Every cyclist needs power snacks on the road if they plan to ride for longer than an hour or two at a time. Whether you specialise in road cycling, mountain biking or touring, it’s important to maintain energy levels during every ride. Sugar-bonking to tears is not cool or clever! Lars has has witnessed many an episode from me in the past. As long as I get fed at regular intervals, we can avoid the pathetic whimpers caused by low blood sugar.
Before our bicycle tour began I tried out a few recipes using chia seeds, which are readily available throughout Latin America (and a quarter of the price compared to the UK).
Why Eat Chia Seeds?
I first heard about chia seeds and their special powers in the book ‘Born To Run’ written by Christopher McDougall. It’s an interesting read even if you are not a runner! Christopher McDougall is a journalist who wanted to understand more about running and ultra running. The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Mountains run for hundreds of miles at a time in old leather sandals. Their technique to hunting is to run their prey to exhaustion! Their aztec diet which includes this energy releasing seed, is a huge factor contributing to their sustained fitness.
I won’t go into the health benefits of chia seeds too much, because there is already a massive amount of info on the web. Anyway, here is a tempting word blast that is sure to entice you to add chia seeds to your granola in the morning!
Omega 3, fiber, antioxidants, protein, minerals, digestion, joints, regulates blood sugar, substitution for eggs and butter (for super healthy/ vegan baking).
Jenny’s Chia Power Snacks
Cacao Chia Wheel Spinners
I found this recipe for Raw Chocolate Chia Walnut Energy Bars and had to try it out. It’s really easy as long as you have a blender. Even if you are not going out for a ride, add some ice cream and a cup of coffee. These little squares are muy rico!
This is essentially a chia-fied version of the classic flapjack!
Add what you want. I used coconut oil instead of butter to toast the oats, then I added a big glug of Agave syrup instead of sugar. I piled in the chia seeds, raisins, walnuts, apricots, peanuts and orange zest then put the ingredients in a greased pan and popped it in the oven for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool in the fridge overnight.
I am what you would call an eye balling cook so if that is not your style then use Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe at River Cottage.
Jenbell’s Jelly (Jello)
Um, so this one was a bit improvised. Buy some jelly (or Jello in American speak) that you use for kids parties and add chia seeds to the mix, simple as that. I figured with all the sugar in the jelly and the goodness from the chia seeds it would make the ultimate power shot! If I wasn’t riding in Mexico where the heat of the day turns it to weird fizzy grossness, I would definitely try this again. It is quite refreshing when cold, but probably best to be avoided in tropical temperatures!