Making good food choices early in the day will help set you up for a successful ride. We often joke when we’re riding about needing not only breakfast, but second-breakfast as well. There’s a reason we eat so much: we’re burning a lot of calories throughout the day, and food gives us the energy we need to help avoid energy crashes.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your meals for the day.
First, try not to eat anything too heavy or rich. If your body has to work too hard to digest it, you’ll be diverting energy away from your ride. As your exert yourself your body diverts blood from your stomach to your muscles slowing digestion.
Look at foods that are both filling and satisfying. You want the meal to give you energy for as long as possible.
Finally, convenience is a factor. A quick, satisfying breakfast can get you going and on your way.
So what do we eat when we are out touring? We prefer hot cereal grains. We usually rotate between oatmeal and other cereal grains, such as Oat Bran or 5 / 7 / 11 grain mixes from Bob’s Red Mill brand. Bob’s cereals come in conveniently sized packages which last about a week between the two of us and are sold in most grocery stores throughout the United States. You can also check the bulk bins for different cereal grains. Cereal grains are not heavy, are very filling, and take just moments to cook (simply add to boiling water and eat when thickened). We would recommend staying away from packaged, instant oatmeal, it is just not as filling as the real stuff.
Pam likes her breakfast sweet, so here are a couple of methods to make your breakfast cereal even tastier. Honey sweetens nicely, and has the added benefit of tasting great added to a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Additionally, adding peanut butter and jelly to cereal gives it a nutty flavor and adds protein. You can also add dried fruit, or trail mix to your bowl. But our all-time favorite addition to hot cereal is chocolate. Place half (or all) of a chocolate bar into the cereal, which melts, and viola’! Instant chocolate cereal! It is such a treat in the morning to get you going.
A downside of cooking your own breakfast is the cleanup, and washing dishes after breakfast can be a pain. If you’re not into that, there are other options. Scope out restaurants in the area that serve breakfast, or pick up some muffins, fruit, and yogurt the night before. Granola bars can stave off hunger if you need to eat first thing in the morning (like we do) until you can reach a breakfast spot. Just plan ahead. There’s nothing worse than trying to ride hungry.
Calories = energy. You need energy to get you going and to keep you going. Plan ahead, figure out what works best for you. We enjoy a hot, satisfying breakfast to get us started on the right foot. How about you?