Q: I've read that we should be eating these fancy-schmancy energy bars to refuel after a ride. But they're expensive, and I'm wondering if they are really necessary.
A: Sure, a person can spend a bunch of money on energy bars and other high-tech nutritional products. But that’s not necessary for most of us regular Joe cyclists. Simple is best, and what your body most wants after any sort of extended ride is two things – sugars/carbs for immediate energy and proteins to rebuild your muscles that have been taxed on the ride. And so here are some ideas of what your fellow riders enjoy when they refuel after a ride.
1. Quaker oats with Apples & Cinnamon instant oatmeal
"My traditional post-ride meal is a mix of Quaker oats along with Apples & Cinnamon instant oatmeal. It's a good mix of simple and complex carbs and I have it with milk to hydrate and get some quality protein. It really fills you up, too!"
2. Chocolate milk
"Chocolate skim milk is my number one choice for post ride refuelling. Sugar, liquid, protein all in a tasty quick and cheap package. It's got the optimal carb/protein ratio, plus antioxidant benefits of cocoa."
Related choices: Ovaltine or Slimfast-type drinks
3. Bananas, grapes, cheese and yogurt
Digital Vision/Chris Stein
"When I'm done riding I like to dig into fruits and dairy, specifically some bananas and grapes along with some cheese and yogurt. I find this gives an excellent and rapid supply of carbs and protein along with the right amount of fat for energy later. Couple that with lots of fluids such as Gator-aid or water, and you're all set."
4. Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bars
"I’ve used the “Sweet & Salty” Granola bars as my post-ride snack for years. I get them at Sam’s Club. They have 11 g of Sugar and 4 g of Protein in each bar, just about the exact mix."
5. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
"My favorite thing to have after riding is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. If I'm really hungry, I'll have a bowl of oatmeal with milk to go with it."
6. Whole rye bread with almond butter and honey
"My favorite is whole rye bread with almond butter and honey. It gives me both a quick boost and a longer energy rise."
7. Fig Newtons
"My post-recovery snack is a fig newton or two and a glass of chocolate milk mixed with glutamine. I also carry fig newtons on long rides for quick energy as needed."
8. "Best of" Assortment at the Quick Shop
B2M Productions/Digital Vision
"After a long ride, I like to stop at a 7-11 convenience store or someplace similar when I’m heading home. I usually grab a banana, bag of chips and whatever sweet looks appealing at the time. I have a saying that when I’m riding, just give me $5 bucks, a decent headset and bike, and I’m good to go!"