By Shannon Mominee
Over the years I’ve been becoming more and more picky about what my stomach will tolerate during a ride, race, or 24-hour challenge. Taste is also an issue. I’m not going to down something that tastes like chalk or makes me so thirsty that I consume all my water prematurely.
Of course I’d like to eat normal, everyday food, but tacos, beef stew, and grilled fish don’t really pack to well in a jersey pocket or hydration pack. But I’ve been known to pull out a slice of pizza, peanut butter and honey sandwich, fruit, or roll up to a street vendor for a hot sausage sandwich, which by the way did agree completely with my stomach and gave me mad pedaling power. I’d recommend trying one.
My riding friends mess with me and will show up for a ride with an egg and cheese English muffin in their pocket, waiting for the proper moment of comedy to hand it over. They also know that the ride may pause at any store, at any time if I need food. I seem to never have enough.
The days of squeezing strange formulas into my mouth from foil packs are over, unless I’m in really bad shape. But options I’ve found are bars that are actually made from sizeable chunks of real food, taste awesome, usually feature chocolate, and help me maintain my energy level without upsetting my stomach or making me pay for eating it later.
One of my favorite bar-type of foods include Kate’s Real Food. She creates bars from all natural and organic ingredients. The 5 bars; Tram Bar, Grizzly Bar, Handle Bar, Stash Bar and Caz. Bar all have some type of chocolate, most have peanut butter, one has flax and hemp, and one, the Caz. Bar features coconut, which I love, but some spice that I can’t relate too while pedaling. I think it’s the cayenne pepper.
Rise Bar uses a lot of fruit and nuts in their bars. All 12 varieties are free of gluten, GMOs, preservatives, dairy, soy, and peanuts. I haven’t tried them all but the ones that I have are tasty. Not really crunchy put do taste like fruit and nuts.
Angell Bar brands their snacks as an organic candy bar and all four flavors are at least shaped like a candy bar. You’ll be hard pressed to find partially hydrogenated fats or corn syrup in them though. Instead, there’s a vegan offering, a gluten-free crispy bar, and a nut-free chocolate bar with a coconut center. Angell Bars are certified USDA organic.
ProBar original bars have been around for a while and are awesome. They are a little more expensive than most on the market but are bigger too. There are a bunch of flavors but Koka Moka stands out in my mind and despite the name, it contains no caffeine or coffee. Think chocolate. Probar’s latest line, Halo, has flavors to satisfy the sweet tooth. The flavors sound more like ice cream; Rocky Road, S’Mores, Nutty Marshmallow, but won’t melt in your pocket and are certified organic by QAI (Quality Assurance International).
If I’m going to squirt something from foil into my mouth it will only be Barney Butter. Made in an almond-only facility from almonds, evaporated cane juice, palm fruit oil, and sea salt, this is the perfect mid-ride boost or snack if you are allergic to peanuts. Barney Butter also has about half the fat of peanut butter but double the magnesium, vitamin E, and iron.
Basically, there are a bunch of packaged options out there for trail and road food, more so than I’ve listed here, that taste good, supply energy, and agree with my stomach while pedaling. Give’em a try.