If you ever feel a little peckish while pedaling, there’s no harm in bringing a snack along for your ride. But what to pack? Bag of potato chips, ice cream sundae, that leftover pasta carbonara? Probably not. When you’re out for a ride, you want something that’s reasonably healthy, easy to transport, and easy to eat with your hands. We’ve got just the thing. Check out our list of snack ideas to get you going on your next cycling excursion.
NOTE: Always store refrigerated items (especially meat and dairy) in a cooler pack.
But First, Water
Ok, ok, we know – water is not a snack. But it is important. Even if it’s cool out and especially when it’s hot, it’s vital to stay hydrated on your ride. Drinking water (or a sports drink) before, during, and after riding helps you stay energized and feeling your best. If your bike didn’t come with a water bottle, it’s quick and easy to mount one on the bike frame.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
The easiest snacks in the world are also some of the healthiest: fresh fruits and vegetables. Whole fruits like apples and oranges are the easiest of the easy, as they require virtually no prep or packaging. However, if you happen to have a cooler pack of some sort, cut fruit (like pineapple or melon) and vegetables (carrots, pea pods, etc.) are a great choice as well.
TIP: If you want to make your snack a little more substantial, try pairing apples with peanut butter or veggies with hummus.
Who doesn’t love a good trail mix? It’s a simple snack that’s jam-packed with tons of vitamins, protein, and other important nutrients. Plus, it’s customizable. Just toss handfuls of your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit into a container, and you’re ready to go. If you want to make it a little more interesting, you could even add pretzels, popcorn, or – dare we say it – M&Ms.
TIP: If you add M&Ms, chocolate chips, or other ingredients that might melt, consider putting your trail mix in a cooler pack.
There are a thousand and one different granola bars out there, and they make really easy grab-and-go snacks. But did you know you can make your own? It’s true! Making your own granola bars is fun, fast, and open to endless variation.
Check it out:
DIY Granola Bar
1 cup nut butter (peanut, almond, or similar)
1 cup honey
2 cups granola
2 cups puffed rice cereal
2 cups dried fruits and nuts of your choice
Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Stir nut butter and honey in a saucepan over medium heat, just so they melt together. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add honey mixture and stir well. Pour the granola bar mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for about an hour. Once set, you can take them out and cut them into bars.
Jerky and Charcuterie
Jerky is an excellent snack for biking. It’s tasty, protein-rich, lightweight, and easy to transport. However, if you’re going for a fancier picnic vibe, a little charcuterie is fabulous too. Just make sure to cut it up before you go.
Gourmets on the Go
Want to get really fancy with it? If you enjoy cooking and baking, there are all sorts of fun snacks you could create for your next bike ride. Sweet or savory hand pies, for example. Perhaps some muffins, croissants, or rolls with fruit and nuts mixed into the dough? Or really go for broke and whip up some pate de fruit (the haute cuisine equivalent of gummy fruit snacks). And then, of course, there’s the ever-versatile pinwheel. Here are a few of our favorite variations:
Autumn Apple Filling
1 – 2 Courtland, Gala, or similar apples
1 medium yellow onion
1 -2 tablespoons butter
Herbs de Provence, to taste
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Dice apple and onion. Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add apple and onion, cook until soft. Add herbs. Set aside to cool. Mix in shredded cheese.
Black and Bleu Filling
Bleu cheese crumbles
Sweet Sophistication Filling
Goat cheese crumbles
Slivered almonds, toasted
Dried tarragon, to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Thaw a sheet of puff pastry until workable (let it sit in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours). Spread filling over pastry; jam first if called for. Roll puff pastry into a log, creating a spiral. Chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, cut into rounds and place the rounds on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. For storage, keep in the refrigerator or a cooler pack when on the go.
Once you have your snacks picked out, you’re going to need a way to carry them on your ride. If you’re just bringing snacks for yourself and they don’t need an ice pack, a top tube bag will probably do the trick. If you have something in a cooler bag, or you’re bringing snacks along for others, then a pannier bag may be a better fit. And then of course, if you’re hauling a whole picnic or carrying snacks for a crowd, a rear rack or trailer can accommodate your movable feast. Again, just make sure you have an ice pack for anything that may need it.
TIP: To wrap the snacks themselves, consider reusable containers and beeswax wraps. They’re fantastic eco-friendly options that you only have to buy once.
Don’t know about you, but we’ve worked up quite an appetite just thinking about all these delectable cycling snacks! We hope we inspired you to try out some of our tasty suggestions on your next ride. Bon Appetit!