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Favorite DIY horse show meals?

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  • Favorite DIY horse show meals?

    A friend has asked me to craft her some meals that she can have while she is showing, to stay on track health wise (i.e. not just grabbing whatever horse show food there is, when she remembers to eat). It has to be able to be consumed cold, and kept good in a cooler for the weekend.

    I plan on giving her meals with balanced macros, and while I am not afraid of carbs, and recognize the benefits of them, i am also looking for more options then just your standard pasta salad and sandwiches, but i definitely am not looking to exclude carbs either (considering they are a normal part of her diet, and she is eventing two horses at the higher levels, in the heat, so will have good calorie consumption over the weekend, and needs fuel for her body).

    I have some ideas already, I make a good rice noodle salad wrap that would be easy for the drive. I plan on doing a taco turkey Mason jar salad. A grilled chicken, homemade hummus and pita plate with plenty of fresh veggies.

    I have a feeling if this works out for this weekend, I will be helping her out more with it, which I don't mind at all, I love cooking for people I care about. I would love to hear what others have made for cold meals to give me inspiration and a starting point for future menus!

    (For reference - no allergies, no major food dislikes, just isn't crazy about super spicy)

  • #2
    I always take a big salad -- mainly large-ish chunks of tomato, cucumber, carrot, zucchini and black beans, with balsamic vinaigrette. Soooo good when it's hot out. (No lettuce. Possibly some spinach if it's going to be eaten soon, otherwise it doesn't do that well in the cooler.)
    ... and Patrick


    • #3
      A fancy grocery store near me used to make the most amazing cold curry tofu salad. I don't think I've found a recipe online that's exactly the same, but they all look pretty good. There used to be a food truck here that did indian food-type wraps that were addictive, cold or hot. Honestly, you could probably do wraps in infinitely many ways without changing many of the basic ingredients, just by switching up the dressings/sauces inside.

      I love hummus, and brought some to a show once. Tried eating it in front of an open stall door (with guard) - my horse nearly mugged me for it. Go figure! Anyway, something possibly to add to the middle eastern theme is muhammara - you do not have to use hot peppers. Delicious and relatively calorie-dense. Also for calorie-dense, I'd look for avocado dishes. Check out some vegetarian/vegan restaurant menus for creative bowl/wrap ideas too.

      Bonuses all around for anything that can be eaten without utensils!


      • #4
        At horse shows, whole meals rarely felt right.
        They made you eat too much at once and feel heavy and slow.

        Most of us made do with small sandwiches of all kinds.
        Those you can eat when you are hungry, even between regular meal times.
        You can make them out of an infinite variety of things and condiments, cold most, warm some of them, your imagination is the limit.

        If real meals don't seem to work at shows for your friend that well when you try some, try incorporating a variety of sandwiches with the meals.
        Don't dismiss them because they are just sandwiches.


        • #5
          I'm not that fancy and I usually drive back and forth so my stuff doesn't have to survive more than a day in a cooler.

          Salads (purchased or made at home), fruit (apples, bananas, chopped up fruit if I'm feeling ambitious), hard-boiled eggs, raw snow or sugar-snap peas, packages of nuts, various bars, sandwiches, tuna salad, cheese... I try to do stuff that can be eaten in shifts if there really isn't going to be a big enough break but feels like a meal if you eat a good portion of it.

          I always have a water bottle that can be refilled and usually pack some iced tea in the cooler as well.
          The Evil Chem Prof


          • #6
            I think the nicest part to someone preparing meals of any kind is that you don't have to worry with meals and what they prepare is always a nice surprise.

            That all makes the food oh so good.
            Big thanks to whoever does that for you.
            If it is to run somewhere for the food, even a fast food place, to preparing something like pieces of fried chicken or sandwiches of any kind.

            I bet your friend will really thank you for taking care of meals, whatever you come up with.


            • #7
              We have really lucked out this year and one of the moms at the barn has been making lunches for everyone. She often has chicken on a skewer or pieces of sausage, small pieces of corn on the cob, vegetables cut up, pieces of fruit. Everything is cold and really good.


