Regular visitors know how much I love rice for training and racing. Recently, my sister organized a charity bike ride in the beautiful wine country of Sonoma County, California. We had nearly 150 riders to feed on courses ranging from 15 to 65 miles, including lunch at the finish.
Rather than only the usual packaged, processed fare, we wanted to have some real food available to riders as well. The lunch was a fabulous homemade roasted tomato sauce with roasted veggies topping polenta instead of the ubiquitous pasta. Bonus points for being gluten free as well? For the long course riders, we made up three kinds of rice cakes.
And the reaction? People loved them since they were REAL FOOD! If anyone has been lagging on trying these, don’t hesitate any longer. They’re great for any situation where you need bite size, portable food: long bike rides, long hikes, skiing, road trips, etc. They pack and store well.
A Couple of Caveats:
- Beans: They add some fiber, although I kept the ratio firmly in favor of the rice. In my tests, I have found they are tasty and have a great texture, with no digestive distress. Depending on personal tolerance and how you want to use them, you may want to vary the ratio.
- Spices: They add flavor, but go easy if you’ll be training hard to see how you respond. Everyone is different, so taste the mix as you go until it suits you. The same goes for salt. We had warm weather, so I made them saltier than usual for me.
- Calories: If you are tracking how many calories per hour you consume because you know what works, or you’re experimenting to find out, real food is trickier than processed food. It’s easy to read labels on sports drinks and gels and do the math.
How to Calculate Calories for Rice Based Portable Food:
The best way is to get an inexpensive digital kitchen scale and weigh your food. Weight, not volume, is the way nutrition data is calculated, so this will be more accurate. I don’t recommend weighing your food obsessively, but on occasion weighing and calculating can be useful. Once you get a feel for how many calories are in rice cakes or rice balls of various sizes, you won’t need to weigh them, just crank them out.
Cooked White Rice and Beans:
Approximately 1.25 calories per gram
120 calories per 1/2 cup
What you’ll notice when you set up your food for a long day is that engineered food is a lot more calorie dense, and real food takes up more space.
The Top Three Recipes:
Ginger Sesame (with azuki beans)
Chili Lime (with black beans)
Curry (with red lentils)
Stay tuned for the recipes!