskits – these are good to keep with you as well
  2. Cereal – Weetbix or Uncle Tobys plus varieties
  3. Whole meal or grain bread
  4. Low fat two minute noodles or hokkien noodles
  5. 90 second rice bags or rice tubs
  6. Tins baked beans and spaghetti
  7. Fresh or dried pasta – depending on facilities to cook
  8. Muesli/cereal bars – limit to 2 a day for variety

Protein choices

  1. Low fat milk – for cereal and tea and coffee
  2. Low fat yoghurt – ski d’lite or chobani tubs or tubes
  3. Slices low fat cheese or pre grated cheese
  4. 95g tins tuna
  5. ‘Up and Go’/ liquid breakfast type Poppa
  6. Skinless BBQ chicken for pasta dishes or sandwiches
  7. Shaved ham or turkey from the deli – include in sandwiches or snacks
  8. Mixed nuts or fruit and nut mix

Vegetables, salad and fruit

  1. Buy premade salad mixes from woolies/coles for sandwiches and meals – no cutting required
  2. Buy pre cut veges (from the fridge section) if it will help add them to dishes – stir fries or pasta
  3. Frozen veges are a good last minute addition and limit cutting and prep
  4. At least 1 piece of fruit for each day – minimum
  5. Fruit tubs or tin fruit as a backup or add to cereal

All of this is to keep you well and healthy under heavy demands.


Other important notes

  • Purchase any sauces you might need for dishes – pasta sauces, soy or oyster sauce for stir-fry
  • Buy or bring zip lock bags, to pack snacks
  • Don’t forget cling wrap – to keep food in the fridge
  • You might have to pay a little extra for convenience of meal preparation for some items with limited facilities

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