As a sports dietitian and elite cyclist, I don’t just counsel others on how to eat healthfully, I have to fuel my own body as well. This practice-what-I-preach approach to my profession is what piques people’s curiosity about what I eat day to day. Of course, training hard on the bike and in the gym means you have to take some of my intake with a grain of salt.
Here is an example of what I ate on an average Tuesday with an easy training ride.
MY GOALS FOR THE DAY
I’m not overly strict about my food choices, but I aim to eat with intention, meaning I want to think about what I’m eating and consume foods that will affect my body, mood and training in a positive way. This day comes just after a three-week block of hard racing and a week before another intense six days of cycling racing. My goal for the day is to consume more protein for recovery, fewer simple sugars, add more fiber and complex carbohydrates since I’m trying to repair and recover my muscles — all of this is different from a day when I’m trying to fuel a long, hard performance.
Coffee, eggs, almond butter, bread, banana and small glass of OJ
I live my life by the hashtag #butfirstcoffee, and when I wake up that’s the first thing I want! While I love a good espresso or French press, today I opted for Bizzy Cold Brew with a splash of milked almonds, vanilla and cinnamon — basically a vanilla latte. Eating a full breakfast in the morning helps me feel satisfied and energized for the rest of the day, so I picked a balance of macronutrients: eggs for protein, almond butter for fat, bread and banana for carbohydrate. A small glass of fresh OJ provided a boost of vitamins and energy before my training ride.
38-mile easy spin on my road bike
With photo stops (easy days are for ‘gramming!) and traffic lights, the whole effort took about 2.5 hours. Midway I fueled with a latte and a plant-based protein PowerBar. Also, I consumed a 16-ounce water bottle during the ride.
Spicy ahi and salmon poke might be my favorite thing to eat. Today, I paired the omega-rich fish with sprouted brown rice, cucumber, avocado, tomato and radish sprouts for a quick and colorful macro bowl. La Croix sparkling flavored waters are a go-to of mine to stay hydrated without adding junky liquid calories.
I indulged in a margarita on the rocks. When I’m not racing, I do enjoy a cocktail (or red wine) or two. If I do drink alcohol, I try to drink it early in the day (Think: happy hour) so it doesn’t affect my sleep.
Grain bowl with steak
I’m just coming off three weeks of racing and my body is craving a break from the simple sugars and sport foods I used to boost energy and fuel two stage races worth of performances. A big bowl of organic salad greens, vegetables, berries, feta, sprouted brown rice and grass-fed flank steak with a French vinaigrette dressing takes care of my cravings and helps my body get back to more whole, fiber-rich foods. I ate dinner around 6 p.m. to give my body ample time to digest before going to bed.
Sometimes I have a snack of chocolate or a protein shake before bed, but tonight I was very full from my complex-carb dinner salad and just sipped some filtered water before getting to sleep.
READ MORE > NUTRITION “MISTAKES” ATHLETES SHOULD MAKE
While my diet varies slightly each day, mostly based on what my training is like that day, having a consistent base is a great way to plan and perfect your eating routine. It’s typical for me to swap between granola bowls or eggs and toast for breakfast and eat complex, colorful grain bowls or salads for lunch and dinner.
Looking back on this day, there are a couple improvements I could have made. Cutting out the margarita is an easy way to boost the quality of my daily diet. Another simple boost would be choosing an unsweetened cappuccino over a vanilla latte, and would have helped reduce my simple sugars for the day. Besides that, I did a pretty good job giving my body complexity, color, nutrient density and an appropriate number of calories for the day’s needs.