There’s a trend in some cycling circles away from drink mixes and back toward real, whole foods. Osmo Nutrition puts it succinctly with their catchy tag line, “Hydration in the bottle, food in the pocket.” That might sound ridiculously basic, but it’s actually unorthodox thinking compared to the all-in-a-bottle strategies that many athletes have adopted.
It’s also not as easy as it sounds. Finding foods that are nourishing, palatable while going hard, compact, and easy to carry and eat while riding can be surprisingly difficult. Sports physiologist Allen Lim, owner of Skratch Labs and a proponent of whole foods for athletes, recognizes this obstacle. His first book, The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes, co-authored with chef Biju Thomas, included 12 recipes for homemade energy bars. The book was chock full of things to eat before and after exercise, but Lim’s variations on the rice cake were the true sensations.
Now Lim is back with a second edition that’s devoted entirely to homemade foods for eating while exercising. Released in late May, Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook Of On The Go Food For Athletes has 75 recipes, including lots of vegetarian gluten-free options. In addition to a new set of rice cake variants, Lim fills out the table with nutritious recipes for baked cakes, two-bite pies, waffle sandwiches, baked eggs and soufflés, rice balls, and cookies.
The recipes are simple, with generally eight ingredients or fewer, and take little time to prepare. There’s great advice for wrapping and packing the little treats for easy consumption on the bike, and, having tried a number of the new portables, we can say that they are as delicious as the previous iterations.
Convenience is probably the number one reason athletes choose pre-packaged bars, gels, and liquid fuel, and while Lim acknowledges that his recipes require more time and energy than just cracking a PowerBar, he puts forward a strong argument for making the effort.
Here are a couple of our favorite portable recipes from Lim’s new book. For a full menu of bars and cakes, purchase Feed Zone Portables here.