• Rachel Clarkson RD


photo by Nicholas K. Hess

It’s almost that time of year again when the Nevada Desert welcomes its family of Burners home to the Playa. If you are one of those lucky beings, this magical week can be further enhanced if you prioritize your wellness -- as I’m sure you have your outfits by now.

Planning is key! Unless you’re staying with a camp who provides nutritious meals, you’ll need to think about what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner – bearing in mind you probably won’t be in your trailer/tent for most of these meals – you’ll be out exploring and taking it all in.

Bulk pre-cook!

photo by Ella Olsson

Decide on 3-4 meals that you’d be happy to eat throughout the week and cook them before you leave. Pop them into some sturdy storage boxes to ensure they don’t leak! Some foods are only suitable if you have a fridge / freezer, so you need to consider this in advance as it will determine the types of foods you can bring.

If you only have a cooler, or are lacking in this department altogether, you probably won’t want to bring a lot of fresh food – but worry not! Canned food is a great option if you don’t!

Nourish with fruit and veggies

Photo by Oleg Magni

Just because you’re on the Playa doesn’t mean you should skip the nutritious benefits of fruit and veggies! Peppers, cucumbers, carrots, beetroot., and apples, bananas, and oranges don’t require any cooking and will usually keep well.

Tinned veggies are also a great way to make sure you meet your daily needs – think tinned artichoke hearts, sweet corn, peas -- they are quick and easy and don’t require storage in the fridge.

Stay strong with protein

photo by rawpixel.com

Protein is the building block of everything in the body and if you don’t want to experience muscle wasting during the week, it’s a good idea to consider great protein sources at each meal.

Beans, lentils, meat, cheese, fish and eggs, nuts and seeds are all great sources. You can cook with these in meals and also use them for snacks.

Many people like to take protein powder to add to a shake or smoothie to kick start their day.

Energise with carbohydrates

photo by icon0.com

I’m sure energy levels won’t be a problem for the first couple of days with the initial adrenaline buzz of being on the Playa, but you’ll want to maintain this throughout the week! Eating regular carbohydrates in the form of pasta, grains, beans, and so on will fuel your bike ride and sunrise dancing, so ensure you pack those tasty carb snacks.

Stay alive hydrating

This might be an obvious one but desert conditions are extreme, so your fluid requirements are increased! Make sure you pack enough water for drinking as well as showering and cooking. Keeping a water bottle with you at all times will prevent dehydration and choosing hydrating snacks such as fruit can also help keep you hydrated.

Fuel to keep in your backpack

  • Dates: These delicious treats are packed full of glucose which your body can use for instant energy.

  • Dried apricots: Great energising snacks that are packed with iron to help your red blood cells carry oxygen around the body.

  • A jar of pickled veggies: Apart from being hydrating, these will help keep your electrolytes balanced due to their sugar and salt contents.

  • Nuts and seeds: These are one of the best snacks you can have with you to give you all three macronutrients: protein, carbs and fats. Why not add some dried fruit and chocolate for a tasty trail mix?

  • Beef/soya/turkey jerky: These are tasty high-protein snacks that will keep you feeling full. Choose a flavoured pack if you want added energy from increased carb content.

  • Protein bar/ready-made protein shake: This kind of does what it says on the tin... if you choose more of a meal replacement shake or bar, you know it will be energy dense!

  • Fluid: ALWAYS


  • Take a multi-vitamin whilst on the Playa to ensure you’re making up for any missing nutrients in your diet.

  • I also recommend taking electrolytes to aid with any dehydration issues.

Other things:

  • stay alert for sandstorms!

  • A fan for when it gets hot

  • Water spray to cool you down

  • Something warm for when then the temperature drops

All that should keep you dancing, riding and enjoying in full swing for the week, Burners! See you on the Playa!

Rachel is the founder of The DNA Dietitian. She often helps clients at her Harley Street Clinic or via online video call to enhance mental performance through food and lifestyle. Get to know her more in her ICBRKR Extraordinaires interview, and quote ICBRKR for 15% off your first consultation!


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