When cycling, you need to tote a lot of water with you and a few snacks. Snacks are plenty these days, with most everything in a portable container or a “snack pack”. So, what do you tote along? Well, while the options are plentiful, there are few that will help you fuel through the trek without a lot of added sugars or calories. Below are your best mid-ride snacking options.
It’s in the title, so it’s only natural that it is on the list. Bananas are snacks ready to roll; they are famous for their potassium and contain carbohydrates that may provide advantages to your muscles’ ability to use the fuel efficiently. More fuel reaching your muscles means more pedal power for you. A recent study compared bananas to commercial sports drinks in a trial of bicycling performance and found them to be equal.
A kiddos favorite is now a great portable snack for a cyclist. PB&J’s are perfect pocket fuel. The bread and jam (or even honey) provide carbohydrates and the peanut butter offers protein and fats. Allergic to peanuts? Try almond butter if you can tolerate tree nuts or sunflower butter if not. Swap a tortilla for bread to prevent having a squashed sandwich. Cut your sandwich into quarters and have one piece at 15- to 20-minute increments.
Dried fruits and nuts are a concentrated source of carbohydrates. Dried apricots, prunes and raisins have the added benefit of potassium. Mix your favorite fruits with nuts and seeds to keep your body supplied with energy, vitamin E and magnesium. If you have a heavy sweat rate, you may want to choose salted nuts and seeds. These often come in portable “snack packs”, which makes it foll-proof when it comes to packing it for the trail.
While energy bars are convenient, they also can be expensive. If you would prefer energy bars, look for one that has ingredients such as whole grains, dried fruits and nuts. Read the label, as many promoted as “energy bars” are simply granola bars packed full of sugar and carbs.
Just Plain Water
If you’re planning to bike for an hour or less, water is the best way to stay hydrated and to prevent drinking the calories you just burned. If you’re going to be rolling for more than an hour, have a heavy sweat rate or the weather is exceptionally hot, consider having two bottles with you — one for water and one for a sports drink. You may purchase a sports drink for the sake of convenience, but making your own with black or green iced tea, a splash of juice, some sugar and a pinch of salt is easy and provides an added antioxidant boost. Take sips of fluid often to maintain hydration and alternate between the two drinks if packing both.