              • #8
                Chicken curry salad cold is delicious, want carbs put it on crackers. We've done build your own chicken taco wraps before, definitely less healthy but tasty and filling for when you're on your feet all day. It's basically the ingredients to taco dip kept in separate containers in a fridge or cooler and you put them on a tortilla as it pleases you. There's a local restaurant that does high quality carry out and one of the moms always brings us some of that which usually includes their black bean hummus and house made chips. I've had that for dinner before lol.


                • #9
                  I made a quinoa tabbouleh the other day that was awesome- tons of fresh veggies, served cold and pretty refreshing. Would have been a great take to a show meal
                  "Traditions are basically just peer pressure from dead people"


                  • #10
                    At shows I have a hard time eating a full meal. I tend to want things that are light and small, and a bonus if cold. Because I eat small bits throughout the day, finger foods are preferred.

                    Cut up melon, grapes, baby carrots, celery, etc. are great. Add a few bananas, some crackers or pita chips, some granola or snack bars and I'm pretty happy. I will also usually have some candy like gummy bears for a real quick sugar hit. I might eat a small sandwich somewhere, but that is about my limit, and then only if I am done riding for the day. I always have lots of beverages, mostly water, but some gatorade or other flavored drinks.
                    "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham


                    • #11
                      Meat loaf. It's a food that travels well, can be easily reheated but also is good cold between slices of bread (or biscuit or cracker or just as finger food). All you need is some salt, pepper, and catsup. Paired with some chips (potato, corn, vegetable, fruit, or whatever) and a drink you've got something that is good tasting and easy to eat and than can be consumed quickly if time is a factor.

                      Salads are also good choices, taken dry and dressed at the time of consumption. Salad greens marinating in dressing over a long period of time are a food one might find in Hell!

                      Fresh fruit is great, as is be dried fruit (eaten as a snack) or in cans or other preserved fashion.

                      And chocolate. Remember that M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand!!!

                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


                      • #12
                        I picnic a lot when I trail ride. I find I don't really trust pre-made sandwiches (they get soggy) and certainly not meat, even with a cooler (except maybe pepperoni sticks). I end up with a lot of those individually wrapped cheeses (like Baby Bell) because they can survive OK in any temperature for a while. A hot thermos of soup or chili would be nice too, depending on the temperature. Yogurt can be surprisingly nice, if you have time to sit and use a spoon.

                        I think it would be useful to get the show schedule of the rider, and plan around that. If she is up early and grooming, she will want easy finger food for breakfast. I like bottled juices especially better quality ones, they give you water, a sugar hit, and maybe a few vitamins. Maybe a drinkable yogurt? Yogurt with granola is a nice breakfast, if you can pacakge it in serving sizes and she has time for a spoon.

                        A lot of showing is hurry up and wait. If she has all her classes over with by say 4 or 5 pm, after she settles the horses for the night, she might be ready to sit down and eat. Or even at noon, if her classes are all in the morning. So a big meal that could be either lunch or dinner, maybe a thermos of soup or chili, some really nice bread. I feel like I'd rather assemble a sandwhich out of a bun, some dip, and presliced cheese than deal with a sandwich that was 10 hours old.

                        I've enjoyed all kinds of dips, humus, guacomole, etc., on picnics with a picnic table, but there are *very dangerous* to try to eat out of your lap wearing a white show shirt.

                        Anyhow, my suggestions all revolve around taking prepackaged food on a picnic/camping trip, but you could also do this with better quality real or home made food. You could cut up cheese cubes and put them in sandwhich bags.

                        You couldn't really send her off with 3 days worth of thermoses though. It could be interesting to try some cold soups.

                        How will she be handling the cooler over the 3 days? Where will she be getting ice? is there ice on site, or will she need to go offsite and look for a gas station? Maybe plan on making the last day entirely dry goods, like cheese and bread and bananas, that don't require ice?

                        I agree, nothing too spicy, because even if you like spicy food, you don't want that potentially upsetting your stomach.


