We all need food to fuel us. A cyclist needs to pay particular attention to make sure they’re fuelled to perform at their peak.
But the struggle to consistently eat healthily and ride strong is hard. That’s why I’ve prepared a list of nutritious, convenient meals that are super easy to access and make.
In fact, you’ll most likely have some of the ingredients in your garden already.
Oatmeal is one of the simplest foods to prepare – all you need is some water, a pinch of salt and a few minutes of your time. Perfect for someone as lazy as me!
You can spice up the flavor by adding healthy topping combos like cinnamon, dates and coconut flakes; peanut butter and ripe banana slices; or just simple brown sugar and milk.
Oats are a low GI food, which means they’ll fill you up for longer by releasing energy slowly into the bloodstream. So they tick all the boxes by being satisfying, delicious, convenient and nutritious.
For some more ideas check out some of the ideas on active.com.
If you want to grow big and strong you need to eat your veggies, at least that’s what my Mum always told me. Ten years on and I’ve found out she wasn’t making it up!
You need at least five portions of fruit and veg per day. That’s because veggies are filled with all the essential nutrients that your body needs.
When it comes to options, the greener the better, although it’s also advisable to eat the rainbow to your heart’s content, as each vegetable color variant contains different vitamins and minerals that all benefit you as a cyclist.
Vegetables are also much lower in calories and higher in fibre than the usual foods we consume. Less calories is great for those watching their weight, but cycling burns lots of calories, so make sure you’re eating enough to power those pedals!
Experts over at Bicycling have some great tips on the best veggies to keep you nourished while on your ride.
Fish is an excellent source of protein, and it also contains healthy fats like Omegas 3 and 6. You can prepare fish steamed or cooked, although it’s advisable to stay away from fried fish as they contain Trans fats, which might slow you down over time
Here’s a great fish taco recipe by USA Cycling Marathon Team member Sonya Looney from Outside Online
Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts and seeds are a fun snack to enjoy while you’re out on the road and they make the best substitute for unhealthy junk food. They’re jam-packed with good fats and consuming them regularly can help lower your body’s production of bad cholesterol.
Nuts and seeds also help to fight inflammation in the body, which is one of the leading causes of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, infections, and allergies.
You can enjoy nuts and seeds as they are or you can blend them up with water, herbs, and spices to create a variety of nut butter and dips.
If you have a few chickens running around your garden eggs are a light but satisfying source of protein to add to your diet. You can enjoy them boiled, fried or lightly cooked, and then season them lightly to add some flavor.
Getting enough protein into your blood stream is important if you want to continue cycling effectively, as it builds muscle, promotes post-workout recovery and plays a significant role in immune function.
You can of course use supplements to get enough protein but proper food is always preferred.
Depending on where you live it’s entirely possible to find these falling into your back garden! According to Global Cycling Network, coconut water is one of the healthiest and most convenient ways of getting nutritious hydration for your workouts. You can just enjoy it as it is or you can make it fruity with cucumber, strawberries, kiwis and apples.
Staying hydrated has the potential to improve your performance exponentially and the more you ride and sweat, the more hydrated you need to be. So, make sure to add some coconut water to your arsenal of body strengthening and hydrating tools for more efficient training.
When To Eat It All
Cycling Weekly advises consuming a carb-rich meal at least 20 minutes after an intense race, as the body tends to absorb the nutrients more efficiently during that period.
So carb up post-work out while including some protein and good fats to strengthen your body and to keep a clear head throughout the race.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to maintain a balanced and healthy diet that’ll help you ride at your peak as often as possible.
Mike McLeish is the owner of the bicycle blog Pinch-Flat. He’s currently taking full advantage of the of the warm weather in SE Asia. You can find him cycling through traffic in Kuala Lumpur, attempting to drink coffee from a plastic bag, or eating Nasi Lemak at a local corner shop. Follow him on Twitter at @Pinch_Flat.