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Old 08-01-08, 10:59 PM   #1
nancy sv
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High Calorie, nutricious snack ideas??

I was noticing the other day that my son has lost a little bit of weight since we started this tour almost two months ago. He hasn't lost a lot, but a bit - and he doesn't have anything to lose. He eats like a horse, and I feel like I spend my days shoveling enormous spoonfuls of peanut butter into his mouth. He eats a lot each meal (lunch the other day consisted of three PB & J sandwiches, a blueberry bagel, 1/2 bag of chips, and an apple), but is still hungry between meals. I started keeping a bag of baby carrots in his handlebar bag so he can munch on those while he is riding between meals.

However, now that I notice he is losing weight, I'd like to keep something available that has some calories. He likes nuts and trail mix, so I'll use those, but I'm looking for other suggestions. This particular child is very sugar-sensitive, so I refuse to go the cookie/chocolate route (although he would love it!).

So - besides nuts and trail mix, what kinds of snacks would be easy to eat while riding? It has to be something he doesn't have to unwrap or do anything to - something he can just grab and pop in his mouth.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-01-08, 11:13 PM   #2
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Given your need for easy to eat while riding I would consider:
Mangos (I listened to a podcast with the guy who started GoLite, he basically fuels himself with mangos on long distance hikes)
Fig bars (I love fig bars on my rides plus they are easy to find)
Mixed Nuts (I know you already are eating trail mix, but make sure it is loaded with nuts. Tree nuts (almonds, chews, walnuts), not peanuts, which are ground nuts. Nuts are very high in all the good stuff you need.)

These are not good for eating while riding but if you can find and incorporate into meals at stops they would be good:
Avocados (kids may not like because they are green),
Olive oil (I read thu hikers love this stuff because of all the calories),
Ensure (drink one of these has 250 calories)

I would consider this, I burn about 800-900 calories per hour while riding at about 70% MAX, yet the body can only put to use about 350 calories per hour. Anything more than that will be disposed of if you know what I mean.

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Old 08-01-08, 11:41 PM   #3
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I hadn't thought of fig bars! That's a great one - they are usually available in every little town, and he likes them.

I'm fairly happy with what I've been doing - he has only lost a little weight in nearly two months of pedaling his own bike. We've pedaled nearly 2000 miles - that's a lot for a little, tiny 10-year-old!! I feel like if I could just add a little something while he's actually on his bike, we would be good. Nuts and fig bars - sounds like a plan!
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Old 08-01-08, 11:47 PM   #4
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Glad to help! Good luck with the fig bars. I hope others have some good ideas for when you guys get tired of fig bars.

Try tamarind when you get south of the boarder. It is a popular candy in Latin American countries. Try to find it without all the sugar they sometimes put on it.
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Old 08-01-08, 11:52 PM   #5
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Trail mix is probably the best bet for an easy-to-use snack with some calories. Also, consider turkey or chicken pepperoni sticks. They are lower in fat and saturated fat than other pepperoni sticks and they provide protein.
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Old 08-01-08, 11:54 PM   #6
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Hmmm... hadn't thought of those sticks either! Gosh, I think I'm glad I posted this question!
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Old 08-02-08, 02:53 AM   #7
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For a child that age (still growing), with very high daily activity level, I think it's absolutely essential that you maintain the 30% fat, 30% protein, 40% carbs diet. Don't be tempted to fill him up with 'low-fat' snacks.
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Old 08-02-08, 03:25 AM   #8
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What are you doing for breakfasts at the start of the day? Traditional cooked oats loaded with cream or yoghurt are probably the best value in terms of calories and dollars. He is obviously in slight energy deficit at the end of the day, and that might start with an inadequate breakfast.

Fats also play a pretty important role in delayed energy release later on in the day.

I know Machka finds the diet supplement Ensure a pretty good booster on long distance rides, and is available in places like WalMart in both liquid and powder form.

In the end, it comes down to mainitaining a balanced diet and a balanced energy intake compared with exertion during the day. Mayeb you should consider reducing the distances you do each day if the weight loss becomes more of a concern.

As a by-the-by, does he have any cravings during the day? And how are you and the rest of the family doing in terms of weight loss/gain/stabilisation?
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Old 08-02-08, 03:40 AM   #9
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I second the porridge oats in the morning idea. You can bulk that up with lots of raisins and maybe a dollop or two of honey.
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Old 08-02-08, 08:11 AM   #10
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Rest Days! He's a growing boy. Give him a chance to sit around doing nothing with plenty of nutritious food around and let him have at it. I would be concerned if he is losing weight and didn't have anything to lose at the start of the trip. At that age and given the duration of your journey, he should definitely gain weight and grow a couple of inches. Kids need rest -- more than adults.
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Old 08-02-08, 08:26 AM   #11
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We definitely plan on slowing down - waayyyyy down - once we get far enough south that winter isn't a problem. Right now we have to keep up a fairly decent pace (we're averaging 40 miles/day right now) in order to get down near Mexico by the time winter sets in. Once we get there, we'll slow that average down to 20 (or less) miles per day. So the problem really is only just right now - in a couple of months we'll solve it another way.

