The Athletic Rider: 10 Tips for Eating Clean on the Road

Going to a horse show doesn’t mean you get to ditch your diet and hit the concession stand. Personal trainer Leah Hinnefeld explains that a little planning ahead goes a long way.


Let’s say you’ve finally started to get a handle on how to eat healthy at home. You have a great shopping list that you use each week. You plan your weekly menu and stick to it. You pre-cook lean proteins, pre-chop vegetables and plan a ‘treat meal’ to keep you from splurging every night. You have a handful of standard meals that you can make from memory. You even have an emergency stash of five-minute meals for those evenings when the barn work takes longer or the vet arrives later than expected.

You are a clean eating rockstar.

But then something happens… you look at your calendar and you have a horse event coming up. In another city. Away from the safety and security of your healthy pantry. How do you avoid a complete nutrition panic or clean eating meltdown?

There is no question that one of the most frequently asked question I hear is, “How do I eat clean on the road?” Maintaining a healthy nutrition program takes a little planning when you are going on the road, but it is far from impossible. Hopefully these 10 tips will make your next road trip a little less stressful-at least as far as what you eat!

10 Tips for Eating Clean on the Road:

1. If you are staying in a hotel, choose one in close proximity to a variety of restaurants and grocery stores — the bigger variety, the better chance you will find one with healthy menu items.
2. Do an online search for restaurants near your location. Most restaurants have online menus so you can plan your meals before you arrive. If you can’t find the menu online, call and ask the restaurant to email or send one to you.
3. Choose a room with a kitchenette and make time to stop by a grocery store either just before or just after you check in.
4. Bring a big cooler. (Travelpro makes a great one used by pilots and flight attendants.)
5. Bring non-perishable snack items like nuts, seeds, fruit, jerky, oatmeal packets.
6. Bring pre-make homemade nutrition bars or cookies. (Here is a link to one of my favorites.)
7. Bring commercial snack bars-my favorites are Larabars, Kind Bars and Dale’s Raw Bars.
8. Bring a powdered nutrient dense shake. My favorite is Shakeology because it is more than just a protein shake. It actually covers your daily dose of nutrient needs in one serving. My favorite protein-only powder is Plant Fusion.

If you are traveling by air:
9. Call the airline and request a healthier meal.
10. If you are going on a longer trip and traveling by air, ship some healthy items before you go (it is really not as expensive as you might think).

You wouldn’t leave what you feed your horse up to chance — so why not invest the same effort in your own nutrition needs? Your body will feel energized and your mind will be alert. Your investment in healthy nutrition might just give you that slight edge that helps you bring home the blue!


Leah Hinnefeld is a lifelong equestrian who spent over a decade studying hoof health and metabolism in horses before turning her attention to rider fitness. Leah is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Fitness and offers Virtual Fitness Training for riders and horse lovers. You can learn more about how to get fit to ride at Please contact Leah if you are interested in learning more about the Rider Fitness Boot Camps offered by The Athletic Rider.



Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *