Recovery food: the 5 best recipes for post-ride snacks

Boost your post-ride recovery and satisfy your wild hunger with these natural homemade recovery snacks.

When you are feeling hungry and tired at the end of a long bike ride, it is tempting to raid your kitchen cupboards for the kind of high-sugar snacks which will satisfy your out-of-control cravings. But eating fatty and unhealthy snacks after your training ride will only reverse all your hard work on the bike. That is why you need to plan your recovery snacks in advance, so you have healthy recovery fuel waiting for you as soon as you step into your house.

Homemade recovery snacks are much healthier and tastier. And as they are packed with natural ingredients, they will also help your body to recover more effectively after your workout. From banana bread to veggie muffins, here are five of the best recovery snack recipes for you to enjoy after a challenging bike ride.

Chocolate protein recovery bars

A perfect post-ride recovery snack, these tasty muscle-repairing protein bars are made with vegan protein powder and provide a delicious chocolate hit to perk you up after all that sprinting and climbing on the bike. They are created by experienced nutritionist Anita Bean, the author of The Vegan Athlete’s Cookbook (anitabean.co.uk), which features many tasty recovery snacks.

These bars can be wrapped up individually in foil so you can keep them in your jersey pocket, your car, or in the fridge at home. “Each bar will give you around 10g of muscle-repairing protein, as well as a welcome dose of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium,” explains Bean, who has worked with elite Olympic athletes. “You can swap the almond butter for your own favorite nut butter, or substitute raisins for chocolate chips if you prefer.”

© Anita Bean, The Vegan Athlete

Nutrition data (per bar)

229 calories
19g carbs (10g total sugars)
9g protein
12g fat (2g saturates)

Ingredients (Makes 12 bars)

125g rolled oats
125g almond butter
50g ground almonds
60g chocolate vegan protein powder
150g maple or golden syrup
3 tbsp mixed seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
50g chocolate chips

how to make them

Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper or foil. Add the oats to a food processor and pulse until ground into oat flour. Add the almond butter, ground almonds, protein powder, maple or golden syrup, seeds and cinnamon. Process until the mixture starts to clump together, then add the chocolate chips, and press just until they are incorporated. Transfer the mixture into the lined tin, pressing down firmly. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours before cutting into bars. The bars keep for up to five days in the fridge.

banana bread

© Will Girling

This hunger-busting banana bread can be used as a mid-ride energy boost or a satisfying post-ride recovery snack. Created by nutrition and performance coach Will Girling (willgirling.com), who has worked with professional Tour de France cyclists and Olympic athletes, it combines minimal ingredients with maximum taste, so you don’t have to spend half a day making this. It will be ready in about an hour and you’ll have 12 slices to enjoy after any workouts or training rides in the days ahead.

Nutrition data (per slice)

197 calories
30.1g carbs
3.3g protein
7.4g fat

Ingredients (Makes 12)

230g flour
80ml extra-virgin olive oil
175g honey
2 eggs
2 large mashed bananas (approx. 260g)
3 tbsp water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

how to make it

Heat the oven to 165°C (fan-assisted). Mash the bananas and add the rest of the wet ingredients (eggs, honey, water and olive oil). Mix together, then add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon). Now pour the mixture into a greased baking tin or silicone mold and bake for roughly 55 minutes. Remember that you might need a bit more or less time, depending on your tin.

Canarian Potatoes

These delicious and simple potato recovery snacks are popular on the Spanish island of Tenerife – the favorite training destination of some of the world’s best cycling teams. This particular recipe was masterminded by Nigel Mitchell – a highly-experienced nutritional consultant for pro cyclists, and the author of GCN’s (Global Cycling Network’s) popular The Cyclist’s Cookbook (globalcyclingnetwork.com).

© Nigel Mitchell

“These funny little salt-covered potatoes – ‘papas wrinkles’ means, literally, ‘wrinkly potatoes’ – might not look the most appetizing but they are really moreish,” explains Mitchell. These Canarian potatoes are traditionally served with a zingy mojo sauce. “It is colourful, tasty and packed with phytonutrients,” explains Mitchell.

