Everyone knows that diet plays a huge role in performance, and many cyclists carbo load before a big event.
If you’re thinking about increasing your performance through carbohydrate-rich meals before your next outing, here are 7 amazing high-carb foods that will improve your times, give you plenty of energy and taste amazing.
Muffins as a Pre Race Snack
Starting your morning off with a muffin or two can be a great way to load up on carbs.
On average, a typical muffin has between 45 – 65g of carbs split fairly evenly between simple sugars and complex carbohydrates.
As it gets closer to race time you’ll want to pick sweeter muffins, since your body won’t have time to process and store complex carbs from whole wheat.
Pancakes & Waffles for a High Carb Breakfast
Another wonderful breakfast food for carbo loading is pancakes and waffles.
You can expect to pack in about 25g of carbs apiece, making them a great meal choice the day before competition.
You can maximize your body’s ability to store glycogen by loading up on carbs like this for three days before you’re set to ride.
If you’re going to add syrup to your pancakes or waffles keep in mind that you’ll be getting a big boost of extra carbs, but they’ll all be in the form of simple sugars.
You can try reaching for a substitution if you’re going for a long-distance ride, and something like peanut or almond butter adds a big kick of protein and fat while minimizing the amount of extra simple sugars.
At about 20g of carbs per slice, sandwich bread is a great source of carbs for competition.
Depending on whether you’re going the distance or riding in a short sprint, you’ll be able to easily pick between whole wheat and white bread. Whole wheat takes longer for your body to break down, so it’s a great source of energy over the long haul.
Rice is a great alternative to potatoes, wheat and oats when it comes to finding a source for carbs.
It’s a good choice for both short and long distances, since the mixture of complex and simple sugars inside of most types of rice is fairly equal. Each cup of cooked rice has 35g of carbohydrates.
Fried rice is a good pick for an all-around nutritious meal, with plenty of protein and a bit of fat in each serving.
Homemade fried rice with lean proteins are obviously going to be a bit healthier than takeaway, but it’s hard to beat the convenience
When it comes to carbo loading, pasta is the old standby.
Every cup of cooked pasta averages about 35g of carbs, and depending on whether you choose whole wheat or white pastas you have complete control over how fast the carbs hit your bloodstream.
There are so many pasta dishes to choose from that it’s impossible to cover them all, but for the most part they all offer a pretty similar carbohydrate profile.
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to their favorite dish, but most dishes either come with tomato sauce or cream-based sauces. Tomato sauces have more carbohydrates, in the form of simple sugars, while cream-based sauce helps to round out your macronutrients and offer extra protein and fat.
This classic dish is a great way to get your carbs in before you compete.
The mashed potato topping gives you about 35g of carbs per serving, but mashed sweet potatoes are a healthier substitution. Mashed sweet potatoes pack in nearly 60g of carbs per serving, with 20g coming from simple sugars and the rest from complex carbohydrates.
Other veggies in shepherd’s pie will add a few more carbs, especially peas and carrots, but the bulk of them will come from the mashed potatoes.
If you’re looking for a healthy, delicious twist on carbo loading you should give Pad Thai a try.
This Thai noodle dish is usually packed with lean protein and vegetables, healthy fats like sesame oil and 50g of carbohydrates per cup.
Unlike Italian-style wheat noodles, the rice noodles found in Pad Thai are made from starch. That means that, although they lack protein, rice noodles are full of simple and complex carbohydrates.
Give this meal a try whether you’re going on a short ride or a marathon trip and you’re sure to see the benefits of loading up on carbohydrates.