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Eating Right on the Rodeo Road

By Wrangler Network contributor Miss Rodeo America
This blog was written by guest blogger Lauren Neil – Miss Rodeo Nevada 2010. Lauren is currently a Certified Integrative Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and a Personal Trainer

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At first it is fun to eat barbecue beef, chicken, and ribs at every rodeo we visit, but after the 100th plate of beans, beef and dressing soaked salad, we start to feel a little bogged down. I know there were times I would have given my left boot for vegetables out of the garden or something not laden with sauce and salt. Not only do we start to feel the effects of endless nights of barbecue, gas station snacks and hotel continental breakfasts, we start to see the effects too.

There are few worse feelings in the world than not being able to get your foot in the stirrup because your wranglers have gotten too tight! So let’s talk about how to prevent that from happening and how to recover from that if you have already found yourself one belt hole too far in the wrong direction.

The first thing I always tell my clients is we have to find a sustainable plan that fits YOUR lifestyle. When you’re on the road, we have to find foods that don’t have to be kept cold, won’t spoil, and can be found in any tiny town we come across. Here are a few easy grab snacks and meals that don’t require a fridge and can be thrown into your bag for a healthy go-to snack or meal!

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Breakfast:

  • Instant oatmeal packs (ones without all the sugars are best, you can add dried fruit, nuts, seeds or even some dark chocolate chips!)
  • Protein shake with no bake energy bites that you can make ahead of time (see recipe at the end of this article)
  • Apple, orange, or banana and grab a low sugar yogurt from the corner shop or store, add some unsalted nuts

Starbucks

  • steel cut oatmeal (leave out the brown sugar or agave nectar)
  • yogurt parfait
  • fruit and cheese box
  • protein box

Snacks:

  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Fresh fruit (apples, oranges, tangerines, avocados, bananas) and veggies (carrots, celery, bell peppers and snap peas are all easy to travel with)
  • Individual hummus packs to dip veggies in
  • Kind bars or lara bars
  • Peanut butter and rice cakes topped with sliced banana, shredded coconut and/or mini dark chocolate chips
  • Individual tuna packets with a healthy choice of crackers

Meals:

Subway

  • Salad with turkey breast, any veggies you’d like, with oil and vinegar dressing
  • 4’’ mini sub (leave off the mayo and ditch the potato chips)

Burger King

  • The TENDERGRILL Chicken Garden Salad with Ken’s Fat Free Ranch dressing

Taco Bell

  • Two fresco tacos with black beans and rice

In and Out Burger

  • Double Meat Protein style burger (its wrapped in lettuce!) trade the spread for ketchup and mustard

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The other important detail of what we put into our body while on the road is what we drink! Please, please, please ditch the energy drinks and soda! There isn’t much worse that you could be consuming (diet drinks are even worse!) You might as well be drinking a can of spray paint or household cleaner. The amount of harmful chemicals and junk is beyond anything you should ever consume on a daily basis. I always guide people to keep their entire day’s worth of sugar under 45 grams, including natural sugars from fruits, carbs, dairy products.

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So, next time you reach for an artificial drink, check the nutrition label to see how many grams of sugar are in it. Instead, try unsweetened iced tea, water with lemon or cucumber and mint or one of my favorites, infused balsamic vinegars like lemongrass thyme or pineapple! (don’t knock it until you try it!) It is a great way to add some flavor to your water and also is good for digestion!

Remember, 90% of the time if you make healthy choices and stick to nutritious foods, 10% of the time you can reach for the treats and enjoy them with no guilt! You earned it! Be safe, healthy and have fun out there on the road!

All the best,

Lauren Neil

NO BAKE ENERGY BITES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts of choice
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  • Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.*
  • Once chilled, roll into balls or cut into squares. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep cold for up to 1 week, you can also freeze for later use or travel!

Makes about 20-25 energy bites