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 a look at items that often feature on my own shopping list. The selection is strongly influenced by insights that I have gained from nutritional experts, as well as 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.



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 containing 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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