There’s no such thing as a quick trip to the barn. When I boarded my horses, my quickest trip was 2.5 hours from the time I left my house until I returned. Most trips took four hours or more, especially if I rode both horses. Whether my trip was short or an all-day affair, going to the barn is always a physically strenuous proposition, so I kept snacks in my car to fuel my body while I worked my horses. Now that I keep my horses at home, once I venture from the house to the barn, I rarely go back inside until my horse chores and riding are done for the day, so I keep snacks stashed in my horse trailer.
One thing you should know about me is that I do not cook. I can cook (and I am good at it!) but cooking brings me no joy. Cooking stresses me out, so I am a grab-and-go eater and a grazer. Another thing you should know is that nutrition – human and equine – is a passion of mine. Yes, those two things seem like conflicting ideas, but my grab-and-go lifestyle makes counting my macros very easy and grazing keeps my blood sugar stable.
My requirements for snacks are that they have to have a significant amount of protein since I eat a plant-based diet. My body also needs carbs, especially if I feel my blood sugar dropping, so if the snack is low-carb, I pair it with an apple. I like good food. I like unique tastes and textures. I also have a big appetite, probably because I am outside all day. While most health and fitness blogs suggest eating a handful of almonds or some celery if you feel hungry, that has never worked for me. I need something more substantial than that. Something satisfying, and something not too boring. These are my top grab-and-go not-boring vegan picks for the barn.
Vega Protein Crisps
Vega Protein Crisps (buy it here) may be the best snack ever. With 15 grams of protein and 200 calories per bag, these are one of my very favorite snacks for the barn or a road trip. They come in two flavors – Garlic & Herb and Sweet Chili. I love anything garlic, so those are my go-to, but the Sweet Chili flavor is the perfect blend of sweet with a little heat.
It’s Jerky Y’all
I’ll admit, I was skeptical about trying vegan jerky, but It's Jerky Y'all (buy it here) is surprisingly good! Each serving has 7 grams of protein and 150 calories. It’s Jerky Y’all is available in two flavors – Chipotle and Teriyaki. I love both flavors, so it is hard to pick a favorite. This is a great way to satisfy your jerky craving without the cow.
Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie
I discovered Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie (buy it here) in a gas station in tiny Glendive, Montana, of all places. I needed a quick snack for my kid and I loved that this was more than a cookie. This cookie is so big and so filling that I can only eat half at one time. Half a cookie has 8 grams of protein and 200 calories. Although The Complete Cookie is available in several different flavors, the clear winner in my world is chocolate chip.
Vega Protein Nutrition Shake
Vega for the win again! I use their protein powder (buy it here) every morning and post-workout, but for the barn, I love grabbing a Protein Nutrition Shake (buy it here). This is a quick way to get 20 grams of protein and only 170 calories if time is short. However, a protein shake alone upsets my stomach. This happens with any brand of protein, not just Vega. So, I pair it with something else, like the next option.
Almond Butter on a Bagel
This is not quite grab-and-go, but it is close. Almond butter on a bagel is my go-to when I am hungry and I do not know what I want to eat, or if I am short on time but crave something substantial. Most bagels are vegan. If I cannot find fresh-baked, I go with Dave’s Killer Bread. I grind my almond butter fresh at my local grocery store, but, if that is unavailable, I like Once Again Almond Butter (buy it here).
Food is Fuel
Many equestrians forget that we are athletes, and just like our horses, we need good food to fuel our bodies. Whether you are a full-time vegan or just adding more plant-based options to your diet, these five snacks will keep you energized and satisfied during your trips to the barn.
What are your favorite snacks for the barn? Let me know in the comments below!
Welcome! I've been a freelance writer since 2002 and have numerous horse-related articles published in print and online publications. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Rocky Mountain College with a major in Equestrian Studies and a minor in Business Management. My current business ventures include High Plains Arena and real estate investing.