                        • #13
                          I live in the South where chicken salad is king! I recently made two different kinds for an outdoor bridal shower- a “regular” chicken salad with lemon juice, pecans, dried cranberries and bacon, and a buffalo chicken salad with bleu cheese and some Frank’s Red Hot Sauce In it. You can vary the amount of “hot” by varying the amount of hot sauce you put it. We served it on croissants and a really nice whole grain bread. It was light, especially with the heat, and seemed to go over really well because almost everyone went back for seconds and we had no left overs.
                          "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


                          • #14
                            I just want to say that you are a wonderful friend. She is lucky to have you.
                            Finding Cures, Saving Children. Sept. 29, 2019 Saddle Up for St. Jude event. Donate here.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                              I think the nicest part to someone preparing meals of any kind is that you don't have to worry with meals and what they prepare is always a nice surprise.

                              That all makes the food oh so good.
                              Big thanks to whoever does that for you.
                              If it is to run somewhere for the food, even a fast food place, to preparing something like pieces of fried chicken or sandwiches of any kind.

                              I bet your friend will really thank you for taking care of meals, whatever you come up with.
                              Yes this, beggars can't be choosers!! If someone brings me food I'm happy to eat whatever it is.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by cutter99 View Post
                                I live in the South where chicken salad is king! I recently made two different kinds for an outdoor bridal shower- a “regular” chicken salad with lemon juice, pecans, dried cranberries and bacon, and a buffalo chicken salad with bleu cheese and some Frank’s Red Hot Sauce In it. You can vary the amount of “hot” by varying the amount of hot sauce you put it. We served it on croissants and a really nice whole grain bread. It was light, especially with the heat, and seemed to go over really well because almost everyone went back for seconds and we had no left overs.
                                And no mayonnaise? I tend to assume everything has to have mayonnaise in it, And then it spoils really fast.


                                • #17
                                  I’d actually start with asking her (if you don’t already know) what kind of food or meals she prefers. This is mainly me projecting my complete nausea when I’m competing! I would love to eat actual meals but I don’t generally feel well enough. So I stick to crackers and string cheese, fruit cups, and protein smoothies.

                                  Trying to be more helpful - I’ll put in another vote for sandwiches, especially if you can include nice bread like ciabatta, flavorful condiments/sauces/toppings, and high-quality meats and cheeses. It’s such a treat to have a “fancy” sandwich when you might otherwise be eating kraft singles on wonder bread, for example! Also love chicken salad, egg salad, and tuna salad. I have been seeing more chickpea salads and sweet potato salads that I want to try as well. ETA that I picture this as sending along all the ingredients to be assembled for meals - can’t imagine that any sandwich is going to be in good shape after a day or two!

                                  For breakfast, maybe fruit granola yogurt parfaits, or healthy-ish flavorful muffins?

                                  Last edited by Redlei44; Jul. 29, 2019, 03:48 PM.


                                  • #18
                                    I’m not fancy. Beef jerky, nuts, peanut butter and jelly, apples and baby carrots to share with my horse, something sweet like peanut M&Ms. I eat a lot of meals cold so any leftovers.


                                    • #19
                                      Bagels with horseradish cream cheese make the best breakfast or snack at shows and events and trail rides. This tip came from old-time and much-mourned SmithsonLM of this board. I'm not sure why it is so magically perfect but it is. With coffee, with a Coke, with a glass of wine. Light on the stomach, satisfying.

                                      Cold chicken with sea salt. She needs salt if it's a hot climate. Chicken goes well with grapes.

                                      A very long sub sandwich she can slice off as desired.

                                      And I second the above: She is lucky to have a friend like you!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                                        And no mayonnaise? I tend to assume everything has to have mayonnaise in it, And then it spoils really fast.
                                        Yes, it has mayonnaise in it.

                                        You see they make these wonderful things called coolers. You put ice in the coolers, and keep food cold and safe. If you are REALLY paranoid about food safety, you can even put thermometers in your coolers. I happen to have coolers that will keep ice for 10 days in the heat of summer. Heck, you can even get electric coolers that will run off your car or truck battery if so inclined. We are no longer in the dark ages!
                                        "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White