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Old 09-01-05, 03:25 PM   #1
cycl-ian-g
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What to eat, what to eat, what to eat?

Hey Everyone,

While looking through this forum, I've noticed so many people emphasize the importance of a good diet during a long ride. When you're on tour, what do you eat?

Cheers,

ian.
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Old 09-01-05, 03:47 PM   #2
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Hi,
I try to eat a medium sized breakfast, a lite lunch, and
a massive but not overly rich dinner. I like fruit, which can be
tough unless I hit supermarkets. The question is a bit vague.
Some guys will hit a restaurant, some will open a tin of Dinty Moore, and others will gag down a MRE.
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Old 09-01-05, 03:50 PM   #3
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Ok. To make it more specific, I guess list what constitues a light lunch and so forth. I've heard you should eat foods that are high in protein. Like, a lot of protein. Juice vs. Water? Coffee vs. Tea?
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Old 09-01-05, 05:55 PM   #4
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The protein craze in the US is very very very weird! Protein is necessary to repair all the intramuscular micro-injuries produced when exercizing and to build muscles and other organs... but most North Americans already eat enormous portions of proteins every day.

Personnaly, I eat what is locally available and what I feel like. On the road, the quality of the food varies a lot between regions and sometimes there are no other options other than french fries and burgers...
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Old 09-01-05, 06:04 PM   #5
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Check out the journals on this site. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/ You will soon find that the list of things touring cyclists eat on tour is long and varied, but food seems to become very important.
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Old 09-01-05, 07:20 PM   #6
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Hi,
you don't need to worry about protein. The priority is getting enough calories and electrolytes without upsetting your stomach.
I love your basic restaurant breakfast. 2 eggs scrambled, home fires and toast and coffee. When I vacation, that's what I eat. It's too rich, but I like it. A big bowl of oatmeal would be better.

I eat a nice lunch. Usually spend a half an hour or more after words sipping ice tea and waiting for it to settle. Again, that's me.
I'd prob be better off with something really light.

It's really personal preference. You need to avoid electrolyte delpetion, overeating, and dehydration. But that is pretty easy to do. After that, it's what works for you.
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Old 09-05-05, 01:34 AM   #7
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Not only am I a (very) big guy, I also carry all my camping gear on cross-continent tours. I burn about 5,000 to 7,000 calories a day, and still lose 1/2 lb for every day cycling.

Because I don't want to deal with a hot stove while packing in the morning, I just have a high calorie, cold meal -- usually while I'm packing. Cinnamon buns (if available) or the like and often a smokie (pre-cooked) -- this is equivalent to pancakes and sausage and syrup at a restaurant. If no baking was available at my last grocery stop, I will usually have a couple pieces of flat bread or pita with pb&j. BTW, regular bread quickly dries out, or moulds, or gets squeezed into unpalatable doughy lumps. Pita seems to last forever, and even if it dries out is still quite usable.

If I'm near a town at lunch, I'll usually stop for a sub, or whatever's available. If I'm in the boonies (frequently the case), I'll go the pb&j route again. I'm not worried about routine, or gourmet (obviously!), just on getting the calories to carry on. I try to avoid a big meal at lunch - a few times I've stopped at a wonderful smorg, and afterwards had no energy because my heart had to work so hard in the digestion process.

I always look foreward to supper (dinner to a lot of people) - my favorite is a ramen soup (light, can be broken up to fit your pannier, salty - that's good). I try to have a supply of spicy chinese style soups that I really like - I even send some to myself via the postal service along the way. By adding some kinda meat (pepparoni, sausages will last a long time in the heat), and some veggies (my favs. are carrots, celary and broccoli), then some cookies for dessert. It's a full and very satisfying meal, and takes only a few minutes to make.

By the way, don't forget the snacks at least every half hour. The body runs out of energy in about 2 1/2 hours - bonking is no fun.

Last edited by BigGuy; 09-05-05 at 01:42 AM. Reason: added an idea
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Old 09-05-05, 07:22 AM   #8
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The last short ride I went on was to the state fair (>200 mi). I always carry Ramen noodles, Lipton chicken/noodle packets, oatmeal, rice packets. Just add water. Sometimes I stop for pizza and beer.

Try camping in your backyard (or someplace close to home) and experimenting there. I always test new ideas/recipes before I go out into the wilderness.
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Old 09-05-05, 10:22 AM   #9
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I am still refining what and how to eat on multi-day tours. The following regime worked well on a recent week-long expedition:

Breakfast: Focus on carbohydrates. My favourite breakfast is pancakes.

Between meal hydration: (every 20 - 40 minutes, more often if I am working hard) Gatorade. I buy a 560 gram box of powder and mix up two water bottles as needed.