Nutritional value for potatoes (per 100g)

109 calories
25g carb
3g protein
0g fat

Ingredients for the potatoes (Serves 4)

1kg small new potatoes
50g coarse sea salt

how to make them

Wash the potatoes well, taking care not to damage the skin, and place them in a large stock pot. Just cover with water and add the sea salt. Bring the pan to the boil and cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes until cooked but firm. Add water if too much evaporates. Pour off the water and return the pan to the stove on a very low heat until all water has evaporated, and the potatoes are covered in a layer of sea salt.

Nutritional value for the mojo sauce (per 100g)

120 calories
8g carb
1.5g protein
9g fat

Ingredients for the mojo sauce (Serves 4)

200g (1 large) bell pepper (red, green or yellow)
1 bunch (50g) fresh coriander
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
20ml olive oil
slice of bread

© Nigel Mitchell, GCN The Cyclist’s Cookbook

how to make it

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and the sauce will stay fresh for about seven days. The color of the mojo will depend on the color of the peppers you use – red, yellow or green.

Veggie Muffins

These healthy veggie muffins, which are bursting with zucchini, spinach and onions, will give you a vital dose of carbs, protein and vitamins after a challenging day in the saddle. They are the creation of Dr Gemma Sampson (gemmasampson.com), an Advanced Sports Dietitian based in Girona who regularly works with elite cyclists. “These veggie savory muffins are a great post-training snack,” she explains. “Quick and easy to whip up, they have plenty of protein, fiber and slow-releasing carbs to provide you with sustainable energy. Plus, it’s a tasty way to add extra veggies into your day.”

ingredients

30g parmesan or strong cheddar cheese
250g tub fat free cottage cheese
2 medium zucchini, grated
2 large handfuls spinach, chopped finely
1 small onion, chopped
30g parmesan or strong cheddar cheese
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp mixed herbs

how to make them

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Use a blender or food processor to grind the oats to a flour. Grate the zucchini and chop the onion. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Spoon the mixture evenly into silicon muffin cases. Bake in the oven for 45-60 mins until risen and golden. These can also be cooked in small batches on a frying pan to make veggie fritters.

Sweet potato falafels and tahini dressing

This savory sweet potato feast really hits the spot at the end of a long training ride. Created by Kitty Pemberton-Platt, author of Eat, Bike, Cook (kitchenpress.co.uk), it is actually small enough to fit into your jersey pocket. You can leave it in your car, enjoy it as a mid-ride lunch, or devour it at the end of a race or sportive when you’re not very close to home.

© Kitty Pemberton Platt, Eat Bike Cook

But those hearty sweet potatoes are especially satisfying after a big ride. “You can cycle with a ready-made picnic waiting for you whenever hunger strikes,” explains Pemberton-Platt. Plus, the lemon zest and coriander in these falafels give them a zingy freshness which helps to banish the sugary taste of energy drinks and leaves you feeling refreshed.

Ingredients (Makes 4)

For the sweet potato falafels

2 medium sweet potatoes (500g baked flesh)
50g gram flour (chickpea flour)
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1 garlic glove, finely chopped
1 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
1 1⁄2 tsp ground coriander
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
handful of coriander, finely chopped
juice and zest of 1⁄2 lemon
50ml olive oil
20g sesame seeds

For the tahini dressing

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
100g tahini
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cumin

to serve

4 pittas or wraps
4 handfuls of salad leaves
2 vine tomatoes, sliced
1⁄4 cucumber, sliced

how to make them

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-assisted). Place the sweet potatoes on the top shelf and bake for 50 mins, until soft. When cooled, cut the potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh, and mash in a bowl. Now add the rest of the ingredients, except for the olive oil and sesame seeds. Mix well, then chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven again to 200°C (180°C fan-assisted) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper drizzled with half the olive oil. Arrange 12 balls of the mixture on the tray and sprinkle the sesame seeds over them. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the falafels and bake for 15–20 mins, then turn over and bake for a further 15 mins, or until the seeds are brown and the falafels are crispy.

To make the tahini dressing, put all the ingredients in a bowl with 6 tablespoons of water and whisk together. Wrap the falafels in a warmed pitta bread or tortilla wraps, with salad leaves, tomato and cucumber slices and a drizzle of tahini dressing. Wrap tightly in greaseproof paper or tin foil and stuff one into your jersey pocket.

by Mark Bailey

Leave a Comment