Breakfast/Before you ride
Starting your day with food rich in energy and nutrition is important to making your ride successful. You haven’t eaten since the evening before, your body’s been burning calories while you were sleeping, and your energy levels are really low.
That being said, your breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated. A pre-cycle breakfast should consist of a good amount of carbohydrates, some protein, and some fruit.
Porridge is always a good choice, especially combined with a smoothie. Scrambled eggs on toast are great too, as are some overnight oats. Remember to keep your breakfast balanced.
During your ride
You won’t always need to have a snack during a ride, but it’s good to know when you will need one. Typically, if you’re out for longer than an hour, a snack is a good idea.
Similar to breakfast, you need to replace the energy that you’ve lost. All you need to worry about for your on-ride snack is carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluids. Specially made sports bars and gels are perfect, as they’re made for this exact reason.
Alternatively, bananas, dried fruit, cereal/energy bars and an energy drink work just fine.
Remember to regularly drink water whilst you’re riding too. Even in cooler weather, you need to replace fluids that you’re losing.
Once you’ve finished your ride, it’s important to refuel. You’ll have used a lot of energy and fluids that need to be replaced. If you don’t have a good post-ride meal, your muscles might lack the protein they need to repair efficiently. This can contribute to that sore muscle feeling the day after, and even lead to injuries!
As with your other cycling meals, you need to get some protein and carbohydrates. Chicken is great for this, as are potatoes. You can pair this with something like rice and a good assortment of vegetables. For dessert, make sure you have some fruit in some form.
There are loads of post-ride meals that give you what you need. British Cycling has a great resource page that’s filled with recipes. Experiment and find what works for you!