Limp lettuce? Waste not. This soup takes a note from the French, who serve lettuce in soup. The flavours are clear, with an earthy yet sweet undertone. A few pieces of turkey bacon give a smoky vibe to the dish without making it heavy. Tip For a slightly bitter edge, replace half of the leaf lettuce in this soup with escarole.
Influenced by Southern California’s Orange County, which sees near-perfect grilling weather year-round, this meal is a heartier lettuce-based option for summertime lunches and dinners. Tender marinated chicken, plump blueberries (now in season), romaine, simple homemade croutons, and a light camelina oil orange vinaigrette combine to create a new-classic toss that will please any appetite. Tip Romaine offers more than just crunch; it’s a provider of folate, a power nutrient for women. To further bump up the superfood quotient in this salad, a handful of shredded raw kale can be added.
Naturally “cuppy” lettuce such as Bibb, Boston, and butter varieties are natural holders for a rich, spiced filling. Here, ground tofu stands in for traditional chicken or beef, creating a lighter, brighter plant-based dish. Tip For heartier fare, cook a pot of short-grain brown rice and serve alongside the fragrant tofu filling.
Who says a smoothie needs to be sipped from a glass? This green smoothie bowl carries tropical notes of sweet pineapple and banana, disguising any vegetal spinach flavour. A crunchy, high-protein granola makes a fine pre- or post-ride snack on its own; pack a small reusable container filled for a mid-ride refuel. Tip Save super-ripe bananas for smoothies. Peel, halve, and lay on parchment-lined baking sheet; freeze until firm, about 6 hours. Store in glass container in the freezer.
Sweet potato adds natural sweetness and good nutrition to these great balls of energy. So tasty, they’re motivation enough to work up a sweat. The mixture will be quite moist when rolled, but the oats and flax will draw out some of the moisture upon chilling in the refrigerator. Tip: Tool of the trade A food processor is an ideal machine for making homemade energy bars and balls since it can better handle low liquid mixtures than regular blenders.
A speedy smoothie that eats like a meal. Because it’s high in fibre, it’s best enjoyed after your workout, giving you something to race toward while you’re on the bike. And with an hour of chilling time, simply grab and devour when you get home. Tip Frozen berries (any kind!) can be used to replace fresh raspberries in this recipe, making it an all-season pre- or post-workout treat.
Here’s proof that hummus can take on many personalities, and this unexpected dessert version is a tasty filling for stuffed dates, resulting in sweet and creamy portable rocket fuel. Extra hummus is a great dip for fresh fruit. Watch the clock Not all workouts require reaching into a feedbag. In general, bike rides and other exercise outings lasting fewer than 90 minutes won’t require supplemental energy as long as pre-workout nibbles have been sufficient. Beyond the 90-minute mark, an active body can often benefit from extra calories to keep energy reserves from bottoming out. A good portion of these calories should hail from carbohydrates since these are the primary source of energy for hard-working muscles, and stores are limited. Aim to take in 30 to 90 grams of carbs for each hour of activity.
If you want to make your day in the woods a little more gourmet you’ll want to bring along a few of these stuffed crepes to slay workout hunger and keep your legs feeling energized. And who doesn’t love peanut butter with banana? (Hint: nobody.) Bring extras to share with your exercise partners and you’re sure to become a trail hero. Under wraps For a more eco-savvy workout, consider reusable items for transporting your homemade fuel. A great option for hungry athletes is the malleable beeswax wraps offered by Canadian-owned Abeego that can fit snuggly around your trail fare.
Maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet is crucial for peak athletic performance. Spices such as turmeric and black pepper are thought to work in tandem (no pun intended) to reduce inflammation—a concern for cyclists. Tip Because mango adds wonderful sweetness to this smoothie, you may wish to omit the honey or maple syrup to substantially reduce the total amount of sugars. Frozen mango cubes make a delicious dessert on their own, straight from the freezer, tasting a lot like sorbet.
This delicious vegan salad is rich in protein—excellent for a full day of pumping down rugged mountain trails. For a gluten-free version, pack up a few more large lettuce leaves and substitute for pita pockets. Get sprouting! For amazing freshness, make your own sprouted lentils. Rinse and drain 1/2 cup (125 mL) dried lentils, removing any stones or debris. Place in 4 cup (1 L) Mason jar. Add about 3 cups (750 mL) water and place a piece of cheesecloth overtop, then secure with metal ring or rubber band. Set aside in a draft-free, unlit corner of the kitchen overnight. Drain and rinse a few times. Then cover with cheesecloth and band. Gently shake lentils in jar so they aren’t in a big clump. Place jar on its side in a dark cupboard. Rinse and drain lentils 2 or 3 times a day until lentils have 1/2 in (1 cm) sprouts, about 2 or 3 days, depending on your house’s temperature. Transfer to covered container and refrigerate. To use, quickly blanch and then plunge into an ice-water bath. Drain and blot dry. Use in the Sprouted Lentil and Quinoa Salad with Pocket Bread recipe or tuck into sandwiches or salads. Sprouts can be refrigerated for up to a week in a tightly covered container. Tip Construct a fresh and just-like-home meal on the trail: be sure to pack salad, bread, and lettuce separately.
