A Day of Cycling Fuel 

 This summer my husband has transitioned to eating a mostly vegan (fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, nuts & seeds) and alcohol-free diet to assess his performance and recovery on the bike. On one particular day I recorded his food intake for before, during and after a long 4-hour mountain bike ride—the Paulina Lakes trail at Newberry Crater south of Bend, OR—which is a 20-mile loop he made into 38 miles by starting from the Ogden Group Camp trailhead.  

AM: Superfood muesli mix (2/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill) with a small handful of  raisins, raw walnuts & almonds, 1 tsp each chia & hemp seeds, and 1 cup (or more) soy milk. Pour into a stainless steel container for on the go.

Ride Fuel (for longer rides): Packed a peeled orange, chopped apple, grapes, banana + almond butter & jam wrapped in flatbread, 2 electrolyte pills (from Whole Foods), and 2 of my Chocolate Oat Almond Butter Bars.  

To make the bars: In a food processor grind 3/4 cup oats, 10 pitted Medjool dates, 1/4 cup almond butter, + 2 TBS cacao powder (unsweetened cocoa powder works also). Press mixture into a baking dish and place in fridge at least an hour before cutting into squares. Store bars in the freezer for about a month.

More ride-fuel options

  • Dates (pitted)
  • Salted potato
  • Rice & almond butter balls (made with rice and almond butter + raisins if desired)  
  • Goo (you can make your own–check out No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier from the library).

Post-ride: Within an hour after the ride, he drank a protein shake from a Hydro Flask container which kept it cold.  

For my Very Berry Protein Shake blend the following ingredients in this order: 1 cup soy milk (plus 1/4 cup more to thin it out), 1 scoop protein powder (we use chocolate Vega), 1 banana (fresh or frozen), big spoonful almond butter, couple tsp hemp seeds (optional), big handful of spinach or kale, & fresh or frozen berries (I used fresh blackberries). For a colder smoothie add 3 ice cubes, frozen fruit or freeze non-dairy milk in ice cube trays.

Lunch: Seasoned Tempeh Spinach Burrito  

I bake a whole package of tempeh in the morning for 20 minutes at 425 seasoned with tamari (a gluten-free, low sodium soy sauce) + onion flakes, garlic powder, oregano and pinch of cayenne. I also roast a head of garlic at the same time. 

Burrito ingredients: Tempeh slices, spinach, vegan cheese, red (or white) quinoa, a few roasted garlic cloves minced, and hot sauce wrapped in a warm tortilla. Avocado can replace the cheese. To bulk it up even more add butternut squash or potato cubes. 

Note: Leftover tempeh can be used in a sandwich (think “TLT”–tempeh, lettuce & tomato), crumbled in chili, mixed into a salad, cooked in a curry, or added to a bowl of steamed kale & a grain with my vegan cashew cheez sauce. 

Check out “The Colorful Vegan” Facebook page for my cashew cheez sauce recipe where nutritional yeast flakes (aka, “nooch”) are combined with cashews and other ingredients to make a nacho cheez flavored sauce. Along with a great cheezy flavor, nooch provides Vitamin B12 to boot. 


Late afternoon snack: Fresh fruit bowl of cherries, berries, banana, and grapes. 

Note: According to the World Health Organization, fruit is a healthy natural source of sugar and is not considered a sugar source to avoid (with exception for those with diabetes). Fruit contains fiber which allows sugars to digest more slowly. Plus, there are a variety of naturally occuring nutrients (vitamins & minerals) found in fruit that simply cannot be found in a pill or in processed foods  (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/).

Dinner: Red lentils, steamed kale and pre-cooked brown rice topped with fresh lemon juice, hot sauce, tomatoes (optional) and served with warm flatbread. I buy split red lentils which cook up in 30-40 minutes. They need to be picked through and rinsed. For a big healthy batch, use 2.5-3 cups and cook in a soup pot with 6-8 cups water. I add 2 tsp chili powder. For aiding digestion, add 1/2 tsp asafetida (found at Savory Spice Shop in the Old Mill). Let the water come to boil then turn down to a simmer and cook covered. There are many ways to garnish the lentils once they are cooked. I keep it simple by roasting a few spices but salt & pepper taste great if no spices are on hand. Pre-heat a small skillet on med-low heat and dry roast 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds + 1.5 tsp of cumin seeds on med-low heat until they start to pop. They need to be stirred constantly to avoid burning. Takes about a minute or two, then stir into the lentils. For additional garnish saute a chopped onion, a few garlic cloves, pinch of peeled fresh ginger, 1/2 fresh jalapeno, and/or 1 tomato with 1.5 tsp dried oregano + 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional).

Dessert: Bowl of raisins, banana and cherries.

The resources below offer more ideas for fueling up on whole plant foods while maintaing an active lifestyle:


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