A view of deep blue sky with white fluffy clouds over a hill with a road winding down on the right side. The ocean is on the left with waves crashing ashore.

What is for Lunch?

We’ve talked about breakfast, but now let’s talk about the second most important meal of the day: Lunch. (P.S. When you’re touring, all meals are important.) While breakfast and dinner are usually eaten in camp, bicycle tourists typically eat lunch “on-the-go”. A good lunch can take you right past that afternoon slump and help you finish your day’s ride strong.

Obviously, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can eat for lunch. For us, we prefer simple and easy lunches. I do, however, get tired of eating the same thing every day, so I like to switch it up as well (Matt would eat the same thing all tour if I let him). Here’s a list of our favorite bicycle touring lunches:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The old standby. Every kid’s favorite meal is definitely appropriate for a bicycle tourist. The protein/fat from the peanut butter and the sugar from the jelly restores energy reserves from the morning and helps energize you for the afternoon’s ride. Peanut butter jars are heavy, so we like to buy the small plastic ones (they also take up less space). We end up buying peanut butter more often, but that’s ok with us. Jelly, surprisingly enough, keeps for a long time without refrigeration. We like to buy the smallest jars we can find, which last us a couple days. If it smells off at all, we toss it, but they are definitely good for at least 3 days. To add variety, we try different kinds of jelly, or grab some honey and add fruit. If adding fruit bananas are especially great, but blackberries are also awesome. We’ve tried every type of bread that grocery stores carry, as well. Our favorite is Ezekial bread, with the sprouted wheat berries. We also like the sandwich thins, which don’t get smooshed as much as regular loaves.

Salami and cheese sandwiches. Getting enough protein while touring is key to keeping energy levels up. Salami is a great option, since it usually comes in small sizes and keeps well without refrigeration. Cheese also lasts longer that I would have thought. We just buy small blocks. Cheese is also great to add to your pasta dinner at night. So, bonus! Multiple uses [Symbol]

Deli Food. Most grocery stores in the US have a deli section with pre-cooked chicken or other meats, potato/macaroni salads, and other great picnic food. Normally they will pack as much or as little as you want and you pay by weight. This stuff easily will last for 2-3 hours so you can grab it mid-morning then sit down and have a proper picnic later for lunch with no preparation required.

Eating out. Sometimes, we’ll be riding through a town right around lunchtime. When this happens, we like to find a good local restaurant and enjoy a sit down meal. It’s nice to be able to support the local economy. Plus, we usually take the opportunity to freshen up a bit, use the restroom, and even charge up our phones if we need it.

Lunch is sometimes my favorite part of the day. It can be a chance to spread out our “picnic blanket” (really our emergency blanket/tarp) and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It’s times like those that make me feel really grateful to be alive and on a bicycle tour. What are your favorite lunches? Let us know in the comments below.

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Pam Emerson

is an avid bicycle tourist who enjoys sharing her love for bicycling with all she meets.

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