Vitamins, minerals, proteins... your body needs it all when you're training hard on the bike, and clocking up those miles.
It's easy to grab a quick snack after training, and guzzle down pints of water to rehydrate yourself, but if the right food isn't readily available you can end up snacking on empty calories or eating foods that don't promote recovery. Keeping a healthy supply of power foods in your cupboards, either for snacking or for creating body refuelling meals, will make it easier to ensure you're always sticking to a healthy diet which will keep you well fueled.
We've put together a list of cyclist's cupboard essentials to keep you pedalling and full of energy...
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed full of all the goods. They are a great source of protein, vitamin E and magnesium.
The properties of these green beauties are numerous. The vitamin E contributes to a reduction of inflammation after a workout, and the essential amino acids help with muscle repair. Spinach also works wonders on our mental health by increasing serotonin production, a.k.a the happy hormone.
The high nutritional content of calcium and potassium assists with muscle gain and maintenance. It even helps with regulating blood pressure as well. The great thing about quinoa is that it's a great ingredient for all sorts of tasty treats - check out our recipe collection here.
Protein powders have become a common place sight on the shelves of our supermarkets - but they're not just used by gym enthusiasts, they can be really useful for athletes of all types. Mixing up a protein shake is a quick and convenient way to boost your protein intake - either with a meal, as a snack, or straight after a ride.
Available in a number of flavours, protein powders can be used to plump out regular smoothies, cakes and breakfasts to get that protein fix. However, protein powder is not to be used as a full replacement for natural protein sources - you do need real food too!
Oats have to be one of the best power foods for any athlete. They are rammed full of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as complex carbohydrates to slowly release energy throughout the day.
Iron minerals in oats promote healthy blood which carries oxygen to our muscles during a workout. Oats are also high in phosphorus - all these the properties allow our bodies to store energy for the next workout.
Perhaps our favourite food on the list, but dark chocolate has been proven to improve cycling performance!
Not only is it tasty, but dark chocolate breaks down to produce bio-active Nitric Oxide. This helps us use oxygen more efficiently during exercise by dilating the blood vessels.
Finally: sometimes you do need a little treat from time to time - and studies show giving yourself the odd taste of something sweet can stop you overeating later on.
Nuts and Seeds
Whether you eat them raw, use them as an ingredient, or as a topping... nuts and seeds are tasty and very healthy.
Rich with omega-3 for the muscles, protein and fibre for digestion and healthy fats and oils for beauty, they really have it all. Known for having pampering properties, these tasty snacks strengthen hair and nails too.
It may be the most expensive item in your cupboard, but the health benefits of quality Manuka honey mean it is well worth the investment.
Honey is known for being a natural anti-bacterial food because it has the ability to promote bacteria fighting cell production in the body. Full of natural anti-oxidants to boost the immune system, Manuka honey aids with digestion and can even help with combating hay fever symptoms.
It's a versatile food that tastes great in tea, milk, on toast and with porridge.
These cupboard essentials will help to ensure you're getting the important things your body needs to stay healthy, and they'll aid with muscle maintenance and keeping a good balance in the body.
All of these foods work well as ingredients for some tasty meals, or paired as part of a healthy snack. So stock up those supplies and experiment with some power bites.
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