When the days are dark, the weather is grim and summer still seems a long, long time away, sometimes all you want to do is curl up under a duvet and comfort eat. And actually, that’s not such a bad idea, so long as you choose food that’s nutritious as well as satisfying.
We’ve partnered with Olive Magazine (also published by Immediate Media) to bring you the very best recipes for cyclists. All the recipes are easy to follow and take you through step-by-step how to create everything from homemade nutrition products to tasty and hearty post-ride meals.
Many food types will give you that warm and filling sensation that we crave at certain times of year, and of course eating a good variety of fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein and fibre will help ensure you are well fuelled and getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need. However, certain foodstuffs can be extra-helpful for boosting mood and well-being.
Dark leafy green vegetables such as kale have been shown to help reduce the symptoms of depression, as shown in a study by Harvard University. These vegetables contain the B-vitamin folate, which is used in the synthesis of chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
Oily fish such as mackerel and salmon have high levels of essential fatty acids, including omega 3. While researchers haven’t yet conclusively established a link between these oils and mood, these oils are a beneficial addition to the diet and also an excellent source of protein.
And of course we have to mention chocolate! Quality chocolate contains flavonoids, a vasodilator, which increases the diameter of arteries and allows blood to flow more easily, with it’s efficacy shown in a number of studies.
To get the most benefit and reduce the amount of fat and sugar you’re ingesting, you’re best going for dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, made with cocoa butter rather than milk solids.
Sweet potato jackets with smoked mackerel and dill yogurt
Smoked haddock and spinach rye toasts
Sriracha and lime salmon with avocado cream
Watercress and avocado salad with pink grapefruit and Campari vinaigrette — vegetarian
Crispy chickpea and kale Caesar salad — vegetarian with substitutions
Kale and sweet potato hash — vegetarian, vegan with substitutions
Dark chocolate fondant with liquid toffee centre — vegetarian
What kind of comfort food list would this be without some chocolate!
Now, while we agree that if you want to minimise the negative aspects of chocolate indulgence, then opting for a couple of squares of the good stuff on its own is your best bet — though we also love it melted and drizzled over fruit, such as mango cubes or strawberries.
But health be damned! This dark chocolate fondant is good for the soul and so long as you don’t plan on eating it every day, a little indulgence now and again does you good. So whip up this rich, sweet dessert with plenty of chocolate, cocoa and butter, relax, and enjoy.
Check out our other tasty recipes and get yourself fuelled for cycling from sunrise to sunset: