Even the healthiest and best-prepared road tripping skiers have been there. Foodless, hungry, and oddly tempted by the gleam of the lifeless and packaged foods inside. For foodies, this is truly a nightmare. However both Food and Wine and The Wall Street Journal have cited one shocking food trend of 2011: gas station gourmet. So there might be hope yet. For skiers who find themselves stuck at a not-so gastronomic truck stop, here are three of the best meal-on-the-shelf picks, plus some of the top ski-town gas stations eateries in the U.S.
Meal #1: Banana, Sunflower Seeds, Campbell’s Low-Sodium V8 – Why not the apple, you might ask? Because non-organic apples have some of the highest pesticide residues while the thicker-skinned banana has more protection. Plus, banana’s high vitamin B6 content modulates inflammation and fatigue. Next, the sunflower seeds are one of the best food sources of vitamin E, which helps neutralize damaging free radicals produced in the body during exercise. Lastly, the V8 is low in sugar and packed with potassium that will combat the muscle cramping common during long drives post slope-slaying.
Meal # 2: Elk Jerky, Cashews, Glaceau Smart Water – In the west, many ski towns have an active hunting population so finding custom elk or buffalo jerky on the shelf isn’t out of the question, especially in Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho. Neither of those animals are allowed to be treated with the hormones or antibiotics commonly used in beef, and they’re excellent sources of muscle rebuilding protein. Reach for packaged cashews, which contain copper, a mineral that helps provide flexibility in bones and joints. Finally, water is always better than soda for the skier who needs to rehydrate after exercise, and the electrolytes in Smart Water are an extra bonus.
Meal # 3: Crunchy Peanut Butter Cliff Bar, String cheese, and Unsweetened Iced Tea – What’s great about this Cliff Bar option is the organic milled flaxseed and psyllium in it. These are excellent sources of dietary fiber, needed to keep things, ahem, moving, which they often do not on long road trips. Peanuts are also a good source of tryptophan, which can help the backseat rider get some needed shuteye. The string cheese packs nerve conducting, muscle contraction promoting calcium that is depleted easily during exercise. Lastly, if water isn’t going to cut it, go for the unsweetened ice tea option, which packs vitamins and minerals instead of high fructose corn syrup.