Nutrition: Fuel to go

The humble sandwich makes perfect cycling food

Need an easy-to-eat meal that’s tasty and nutritious? Don’t overlook the humble sandwich. While there is a wide range on offer in delis and supermarkets it can be hard to be sure they will fuel your ride properly, so to make sure your selection is as healthy as possible it’s better to make your own. Here are some options for simple, delicious butties for refuelling on the go…

Pre-ride sarnie: Banana, almond butter and date bagel

Simple and delicious, this is a combination of fast-releasing carbs, protein and mineral-rich bananas. It’s a great way to kick-start your ride and is delicious toasted too.

  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 2 dates, finely chopped
  • 2tsp almond butter or other nut butter
  • 1 wholemeal or seeded bagel

Mix together the banana and dates. Spread the nut butter over both halves of the bagel then top with the banana.

  • Calories: 233Kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 38.6g
  • Protein: 6.5g
  • Total fat: 6.9g (of which saturates 1.6g)

Pack & go: Roast turkey, lettuce and tomato wrap

Turkey is a fantastic lean protein source rich in B vitamins essential for energy production.

  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • Splash of lime juice & chili sauce or Tabasco
  • 1tbsp light mayonnaise or plain yoghurt
  • Handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 2 thin slices of lean roasted turkey
  • 1 wholemeal or seeded tortilla wrap

Mix together the tomato, chili sauce and lime juice. Season to taste. As a variation, use mango chutney instead. Spread the yoghurt or mayo over the tortilla, top with the spinach. Spoon over the tomato and top with the turkey slices.

  • Calories: 198Kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 32.4g
  • Protein: 15.4g
  • Total fat: 1.7g (of which saturates 0.6g)

Post ride sarnie: Cajun salmon bap

Salmon is a great source of omega 3 fats to help control inflammation, plus protein for muscle recovery.

  • 1tsp Cajun seasoning & 2tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1 small salmon fillet
  • ½ small avocado, chopped
  • 2-3 slices each red onion and tomato
  • 1 wholemeal bap

Mix seasoning with 1tbsp of yoghurt. Spread over the salmon fillet and marinate for 15 minutes. Then grill the salmon for three to four minutes each side. Mix the avocado with the remaining yoghurt and spread over one side of the bap. Top with the salmon, onion and tomato.

  • Calories: 474Kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 31.2g
  • Protein: 33.4g
  • Total fat: 24.9g (of which saturates 5.2g)

How to build the perfect sandwich

  • Pick wholemeal bread with plenty of fibre – look for 3-5g per serving.
  • Vary your choice of bread – try sourdough, rye, seeded baps, tortillas, wholemeal pittas and pumpernickel.
  • Go for a light spread or dressing – substitute plain yoghurt for mayo, mix in mustard or use houmous, mashed avocado, salsa and nut butters.
  • Go for lean meats without additives and fillers and trim off any visible fat.
  • Opt for lower fat cheeses – Edam, feta, goat’s cheese, mozzarella and cottage cheese are still great protein sources.
  • Pile on the salad for loads of antioxidants without excess calories and fat. Instead of lettuce choose dark greens like baby spinach, watercress or rocket for additional iron and folic acid.
  • Avoid bacon and salty pepperoni – opt for energising turkey or chicken.
  • Vary your fillings – prawns are a good source of immune boosting zinc, eggs are rich in protein and bean pates, houmous and guacamole are all healthy veggie options.

High street options

Choose carefully if you buy ready-made sandwiches: reports state supposedly healthy pre-packaged sandwiches can contain high amounts of salt, saturated fat and even sugar.

When choosing one look at the ingredients list – it should be short without added fillers,sugars and starches that are often used to bulk up ingredients.

Avoid those drenched in mayonnaise or stuffed with hard cheese – this will increase the saturated fat and salt content. If choosing meat look for 100 percent lean meat (not butter roasted).

If you’re looking for a sandwich as a snack, aim for it to contain about a sixth of your daily calorie needs.

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