Some additional ideas are:
1. Fresh fruits: Apples and bananas are great choices.
2. Gel packs: These ingenious little light packs provide both complex carbohydrates and simple sugars to give riders exactly what they need and come in a wide variety of flavors.
3. Peanut butter on graham crackers: Here you get protein, fat, and carbohydrates all in one. For even more of a boost, throw in some chocolate chips.
4. Gummy bears, Fruit Jems, Laffy Taffy or jelly beans: These treats give riders a lightening fast sugar boost and are very portable.
5. Low-fat granola bars: Packed with carbohydrates, they can easily be thrown right into a jersey pocket.
6. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: "Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a tried and true snack that helps you bust out of a fueling rut," Edison said.
More: 5 Whole-Food Alternatives to Sports Products
In addition to knowing what to pack, it's helpful to also know when to start fueling. Samuels, who's also the nutrition coach for Northwestern University's Triathlon Team, suggests starting before the ride even begins. "I recommend that my athletes practice the sports nutrition principle of eating a pre-exercise snack to 'start the ignition' of the body's energy system."
Samuels notes that everyone's fitness and caloric need is different. "Add in the variables for the ride's intensity, how hilly the road is, the temperature/humidity—all these variables factor into when an athlete should consume their snacks," she said.
Although there's no formula as to when to snack, riders should keep a hydration and carbohydrate schedule during the ride so they're able to stop and refresh when it's convenient as opposed to when they have completely depleted their energy reserve.
Samuels takes it beyond the ride as well.
"Recovery snacks for long rides more than three hours would include a total of 300 to 350 calories, part of which would include twenty grams of protein," she said. "This snack should be consumed within 30 to 45 minutes of exercise ending."
Take these experts tips and pack potent, portable snacks with you on your next ride, and you'll be sure to enjoy your ride and do right by your body.
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