When you’re on a surf trip, following a balanced diet that properly fuels your body is especially crucial. Photo: Mark Morgan @mxmsurfphoto

Your boards are strapped to the roof, your best friend’s riding shotgun and there’s only one more sleep until you hit the road. What have you forgotten? A towel? Packed. Wetsuits? All over it. Your tent? Sorted. Healthy meals and snacks? Errrrrrrr…

Food is often overlooked when road trips come around. But, when you’re surfing two to three times a day, you need all the energy you can get. The food you eat is your most important energy source. Think ‘You get out what you put in’.

Sydney-based nutritionist, Samantha Truswell has founded her career on natural medicine – aka the healing power of nature. She stands by the fact that, “health starts with the food we eat and the lifestyle we choose”. Choosing the best, easiest and most nutritious food for your next surfing road trip might sound time-consuming and even expensive. But, it doesn’t have to be – scout’s honour. With a bit of preparation, an esky and a decent knife, healthy eating on the road is a piece of nutritious cake.

Why bother with healthy eating?

Samantha is a big fan of getting out of the city to catch a few waves, hanging out with her favourite people in nature and cooking simple nutritious meals. “My philosophy centres around traditional methods of cooking and preparing seasonal, sustainable and local wholefoods. Balance, variety and moderation are important too. This is where I believe the foundation of health lies,” explains Samantha.

When you’re on a surf trip, following a balanced diet that properly fuels your body is especially crucial. “Not eating enough or eating mostly simple carbohydrates (bread, cereals, refined food) when you’re surfing for long periods time can play havoc with your blood sugar levels. This in turn affects your energy, mood and performance,” adds Samantha.

“A meal that contains a source of protein, good fats and plant-based carbohydrates (vegetables) is your best option. The combination of protein and fat provides you with a steady supply of energy and keeps you satisfied for longer”.

Top five tips for nailing the menu on your next surfing road-trip

1   A little preparation goes a long way. With the right tools, cooking on-the-go is a breeze. Pack some basic cooking equipment (think fry pan, tongs, a decent knife, cutlery, light-weight bowl/s, mug/s, a lidded cast-iron dish, small chopping board, esky) + a few essential cooking ingredients and condiments (think olive/coconut oil, butter, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper). Always remember to have plenty of drinking water handy too!

2   Enjoy the extra time on your hands. Make the most of the chilled-out pace of camping. Spend time preparing substantial and healthy meals with your mates. Plan ahead and cook up a feast.

3   Leftovers leftovers leftovers. Think of meals you can use and repurpose in a variety of ways. For example, tonight’s bolognaise can be tomorrow’s nachos.

4   Cook in cast iron. If your campsite allows fires, invest in a cast iron dish. It’s great for cooking hearty and nutritious meals over an open fire.

5   Don’t forget the car trip. Prepare some tasty snacks for the car trip (there and back). This way you’re not tempted to indulge in fast food chains and petrol station snacks along the way.

Next time you’re planning a trip along the coast, take ten minutes and plan out a few meal and snack options. The right food will keep you alert, strong and smiling all weekend long.

By Matilda Meakes