When the average automobile-owning person plans out his or her day, they may commit say 10 or 15 minutes to commute to work, school, or whatever else they have going on, and 10 or 15 minutes to commute back home in the evening. That “10 or 15 minutes” allows time for waking up at a reasonable time, making a nice breakfast with some coffee or tea, making a lunch and snack for the day, and any personal grooming efforts they deem necessary.
Now, imagine adding on anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes to that average automobile commute time. This new time frame, about 25 to 45 minutes, is the average biker’s commute. Suddenly, one must wake up a bit earlier, sacrifice that tasty nutritious meal for a quick bar, and forget the grooming efforts, for as soon as they step out the door and on to their bike for their morning commute, they are exposed to whatever elements the weather decides to throw their way; personal grooming will have to take place at the final destination, i.e. tack on about 10 or 15 more minutes to that originally altered time frame.
Now to get down to the question of nourishment; how much can one consume before this bike ride in order to a) have enough fuel to get to the final destination and b) to not curl over in stomach cramps or worse, toss your cookies? This is a question that each commuter must ask themselves and figure out on their own, because, let’s face it, each person’s body will react differently to different foods!
I personally have found that those terrible cramps and tossing of the cookies, are not all that fun especially when you have a long day of work or classes ahead of you. I discovered, however, that at about 150 to no more than 200 calories in the morning, I am capable of riding in comfort. I found that a Banana and a 100 calorie breakfast bar, or an Apple/Mixed Fruit with some non-fat Greek Yogurt, is the best option for me.
But then, I get hungry about two hours later. That’s where those snacks come in great handy. I enjoy noshing on Dry Roasted, Unsalted Almonds, Unsalted Pistachios, Luna Fiber Bars in Vanilla Blueberry, or-if I didn’t already have it before my ride-a Banana/Apple/Greek Yogurt. All of these make for great, nutritious snacks to tide me over until the lunch bell rings.
A few other great snacks that I was able to find online come from Shine.Yahoo.Com: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/9-power-snacks-bridge-lunch-dinner-gap-183500736.html, and include foods such as Cottage Cheese, Hard Boiled Eggs, Turkey Slices (for the non-vegetarian) and Tuna (again, for the non-vegetarian).
When it comes to lunch, I take great efforts to keep it minimal and yet filling, savory and yet low in fats, tasty and still nutritious. A few of my all-time favorites include a rice bowl consisting of 365’s Frozen Jasmine White Rice, Edamame, half an Avocado and Sliced Almonds, topped with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil; or if I’m feeling like a wrap, La Tortilla Factory’s Whole Wheat tortillas are my favorite, loaded with half an Avocado, a bit of Cheese or Nutritional Yeast, Baby Spinach or Mixed Greens, Sprouts, and some of LightLife’s Smart Veggie Crumbles toasted up with Cherry Tomatoes or Mushrooms and some light seasoning; another great way to enjoy a wrap is to load it with some Almond Butter (smooth or crunchy-I’m addicted to both!) Honey or Jam/Preserves (whichever you prefer) and a light toss of Granola or Grape Nuts adds the perfect crunch.
Snack time! Everybody hits that late afternoon slump. And the best way to deal with it is to stand up, stretch your limbs high in the air, then low to the ground, take a short stroll and whip up a little snack. This is where fruits and veggies take delight in my mind. An apple, a banana, some carrots and celery, or fresh snap peas (my all time favorite!) always seem to do the trick! Sometimes, I’ll add some Almond Butter or Cheese to dip them in if I need something a bit more filling to fuel my ride home and get me through to the end of my day. Food Should Taste Good is another awesome brand that I truly admire. They have only natural, pronounceable ingredients and they live up to their name, they taste Good!
By the time I get back to my home, throw the door open, and feel the burst of Air Conditioning welcoming me to peace and comfort, I am typically either hot, sweaty, and in need of a nice shower, or cranky and hunger-stricken. Whichever strikes first is the one I go with! I love to steam up some veggies as my side to whatever meal I decide to create. Steamed Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Green Beans, you name it, I love it! I have an awesome little pot by The Pampered Chef that allows me to pop the veggies-frozen or fresh-into the pot along with enough water to cover them, place the lid on the pot and pop it in the microwave for maybe 3 minutes, Presto! Perfectly steamed veggies. The main course-though admittedly I use some of those lunch meals as dinner meals-is typically soy-based or bean-based proteins. I love Morning Star’s Chicken Grillers, California Burgers, and Black Bean Burgers, as well as Gardein’s Chik’n Scallopini. I also have a love for Sweet Potatoes. A great way to dress them is with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, some Feta Cheese, and a light sprinkling of Sliced Almonds. I’m also a fan of breakfast-for-dinner! I love making egg or egg white omelets with an assortment of veggies and seasonings (sometimes I’ll mix egg and tofu or just make a tofu scramble for something a bit different). I’ll normally throw some whole wheat or pumpernickel toast on the side with some spinach or mixed greens.
And, of course, there’s always dessert! I grew up with a woman (my mom!) who’s an amazingly stupendous baker. Our house was never lacking in desserts. Because of it, our family is often asked how we stay so slim; the simple answer? We’re active and eat healthy portions. While my baking skills and energy aren’t quite as good as my mom’s, I still always have a bit of ice cream or dark chocolate lying around to conquer my taste buds.
What do you enjoy eating on busy/active/hectic days? Any commuter-vegetarians out there that have some tips for me or maybe awesome recipes to devour?!