Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes

Bacon muffins for breakfast? How about corn cakes with crisp chicken? Or braised beef and vegetable stew for dinner?

It doesn't sound like your typical meals for endurance athletes, does it? In fact, when I first sat down to browse through The Feed Zone, I thought it might be a cookbook for NASCAR fans. But it was actually compiled by some of the world's greatest cyclists and it offers a new, and possibly better, understanding of how to fuel the body for performance.

It wasn't until after I "digested" the contents of this book that I came to a much better understanding of, and appreciation for, the art of fueling.

Note: This is not a diet book. You will not find your typical low-fat recipes here, or any particular concern for calories.

What you will find is 150 recipes for preparing simple, fresh, and delicious meals and snacks ... and it's not just for endurance athletes.

Co-author Allen Lim, Director of Sport Science for the Radio Shack professional cycling team in 2010 and 2011, says "we've found that the book has worked well for families who want to get back into the kitchen and who are looking for ways to feed a growing family on a limited budget."

Lim adds that the portion sizes may be a bit generous, so it's important to pay attention to how much you eat. And, believe me; it would be easy to over eat with recipes as tasty as sweet potato cakes—my first test—and bacon potato cakes.

But, I had to ask Dr. Lim about the use of bacon. His explanation: it's all about moderation. He concedes that bacon is "not exactly an optimal food with much nutritional value," but people love it. And part of eating, living, and performing at our best is to being able to enjoy the foods that we love, "albeit in moderation and in the context of meals made with whole, fresh and preferably organic ingredients."

Indeed, the bacon potato cakes are like a small souffl?, comprised of eggs, potato, delicious seasonings, a little cheese and, yes, a bit of bacon: Delicious, filling and easy to make.

In addition, these cakes, and many of the other recipes for that matter, can be refrigerated and later taken on training rides or eaten as a midday snack. They also are made from "regular" ingredients, so there's no need to go to a specialty market or spend a fortune on fancy ingredients.

In the section titled "The Athlete's Kitchen," there is a list of staples that you should always have on hand, as well as some key appliances and tools for the kitchen. The book finally inspired me to purchase a rice cooker; and now I can't believe I waited this long!

The beauty of this book is that it is practical, and based on real-life experience ... not just theory. The first 25 pages of the book "sets the plate" for the rationale and theories on which the remainder of the book—the recipes—is based.

Lim combines his PhD and knowledge from the world of integrative physiology with his love and passion for food and nutrition.

Lim's co-author, Chef Biju Thomas, has a passion for cycling that is matched only by his enthusiasm for cooking and his credentials as a chef. He has worked with many professional cyclists, including Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong, to improve their eating habits for better performance.

Let The Feed Zone help you find your way into the kitchen with enthusiasm, and meet that annual resolution to improve your diet in the New Year.

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