Along with some of those exercise routines I offered up in recent posts, I’d be telling only part of the story if I didn’t include some great foods for those who exercise. Keep in mind though, a lot of these foods end up on my list because they are easy to transport, and they remain mostly intact when biking.
Honestly, if I didn’t mention the great mealtime foods like lasagna, enchiladas, pizza, and tacos, I’d be giving you a lie of omission. The best dinners don’t generally travel well, and are sometimes too heavy in the gut to be good for pre-exercise, or post-exercise routines. They are good for you though, especially since they usually contain multiple food groups.
One interesting meal, which a lot of people dismiss as junk food, is macaroni and cheese. Did you know, a serving of macaroni and cheese has three times as much protein as a hot dog? Hot dogs are fun when you’re watching a baseball game. They aren’t great for regular consumption though. Good old mac ’n’ cheese has a little bit better ratio of protein to carbs than most actual junk foods, so don’t turn your nose up at it yet. Give it a second look.
As far as perfect ratios of proteins to carbs go, look no further than the epic combo of tortilla and refried beans. The bean burrito is one of the best foods for post-exercise protein pounding. Though it is not great for pre-race fuel, because the beans can make you feel bloated and heavy, it is ideal for after a difficult day of work and play.
One other meal which doesn’t travel easily but is full of the good stuff (and by good stuff, I mean good-for-you stuff) is cereal and milk. Sure, the type of cereal matters—think of anything not made of corn—but still, the mix of grains and dairy is ideal for an active lifestyle. Over the years I’ve heard people degrade the simple meal of milk on cereal, and nine times out of ten these people are not active. They don’t do anything that could be considered acitve and they dis on one of the easiest meals as if they were snooty dukes and duchesses in the royal court. Let them have their snoot, I say. You’ll live longer on a diet of oats than you will on a diet of mutton.
So far, I’ve mentioned the foods which don’t often travel well. Here are some which do:
Pop Tarts—oh yeah, these things will make you fat if you’re not active, it’s true, but if you are active, there are some good insta-carbs right here.
Granola bars—if you can score some hemp in your granola bars, you’ll be packing the perfect proteins.
Tuna—lots of body-builders know, fish has great protein power, and you don’t need a lot of it to satisfy your hunger.
Fruity yogurt—delicious and nutritious.
Dried fruit—so many varieties to choose from, and one of the easiest to carry anywhere.
Cottage cheese—mega-protein, and good with a variety of vegetables.
Boiled eggs—talk about protein, and they travel well, though not for very long. Eat them quick.
Smoothies—the best thing about these is you can put what you like in them.
Oatmeal—to make a strong horse, you feed it oats. Don’t you want to be as strong as a horse?
Fig bars—these are becoming more common and fortunately, come in a wide variety.
Fruit—the undried form of the fruit is tasty too.
Trail mix—like a granola bar, only much more loose; for best results, make your own.
String cheese—yes, millions of kids get this in their lunch, and you can too.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich—speaking of kids’ lunches, this is actually an ideal food to take into the wilderness, or to consume before pumping iron, or after a marathon swim.