An image of a person standing on a scale.

Many take to the bike for the first time to lose weight, and cycling is certainly a past time that will help you maintain your waistline as well as your fitness.

But what about when you take your rides to the next level? You may have started as a commuter, but now you go on club runs each weekend.

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You not only want to lose weight for the health benefits, but also to improve your performance. So how do you continue to keep off extra weight while still fuelling yourself effectively for a ride?

We've compiled a list of foods that have properties useful for cyclists, that also might help you keep your weight under control. But remember: don't go crazy on dieting if your thighs start to grow. Those are your amazing muscles that you will grow to adore!

funny face serving breakfast, fried egg, toast and green salad

Yes, it's predictable, but eggs are pretty amazing. They have around 6g of protein per egg (white and yolk together) with only 80-100 calories. That's a pretty decent trade off, considering protein is essential for muscle recovery in athletes. Therefore, eggs are great for after a ride.

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The other brilliant thing about eggs is that, like all protein-rich foods, they are satiating (i.e they make you feel full). They're also good sources of vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and phosphorus.

Egg yolks are also a source of choline: a nutrient that there's some evidence to suggest is anti-inflammatory. This means that it could possibly help that runny nose!

Green Vegetables

Kale is good. But if you don't like it, that's ok, because we're really talking about dark, leafy greens in general here. So spinach, broccoli and cabbage can also fill this dietary need. And what is that need? Vitamins and fibre. You get them from these leafy things (aka cruciferous veg) in bucket-loads.

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They're also big, bulky edibles by nature, with a tendency to fill you up. That's a great property if you know that you have an issue with portion control. Furthermore, you'll be getting loads of delicious, Popeye-recommended iron to maintain red blood cells that give you oxygen-rich blood.

rows of  fresh berries on table

[related_articles]Berries are super rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E. These help minimise free radicals in your body... which in simple terms means that they can help prevent damage to proteins, membranes and genes in the body. There's even some evidence to suggest that antioxidants help you preserve your muscle strength as you get older.

Pay attention to berries with bright colours because that usually means they are the most packed with beneficiary stuff.

And berries are of course best paired with...

Greek yogurt with figs and honey, in a glass bowl over old wood

Doesn't that image just make you salivate? Yummy stuff. Greek yogurt is another big source of protein, but without the high levels of sugar and salt contained in regular yogurt. That means it has less calories too.

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Another added bonus is that dairy proteins are shown to be more efficient than others at building and repairing muscles: exactly what you want as a cyclist!

Salmon filet with spices on a wooden carving board. Macro shot.

It's a staple dinner for every dieter, but did you know that salmon is much feted by athletes too? It's a low calorie source of lean proteins, with those lovely omega 3 fatty acids that help minimise your risk of heart disease.

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Oily fishes are also known to be anti-inflammatory too (like the egg yolks from earlier). Essentially: more oily fish in your life is no bad thing.

Veggie? Get yourself some walnuts – another great omega 3 source.

Healthy Pasta

The body has to work hard to convert fat and protein into energy, whereas it finds making carbs into energy a walk in the park. That's why, understandably, many who are trying to lose weight focus on minimising their carb intake.

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All of this makes sense, but if you are going on a big ride your body needs energy. A controlled amount of carbs, carefully calculated to fuel your ride, will ensure you can remain performing the way you want to. Don't go all Atkins on us!

In general it's best to eat whole grain varieties of breads and pastas to minimise sugar intake and maximise fibre, but before a big race it's actually better to stick to the refined stuff in order to prevent gastrointestinal symptoms.