You’ll know all too well how exhausted your body feels after a long bike ride, especially if you’ve been doing a lot of climbing. That’s why it’s essential you provide your body with what it needs to be able to recover sufficiently: eating enough protein for muscle recovery, and enough carbohydrates to replenish your energy.
This combination doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to never-ending chicken and rice though; there are plenty of creative and tasty ways to give your body the fuel it needs. That’s why we’ve collected a few of our favourite recipes to help your body’s post-ride recovery.
A smoothie is a great option to quickly get all of the stuff into your body that you need for recovery after that long ride. The beauty of a smoothie is that you can prep it before you mount the saddle and take it with you for when you’ve finished your ride, so if your route ends away from home, you don’t have to rush home to cook a recovery meal within the magic half an hour window.
You can add whatever you like to your recovery smoothie, according to your tastes. As long as it has protein and carbohydrate in it, you’re good to go. We also recommend adding an anti-inflammatory food, such as spinach, blueberries and ginger to soothe your inflamed muscles.
If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend this blueberry and peanut butter smoothie which will both refuel you and tastes delicious – it’s a win-win!
- 1 cup of low-fat Greek yoghurt (protein)
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of ice cubes
- 1 cup of frozen blueberries (anti-inflammatory and carbohydrate)
- 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter (protein and carbohydrate)
- A generous squeeze of honey
Once you’ve gathered all of the ingredients, all you need to do is throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick for your taste, add some more milk, and you’re good to go!
If you’ve gone for an energy-zapping ride just before tea time, you’re going to want something more substantial to both fill you up and get your body to start recuperating. Chicken and quinoa have long been a winning combination in the fitness world, which is a hardly a surprise – the chicken delivers a lean protein source, and the quinoa provides plenty of carbs, protein and magnesium that promotes bone health.
So, if you need a recovery meal that’s going to hit the spot and all the nutrition targets, this one-pan chicken and quinoa meal is ideal – plus, less washing up!
- 500g chicken breast cut into pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup of rinsed uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped squash
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Once you’ve got all of these ingredients – it’s time to start cooking! All you’ll need is a frying pan – or, even better, a skillet.
- Preheat a large skillet to medium heat with the olive oil and add the chicken. Sauté the chicken for 5 minutes, stirring as you go while making sure the outside of chicken pieces is cooked.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for five more minutes, until the water released from the mushrooms evaporates.
- Add squash and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the quinoa, chicken stock, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil and stir it. Cover, then reduce heat to low-medium and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add lemon juice and parsley and dig in – you deserve it!
With their high protein contents and high nutrition value, eggs’ restorative properties are no secret. However, there are only so many omelettes you want to eat, so the challenge becomes finding new and exciting ways to get your eggy fix.
Luckily, we’ve got just the solution. These scrambled egg wraps are not only delicious but also one of those rare recipes that you can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- 2-3 eggs
- 1 tsp of butter
- Half a ripe avocado or guacamole
- 2 tbsp tomato salsa
- A Handful of baby spinach leaves
- 60g grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp low Greek yoghurt
- 1 chopped spring onion
- 2 whole wheat tortillas
- Crack open and beat the eggs in a bowl.
- Chop and mash the avocado – if you’re using guacamole you can skip this step!
- Take out a tortilla and spread a thin layer of the Greek yoghurt, followed by a layer of the avocado or guacamole, and then add a layer of the tomato salsa.
- Heat the butter in a pan and slowly scramble the eggs. Just before they’re ready, stir in the grated cheese and the spring onion.
- Spoon the egg mixture onto the tortillas, top with the baby spinach leaves, roll up and serve.
If you like a bit of a kick to your meals, you can also add some chopped red chillies to the pan when you add the spring onions – it’ll be sure to warm you back up if you’ve been on a frosty ride.
The vegan option
Vegan food gets a bad rap, but you’d be surprised how much having to cook without animal products makes you more adventurous with your cooking.
You might presume that vegans have to live without delicious stable meals such as Chilli con Carne. However, when there’s a will, there’s a way! We think this sweet potato and black bean chilli will have even the most avid meat-eater queuing for a bowl full.
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 large diced red onion
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tin of rinsed black beans
- 1 tin of diced tomatoes
- ½ cup dried quinoa
- Heat a pot with the oil on a medium-high
- Add the sweet potato and the onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is softened.
- Add the garlic, chilli powder, chipotle, cumin and salt and stir.
- Add the stock, tomatoes, black beans and quinoa and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir everything to combine.
- Cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes until the quinoa is fully cooked and the sweet potato chunks are soft, and the entire mixture is slightly thick like a chilli.
- Add a squeeze of lime juice, and it’s ready to serve.
The guilt-free sweet treat
We all know a coffee goes down a treat after your morning ride, so why shouldn’t you be able to indulge in a sweet treat to accompany it?
Of course, you don’t want the guilt of feeling like you’ve undone all of your hard work, so these banana oat protein muffins are a great compromise!
- 1 ½ mashed, overripe banana
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup vanilla protein powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 190°C and spray a non-stick muffin tray with cooking spray.
- Whisk together the mashed banana, milk, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
- Add oats, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, and gently stir until it’s all mixed together.
- Fill each tin 2/3 full and top with banana slices for added decoration.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or a little longer until their golden.
Time to eat warm or cold – but we all know they’ll be better warm!
What are your favourite post-ride recovery meals? We’d love to hear them in the comments below. If you are heading out on the bike, don’t forget to check out cycling insurance.