We do eat porridge on a fairly regular basis and he loves it - but there's not enough fat in them to keep him going. It seems like the high fat foods do a lot better for him - like peanut butter and nuts.

My husband and I have both lost weight - but that's a good thing. My other son (the one on the tandem) is holding steady. It's just the one riding the single that has lost - and he hasn't lost much so it isn't a huge concern. We are now in Fort Nelson in northern BC and plan on spending at least two full days here (plus 1/2 day yesterday) so we'll all totally fill up here. I think if I start putting nuts/fig bars/pepperoni sticks in his handlebar bag for him to munch on he'll be fine.
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Old 08-02-08, 09:31 AM   #12
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Be wary of those pepperoni sticks. Highly processed foods like those are full of not so good stuff, nitrates, trans fats, ets. Stick whole foods like, yogart, cottage cheese, honey, bananas. I do have to admit getting a mean energy boost from King Size Snickers while on some 150+ mile rides. Also ramen supplemented with turkey or chicken and some veg can really be nice at the end of the day. Way more sodium than we need on a normal day but on a ride it can really help replentish electrolytes.
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Old 08-02-08, 11:41 AM   #13
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Be wary of those pepperoni sticks. Highly processed foods like those are full of not so good stuff, nitrates, trans fats, ets. Stick whole foods like, yogart, cottage cheese, honey, bananas. I do have to admit getting a mean energy boost from King Size Snickers while on some 150+ mile rides. Also ramen supplemented with turkey or chicken and some veg can really be nice at the end of the day. Way more sodium than we need on a normal day but on a ride it can really help replentish electrolytes.
Yeah - I do try to stick with whole foods, but a few pepperoni sticks here and there won't hurt him. It really is hard to find foods that you can eat easily while riding. He would LOVE a Snickers a day - but I refuse to go that way!!
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Old 08-02-08, 12:23 PM   #14
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clif builder bars are pretty good i've found. they have about 20 grams of protein, about 300 calories i think, and maybe 20 grams of sugar, or less. i dunno. they're vegan, and mostly organic and it marketed as "all natural", so it might be worth looking in to.
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Old 08-02-08, 12:36 PM   #15
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they're vegan, and mostly organic and it marketed as "all natural"
I'm not saying anything bad about Clif bars, but all of the above is just spurious marketing nonsense. Plutonium is vegan, organic and all natural, but that doesn't make it healthy!
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Old 08-02-08, 12:41 PM   #16
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I also find fig bars to work well. They are more available in small town general stores and cheaper than Cliff Bars and the like. A tube is ever present in my jersey pocket when on tour. I don't find that I tire of them, but do mix it up with other things like GORP, baked goods, and jerky.

At home on long day rides, I like Cliff bars or Powerbars, but on tour I get sick of them pretty fast.
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Old 08-02-08, 12:55 PM   #17
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I'm not saying anything bad about Clif bars, but all of the above is just spurious marketing nonsense. Plutonium is vegan, organic and all natural, but that doesn't make it healthy!


anywhere in my post did i say that it was healthy? also, i think it was pretty obvious the point i was trying to get across by using words such as "they're marketed as", and quotations around all natural that i wasn't really claiming they were anything, and that the OP could decide for herself.
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Old 08-02-08, 12:59 PM   #18
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I'm not convinced much of anything these days is "healthy" - it seems like they've genetically engineered just about everything! maybe I should start feeding him plutonium?? But then again - I doubt there are many calories in that!
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Old 08-02-08, 01:10 PM   #19
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Ah, but it would give him a healthy glow... in the dark!
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Old 08-02-08, 01:12 PM   #20
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Yeah - I do try to stick with whole foods, but a few pepperoni sticks here and there won't hurt him. It really is hard to find foods that you can eat easily while riding.
Yeah I hear what you are saying. I get spoiled here in California where you can get a tofu burger with sprouts at the gas station.
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Old 08-02-08, 01:14 PM   #21
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Ah, but it would give him a healthy glow... in the dark!
That was a good laugh. Thanks!
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Old 08-02-08, 01:23 PM   #22
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Dates and macadamia nuts!
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Old 08-02-08, 01:25 PM   #23
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is it not natural for kids to be hungry all the time and to boot he's riding a bike all day,ok you dont want to give him junk food but a half bar of good quality chocolate along with some nice fruit will keep him going and he will enjoy it .
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Old 08-02-08, 01:50 PM   #24
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is it not natural for kids to be hungry all the time.
Really? I was hungry all the time as a kid. Maybe that's why I was a 34 wait in the 5th grade.

I applaud what you guys are doing Nancy. Far better for you sons to loose a little weight riding a bike than sitting at home putting on weight playing video games! You are catching this early and are interested in fixing the problem early. If the problem persists think about contacting a nutritionist via the web. You might want to contact Jason at The Physical Edge in Arcadia, CA. He runs a nice physical therapy and fitness center and is an ironman triathlete. He will better understand the physical and nutritional demands that come from endurance activities than a normal doctor.
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Old 08-02-08, 02:24 PM   #25
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Nancy, I wanna be your kid,,,,wow, wish you'all well.
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