I have minor ideological objections to sports drinks, and never used to drink them before my trip this summer. But I decided to give them a whirl, and was surprised to find them so effective. I guess the sugar provides almost instant energy to the muscles; the small amount of fat takes the edge off hunger; and the electrolytes prevent cramping. On previous expeditions I pretty much stuck to water, fruit juices, and milk during the day, and somehow managed to have wonderful trips! But I will continue to include sports drinks on future tours. I think they make a difference.

Between meal snacks: (every 30 - 60 minutes while riding, or whenever my energy starts to sag): Nuts and dried fruit; fresh fruit; maybe a bit of chocolate or a granola bar.

Lunch: Depends how I feel. I have met tourists who eat light lunches, but I gravitate to things like grilled cheese sandwiches with homefries; or if I am packing lunch, cheese or peanut butter sandwiches. I usually take a midday break to get out of the sun for a few hours, so there is time to digest a heavy meal. I also find midday breaks are perfect for reading and sightseeing.

Supper: Whatever I want! For my evening meal I emphasize fresh vegetables and protein (e.g., combinations of grains, legumes, cheese, eggs). I usually have a glass of wine, and dessert, preferably chocolate, is de rigeur. (Chocolate comes from beans, and beans are healthy...)
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Old 09-05-05, 11:51 AM   #10
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Ice cream and coca-cola. Seriously. Every time I stop. It keeps me going. I could ride all day long as long as I get me some ice cream and cola.

In the morning, I usually get a coffee and bagal and some juice (100% orange, fresh, not from concentrate only). Lunch, I get whatever is on the menu that isn't heavy on the stomach, and preferably has a lot of carbs, like pasta. Then dinner, I usually have more carb foods.

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Old 09-05-05, 12:43 PM   #11
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I've found that my appetite fluctuates wildly depending upon my distance, any climbing or headwind, and the temperature. I adjust my eating habits during a tour accordingly.

I try to start with some type of breakfast snack.

-instant oatmeal, espresso, emergen-c instant drink (when camping).
-rolls, coldcuts+cheese, jam, fruit, coffee, juice (when hosteling, or in a pension)

Then snack throughout the day (anything-candybars, bananas, oranges, nuts, chocolate spread on rolls etc) untill dinner, and I allways try to have a desert. For a larger mid-day meal, some days I'd stop at cafes for sit down meals, some days I'd buy sandwich fixins for picnics.

Dinner varies wildly, again depending upon my craving. Sometimes heavy on protein, sometimes heavy on the carbs, but usually a standard mix.

My favorite carb dinner, after a long day, was an order of potatoe Gnochi (?sp) in a cheese sauce. Followed by a pizza and ice cream, along with two nice cold beers.

My favorite protein meal was steak w/mushrooms and some veggies on the side. The best version of this had added chicken livers-I'm pretty sure it was chicken liver anyways...

--Oh and for extra carbs, I stop for good beer. I found the wheat beer, mixed half with lemonade in Bavaria, extremely satisfying on hot days. It's called Raddler, or "biker" if memory serves. Mmmm...

I bring a mini cookset/stove on tour, but usually only used it for breakfast-when camping. Because my two long tours were in Europe-I budgeted for eating out a lot. I agree with some folks that a stove is not required for most touring-grocery grazing is fast & pretty easy.

On my "big" European tour next year, I'll take my stove/cook kit for cost savings and variety, over just the cold foods though. An occasional budget hot meal, like pasta or rice, with whatever protein/veggies are available should work for me. Hopefully this will help keep costs down in some of the pricier countries, and still allow for a nice meal out on occasion.
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Old 09-05-05, 04:19 PM   #12
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What we liked to do is eat out for breakfast, so as to really eat alot. They have all these logger breakfasts on the pacific coast. Then we eat like a cup 0 noodles and bagels and cheese for lunch. And then a big dinner that we also fix. Some of favorites are pasta or a lot of pita bread that you fill with a ton of vegies, cheeses, ect.

MBD
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Old 09-05-05, 08:10 PM   #13
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Isn't there a point when we begin to over-analyse things? The one good thing about cycletouring is eating what you want when you want it. A reasonably balanced diet is, of course, important (as it it all the time) and keeping fluids up is a must. Magictofu has it right, eat what is available locally and what is fresh. Half the fun of touring is sampling the local fare.
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Old 09-06-05, 01:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
Ice cream and coca-cola. Seriously. Every time I stop. It keeps me going. I could ride all day long as long as I get me some ice cream and cola.
Do you flush your mouth with water after coca-cola? My teeth would dissolve if I'd bathe them in acid at every break and then leave them simmering. I guess some people are blessed with stronger teeth than I am.

I very much agree with the concept, though. I could happily live on coca-cola & ice cream, with possibly some cookies added. There should be fiber in a balanced diet, right? I'd just probably need dentures, too, after that tour diet.
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