Quick Easy Meal Ideas For Cyclists

Cycling Nutrition

Quick Easy Meal Ideas For Cyclists

Looking for quick easy meal ideas for cycling? These ideas should either help you fuel for your ride or aid your recovery after.

Looking for quick easy meal ideas for cycling? These ideas should either help you fuel for your ride or aid your recovery after.


If you are preparing for a ride, or have just finished on your bike, chances are you won’t feel like spending a long time preparing food. The list below provides ideas for meals or snacks which won’t take you long to make but will give you all the nutritional value your body needs before and after a ride.

Carbohydrates are the main energy source the body uses for cycling, although you shouldn’t neglect protein too. When deciding what carbs to consume, consider the Glycaemic Index (GI). This is an indication of how quickly the body breaks down the carbohydrates into glucose for energy. For cyclists, this is important to take into account, as glycogen is mainly what fuels your body during your ride.

1

Oats

Pre-ride, you ideally want to be consuming foods with a low GI, to give you slow release energy throughout your ride. Oats have a low glycaemic index, providing you with the perfect energy source for your long bike ride. You could also add some agave nectar to your oats for a naturally sweeter flavour, without compromising your blood sugar levels. Or instead add a spoonful of peanut butter for extra flavour and reap the benefits of protein and good fats, which your body needs.

2

Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast

Ideally you should try and eat around 90 minutes before your ride, so that your body can digest the food, rather than leaving you feeling full before your ride. Scrambled eggs are a good pre-ride meal choice as eggs are high in protein. They also contain lutein, which will help eye health. Scrambled eggs can be eaten alone or with a wholemeal piece of toast to provide your body with essential slow release carbs for your ride.

3

Yoghurt with a handful of nuts and seeds

Eating low fat yoghurt before a ride will provide you with a good amount of protein alongside calcium and vitamin D. Quickly adding a handful of nuts and seeds to the yogurt will also increase your protein intake. Walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds are all full of essential vitamins and minerals. A mixture of these nuts and seeds will benefit you on your ride. Their benefits can help speed up recovery time and the antioxidants they contain can help reduce injuries.  

4

Wholegrain cereal with nonfat milk

You might generally consider this a pre-ride meal however studies have also proven that eating cereal after your ride will help you to refuel significantly. A study by the University of Texas has suggested that consuming a bowl of wholegrain cereal alongside non-fat milk after cycling could be more useful than a specialised sports drink. The protein present in the cereal aids muscle recovery and the carbs replace lost glycogen stores. This meal option also provides a cheaper alternative than expensive sports drinks.

5

Tuna with pasta

The optimal time to refuel your body is between 20 and 30 minutes after your ride has finished. This period is often referred to as ‘the window of opportunity.’ It is during this time that your metabolism is still high as a result of exercise and therefore your muscles will be refuelled more effectively. This meal is quick to make and essential carbohydrate stores will be replenished from the pasta. Tuna is a great source of protein; the selenium it contains is a good antioxidant and the fish’s Omega 3 content helps with brain health.

6

Baked Potato

The high glycaemic index of a baked potato will give you a quick burst of energy. This food is easily digested in your body and is an ideal snack to be consumed during your ride to give you a fast energy hit. Also consumed after you have finished your ride, a baked potato will restore your body’s glycogen levels. This simple meal option is best consumed on its own; as adding toppings will raise the fat levels of the meal and carbohydrates should remain the main food group.

7

Chicken and white rice

Chicken is a great source of lean protein and most people’s go to source of protein. The meat contains the vital amino acids needed by the body. Consumed alongside a portion of white rice, this meal will provide you with the perfect post ride meal. White rice is a simple carb and will deliver glycogen to your body more rapidly than complex carbs. Therefore your body will be refuelled quickly after your ride.

8

Fish and green vegetables

Fish is an often-overlooked source of protein; however it should be a staple of your diet. Also fish contains a small amount of saturated fat needed by the body and is high in Omega 3. Incorporate green, leafy veg such as broccoli, kale and spinach into your post-ride meal to provide your body with essential fibre and a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals. The vegetables are low in calories while providing you with countless health benefits, helping your overall athletic performance.