Want to replenish your body after a long bike trip? Now that you know which foods are important to fuel up on before your bike ride, I’ll let you in on which foods are best for recovery afterwards.
Especially on a long tour with many overnight stops, being exhausted after every ride can really set you back. The more tired you are, the harder it will be to wake up the next morning for the next leg of your journey.
There are certain nutrients you’ll need to keep your body feeling renewed and ready for what’s ahead when you hop off the saddle. Some might be obvious, but others might surprise you.
Refresh, Renew and Repair for Your Next Ride
This is my personal favorite. Not only is it one of the more delicious replenishing options, but it also works the best for me.
Chocolate milk is packed with many of the nutrients your body craves after any type of intense physical activity. Why not just drink regular milk? Studies show that chocolate milk does double the work that plain milk might do post-workout.
Chocolate milk will replace the carbohydrates you powered through on your ride immediately. Also, it contains high doses of protein to rebuild your leg muscles, which can even prevent soreness after your ride.
Of course, since it’s a liquid, chocolate milk will even prevent dehydration. It even works better than water in a few ways by providing the sugars and sodium necessary to retain that liquid.
Chocolate milk is a post-bike ride super drink. Because biking requires high levels of endurance and constant muscle movement, the sweet drink will work hard to replace everything your body has spent right away.
What’s more, you can choose whatever type of chocolate milk fits with your diet. Skim milk works as well as whole milk. I try to avoid dairy, and chocolate soy milk in many ways is equally beneficial.
Smoothies work well too for those bikers that have the time and foresight to prepare them. You can add chocolate to your milk-based smoothie but also add fruit for extra nutrients, such as potassium from bananas.
When I tour, I keep little cartons of chocolate soy milk. They are individually packaged so they don’t need to be refrigerated, and they make all the difference after a grueling ride.
Again, when you’re on the road there’s a good chance you won’t have the time to cook up an elaborate post-ride meal on a stove, so it’s always good to find portable options for your tour.
As long as you can keep them cool, hard-boiled eggs make for an excellent and easy post-ride refuel. They contain much of the protein you need for muscle recovery.
You might be hesitant to use salt when you’re trying to be healthy. However, feel free to season your eggs with a bit of salt because doing so will help replenish your electrolytes.
If you have time to cook, eggs prepared any way will deliver that same amount of protein. However, be wary of oils and fats that will be included in eggs that are fried or scrambled. The oils and grease will slow your digestion and in turn make it harder for your body to extract the nutrients it needs.
Of course, if you don’t have a cooler with you on your bike tour, your eggs will spoil too quickly. I find that hard-boiled eggs are best after short rides to work in the morning. They double as a light breakfast and a replenishing snack.
Speaking of non-perishable foods to keep with you on tour, nuts make an excellent post-ride snack. They will keep for the entire duration of your tour (assuming you don’t eat them all).
Nuts such as almonds are absolutely packed with protein. They also have a reasonable amount of good fats to keep your hunger suppressed.
It is important to note, however, that the serving size on any package of nuts is smaller than you might think. While I could easily sit down and eat an entire bag of almonds, I have learned to count out my portions beforehand to avoid consuming half of my daily calories at once.
Most packages suggest eating only ¼ of a cup at a time. This handful will give you all of the protein you need, so try not to go overboard. Eating too much too quickly will make you feel sick, which I can confidently tell you from personal experience. Feeling too full will set you back on your ride.
Almonds are the healthiest nut. They contain the most protein per serving, in addition to other important nutrients. You could also make a nut-based trail mix if you get tired of eating almonds on their own. Other healthy nuts include:
- Brazil nuts
While peanuts and cashews do contain a high amount of protein, they also contain more fat than other nuts. I avoid these when I’m biking because the fat turns my stomach after only a serving or two, but you should eat them depending on how they make you feel.
I am using the simple meal “chicken and rice” here as an example. If you’ll be home after a grueling ride and will have time to cook a full dinner, try hitting on the carb and protein groups equally.
Any dinner that uses a lean protein as the main entrée and a carbohydrate based side will do after a ride. Carbs and protein are the two most important nutrient groups to eat after any workout.
Chicken and rice is a good example because it doesn’t need much seasoning or oil. Adding a lot of butter to an otherwise healthy meal will slow digestion and, as I previously stated, make it more difficult for your body to get the nutrients it needs in time to replenish the ones it lost.
Obviously, you won’t be cooking up a fancy dinner on a bike tour. However, many of the tours I’ve been on have stopped in hip towns, and many of us make our way to the local restaurants to check out the scene.
In this scenario, it’s great to have a healthy option in mind so that you are replenishing your body successfully while also enjoying company in a restaurant.
As a vegetarian, I would replace the chicken in this option with a soy-based meat alternative or beans.
When you’re on a bike tour, your body is your most important tool. In addition to fueling up prior to the ride, it’s vital that you do your body good when the ride is finished.
By following these post-ride tips, your body will heal faster and you’ll be even more ready for whatever is next on your agenda.
Do you have any other favorite replenishing foods? Share them in the comments!