The flavours of an oatmeal raisin cookie come together in this balanced smoothie bowl. A surefire, scrumptious way to sustain a lengthy ride or recover spent muscles. Tip Turn any cookie into a cookie smoothie bowl by using this recipe as a base. Try peppermint chocolate (replace the cinnamon and raisins with chocolate and peppermint), peanut butter (replace almond butter with peanut butter; skip the raisins), or classic chocolate chip (replace raisins with chocolate chips).
Sweet and savoury at once, these bundles of fruity energy raise the bar on exercise fuel. You can also take the mixture and roll it into balls. Frozen asset Keep a few pieces of ginger stashed in the freezer. Once frozen, it will be easier to finely grate for use in recipes such as bars, drinks, and salad dressings.
Caffeine is a powerful pre-workout tool. Used in moderation, a cup of coffee, or better yet, a chocolatey coffee smoothie, may increase the duration of your workout. Tip If you’re sensitive to caffeine, use herbal coffee substitute or loose-leaf Earl Grey tea instead of coffee.
For a little Mexican kick while hitting the trails, these savoury sandwiches are perfect for energy and flavour. Pop them over a little campfire until warmed through, if you wish. Tofu tricks Pressing tofu releases any extra water, making it more satisfying in a sandwich. Rinse tofu with water and slice block lengthwise into 4 slabs. Place clean, thick kitchen towel on baking sheet. Top with a couple of layers of paper towels. Lay tofu slabs in a single layer on top. Then cover with more paper towels and another thick kitchen cloth. Place another baking sheet on top and then set a few heavy books on top. Set aside for 30 minutes. Tofu will be immeasurably drier and firmer—perfect for lining a sandwich. Tip For an added Mexican kick, drizzle sandwich fillings with a little Mexican crema before enclosing with top halves of buns. Mmmm ... delicious! Tip Freeze a bottle with tomato juice spiked with lemon. Pack with lunch for your trek. It not only keeps your meal cold but provides essential electrolytes for sipping once thawed.
Easy to carry. Simple to pop and savour while on a rugged path. And quick to assemble in bulk. Make ahead and refrigerate for a week, or store in the freezer for up to a month. Did you know? Date Nut Energy Squares go down especially well with coconut water! In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kalpa vriksha, meaning “tree that gives all that is necessary for living.”
Light in the backpack and easy to tote, these crispy chickpeas topping tossed greens are loaded with flavour and provide a delicious boost of energy. DIY chickpeas from scratch Soak dried beans in large bowl covered with several inches of water for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well. Place chickpeas in large saucepan and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, leaving lid ajar, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until chickpeas are as tender as you’d like. Season with salt only after cooking, as salt toughens beans during cooking. Tip Want to try something new? Substitute canned chickpeas with frozen, thawed edamame beans and follow the same steps to bake and dry. Tip Make a pot of tea and transfer it to a bottle. Freeze, then pack it with your salad to keep it fresh and you hydrated. The tea not only complements the roasted chickpea salad, but also boosts your antioxidants.
Packed with crunchy energy, trail mix has long been a favourite fuel source among those who like to get fit in the great outdoors. These downsized muffins have all the cherished flavours of trail mix without any of the loose parts. Also great for everyday snacking and road trips. Go ahead and sneak some mini chocolate chips into the batter mix if you’re among the masses that fancy a little chocolate goodness in their trail mix. Ahead of the game Not just for on the trail, these bite-sized muffins and the other energy food recipes here can also serve as great pre-exercise snacks to help take the edge off hunger and provide a shot of energy so you can go strong from the get-go.
Sports drinks are designed to deliver hydration, fast digesting carbohydrates for a source of quick energy, and some sodium to replace some of what is lost in sweat. But you need not rely on techy store-bought versions: making your own elixir couldn’t be easier. You’ll also save some hard-earned cash. This sports drink hack makes enough to fill two standard-sized water bottles. The pineapple juice can be replaced with orange juice if desired. Chill out When the heat is on, cold liquids can promote thirst, which in turn encourages better hydration habits during exercise, and reduces perceived effort by helping to lower core body temperature. When getting ready to exercise in steamy conditions, keep a bottle of this drink in the fridge to be consumed early on and freeze a second filled bottle which will thaw in the heat so you’re rewarded with a chilly drink mid-workout.
These packable, poppable little treats contain all the hearty goodness of oatmeal, quinoa, nuts, and seeds; the added health heft of hempseeds; and a few more delicious, yet nutritious, surprises to boot. Tip For added decadence, grate dark chocolate overtop of mixture immediately after removing from oven.
Here’s an amazing dish that’s portable and chock full of good flavours and ingredients. The combination of wheat berries, rice, and shredded vegetables is perfect for a mountain-biking expedition, backyard picnic, or the beach. It’s well worth the effort. The filling can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days. Wrap in a burrito and you’re ready to pack ’em up! Tips For a gluten-free burrito, substitute wheat berries with cooked millet, quinoa, or even cooked rice. Stay hydrated with water laced with fresh lime—the perfect accompaniment to these tasty and nutritious burritos. Keep your food fresh. Pack a frozen water bottle with your meal. It’s great for sipping as it melts—and keeps your food cold too!