With the summer travel season on the horizon and most pandemic restrictions in the rear-view mirror, a lot of people are looking forward to hitting the road with family or friends. Given the amount of travel miles I log, I’m often asked how I ensure I eat well while away from home.
One of the best parts about being a curling athlete is getting to travel and compete across the country. Throughout my career, I’ve competed in every province and in doing so, have learned so much about Canadian culture and food.
Until now, I had never counted my days away from home in a curling season, but I always knew it was a lot. This season, from October to March, I spent nearly 70 nights on the road for competition, coaching, and work. That’s a lot of hotel rooms and food on the fly.
If you’re like me, you might find that when you’re away from home and out of your routine, it can be harder to eat well. In a previous blog, I shared some of the strategies I have learned over my years of travel. It can be tough, but I know that when I make healthy food choices and prioritize my well-being, it helps me be my best in whatever I do.
Recently, I was competing in Sudbury at the 2023 Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. My teammate and I decided to rent a house instead of staying in hotel rooms for the week. For longer events, it’s nice to have common living space to relax and a kitchen where we can prepare our own food.
After we arrived in Sudbury and settled into the house, we went to the grocery store to stock up on food for the week. Our grocery list included breakfast foods like eggs, cereal, fruit, toast, and yogurt. We also got snacks like vegetables, dips, cheese, meat, and crackers. This gave us lots of options for food at our house, and we were able to supplement it with some meals out at local restaurants. We went to a fantastic Italian restaurant one night, and a highly recommended vegan taco lounge another.
Renting a house or staying in a hotel room with a kitchenette is one of my favourite strategies for eating well while travelling, especially for an extended period of travel. But it’s not always possible.
For example, in March, I was in Calgary for a few days and most of my meals were at restaurants with other people. When that happens, I try to eat enough protein and vegetables throughout the day, but I don’t stress too much about every single choice. Part of the fun of dining out with others is trying new things and sharing food.
When I can, I love to try local restaurants. Through recommendations from friends or searching reviews online, you can find restaurants that highlight local ingredients and focus on sustainability. Not only is the food fresh and flavourful, but you can also feel good about supporting local farmers and producers.
These days, it seems that any conversation about buying food includes a discussion about the cost. We’ve all noticed the increases in grocery prices and restaurant bills. I’m very mindful of the choices I make on the road that prioritize eating well but I’m also conscious of my budget. That’s one of the reasons why I like to buy most of my meals and snacks at the grocery store and then save the restaurants for special meals with teammates, colleagues or friends.
Although it can take a little extra planning and effort, eating healthy on the road can be enjoyable, cost-effective, and rewarding.
Lisa Weagle is an Olympian and World Champion in curling. A lifelong Ottawa resident, she is a three-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion and won gold, silver, and bronze at the World Women’s Curling Championships. She represented Canada in the 2022 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. She is a multiple all-star award winner, Scotties MVP, and a certified coach. Away from the rink, Lisa works as a communications specialist.