Whether you're an elite cyclist or simply out for a scenic, long ride, a snack is a necessity to keep your body moving.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, "when you are in constant motion, a lot of energy is used. Eating foods that are easy to digest and rich in carbohydrates can help you maintain energy levels." The immediate burst of energy consumed can help any rider make it through rides lasting more than a couple hours.
"Our body stores enough carbohydrate for about 90 minutes of vigorous movement," says Registered Dietician Emily Edison, Owner of Momentum Nutrition and Fitness in Seattle, Washington. "The body will need fuel to continue performing at a high level. Approximately 60 to 90 grams of carbohydrate are recommended per hour of exercise. If an athlete chooses not to fuel or under fuel, the body will use more protein—muscle tissue—for energy than necessary."
With that in mind, cyclists need snacks that are portable, energy-packed and low on protein. The dilemma: Finding snacks that meet all of those requirements isn't always easy.
Registered Dietician Linda Samuels, of Training Table Sports Nutrition in Chicago, Illinois, specializes in long triathlon endurance nutrition and has her list of favorite snacks to pack for a long ride:
- Frozen waffle spread with jam, folded over, then wrapped in foil
- A baggie of Pretzel Thins
- A baggie of dried, tart cherries
- Strawberry Twizzlers
- Clif Bars
"I like these, as they are all easy to digest carbohydrate sources that don't melt," Samuels said. "The Pretzel Thins are a good source of sodium and they don't break apart like regular pretzels."