Endurance Nutrition – A Cyclist's Shopping List

We all know the importance of eating right. What you eat affects your health, your mood, and your cycling performance. You Are What You Eat—so, your shopping list could be likened to your body's fuel receipt. Are you fuelling right for endurance sport and cycling adventures?

In this post I take at items that often feature on my own shopping list. The product selection is strongly influenced by insights that I have gained from nutritional experts, as well as key ingredients used in recipes from books such as Hannah Grant's 'The Grand Tour Cookbook'.

I have split the list out into different nutritional categories—to make sure all bases are covered, and hopefully give a range of options for different dietary preferences. Some ideas for your weekly shop...



Protein

  • Eggs — egg yolks are a source of choline—important to reduce muscle fatigue
  • Wild salmon — fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids
  • Frozen plaice fillets — white fish is a source of low-fat protein
  • Smoked mackerel — makes a quick-and-easy high-protein risotto—also high in omega 3
  • Sardines and tuna — an ideal store cupboard protein source
  • Poultry (chicken or turkey) — an easy-to-digest super-lean protein source
  • Lean beef mince — high in iron, vitamin B, zinc, and selenium
  • Cottage cheese — a source of protein and calcium
  • Greek-style yoghurt — more protein than standard yoghurt—great for 'Granola Yoghurt Pots'
  • Semi-skimmed milk — a super-food/drink
  • Chickpeas — make 'Healthy Homemade Hummus'
  • Mixed bean salad — high in fibre and protein
  • Mixed nuts — high in vitamin E, copper, and magnesium 
Boiled eggs are a good protein source



Carbohydrates

  • Porridge oats —  the 'King of Carbohydrates'
  • Sweet potatoes —  high in vitamin A & C, as well as iron, potassium and fibre
  • New potatoes — 'skin-on' means more fibre
  • Rice — brown rice is ideal for everyday, white rice for pre-ride/race
  • Lentils and quinoa — slow release energy, high in protein, high in fibre
  • Wholemeal bread — a good source of vitamin B
  • Wholewheat pasta — lower-GI carb source than white pasta
  • White pasta — preferred by many, especially just before an event/ride
  • Couscous — pasta in a different form



Fats

  • Olive oil — the best 'healthy fat'
  • Rapeseed oil — good for high-temperature cooking
  • Nut butters — full of good fats, vitamins, and protein
  • Coconut cream and oil — rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) i.e. 'good fats'
  • Seeds — pumpkin, linseed, sunflower seeds—add them to bread mixes to reduce the GI level



Fruit and Vegetables

  • Spinach — high in iron, magnesium, and calcium
  • Celery — high in vitamin A & C, and high in fibre
  • Cucumber — vitamin B and fibre
  • Carrots — source of vitamin A
  • Cherries — high in anti-oxidants
  • Blueberries — vitamins K & C, and anti-oxidants
  • Tomatoes  — source of vitamin C
  • Mixed peppers — packed full of vitamins
  • Pakchoi — a nutrition powerhouse—potassium, vitamin A, C & K, loads of minerals
  • Oranges — vitamin C for a healthy immune system
  • Apples —  good source of fibre
  • Pears — good source of fibre, vitamins B2, C & E
  • Bananas — instant fruity energy, high in vitamin B6
  • Broccoli — vitamin B6 and vitamin C
  • Beetroot — high in performance boosting nitrates
  • Onions — best lightly cooked—packed full of folate, potassium, and magnesium
  • Mushrooms — high in anti-oxidants
  • Celeriac — vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium
  • Butternut squash — vitamin A, B-6 and C, and magnesium; dietary fibre
  • Dried fruit — dates, raisins, apricot—great for 'Pimp Your Porridge'



Beverages

  • Coffee — 'The Life Blood of Cyclists'
  • Green tea  — high in polyphenols and a strong anti-oxidant
  • Herbal tea  — relaxation benefits
  • Fruit juice — high in sugar, but okay as pre-ride energy


Extras

  • Spices — turmeric is proven to decrease muscle soreness
  • Herbs — for example, basil may reduce inflammation; mint can calm bowel trouble 
  • Ginger — great for adding a bit of zing, and proven to reduce muscle soreness
  • Garlic — a very powerful antibiotic that may also help to reduce blood pressure
  • Chocolate (dark) — rich in minerals and anti-oxidants

Time to go shopping...

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