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Cycling nutrition: how to pack a clean lunch

30 Mar 2018

5 quick and easy solutions for ensuring your lunch only contains good stuff

Clean eating may sound like the latest diet fad, but it’s really just a phrase that means avoiding eating processed convenience foods, and sticking to healthier wholefood options.

Why? Because you will know exactly what it is that you’re putting in your body and won’t be unwittingly hoovering up hidden fats, sugars and salt that typically lurk in cellophane-wrapped meals.

If you’re time-poor but understand how important nutrition is for successful cycling, try these top tips to ensure any weekday packed lunch you prepare is as tasty as it is good for you…

Pick ‘n’ Mix

If you were a fan of dear old Woolies’ sweet selections as a kid, recreate it with a multi-compartment lunchbox but be sure to stuff it full of healthy options to get a quick and easy balanced meal.

Include some fruit, vegetables, protein and a wholegrain. We knocked up the mix of blueberries, mange tout, salmon and corn pictured above in just five minutes.

Protein power

How’s this for a superfast salad that’ll satisfy your hunger and repair muscle? Grab three generous handfuls of washed spinach.

Chuck in two chopped tomatoes. Add half a tin of chickpeas, and a 120g tin of sardines in olive oil. Add freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with lemon juice to taste.

If you prefer, swap the sardines for a couple of boiled eggs. Total time? Around 12 minutes if you go for the boiled-egg option. Half that if not. 

Wrap it up

If you’re trying to lose weight, instead of making a sandwich using bread, try a low-carb option instead by making a wrap using a veggie leaf.

Kale or spring greens make super stand-ins for tortillas while iceberg or round lettuce leaves make great taco-style shells.

But what should you fill it with? Try half a mashed avocado mixed with some chunks of skinless chicken, a couple of chopped tomatoes and some diced cucumber.

Go with the grain

Eating more wholegrains, instead of refined grains, means you get more fibre, antioxidants and inflammation-fighting phytonutrients in your diet.

Take 90g of quinoa (it takes 15 minutes to cook – simply boil it in plenty of water like you would with rice).

Once it’s drained and cooled, sling it in a lunch box with a 120g tin of tuna in olive oil and top with a few diced cherry tomatoes and a small chopped red onion.

Watch what you drink

Obviously, there’s no point eating like this if you’re then going to spend the rest of the day sucking on a two-litre bottle of full-fat cherry cola.

So grab your bidon off the bike and bring it into the office. Set it up on your desk and sip from it regularly, refilling it when necessary.

If you want to add a bit of extra zing, drop some freshly sliced lime into the bottle before you leave home.

Not only will it taste more interesting, the citric acid in it will also help to disinfect the bottle and tackle any bacteria.

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