1)Blueberries - In case you did not know it blueberries are great for all sorts of things, including brain function.
2)Bananas - While bananas have been staples of mountain biker's diets for many years based on the belief that the potassium in them would help prevent cramps, they also provide a good base ingredient for a protein shake. Having them on hand makes mixing up a quick, healthy snack easy.
3) Whey protein - While whey protein can obviously be used in protein shakes, you can also use it to "balance out" a carb heavy feeding. One of the keys to sound performance nutrition is to eat some lean protein with each feeding. By throwing some whey protein on some Kashi cereal or drinking a serving of it with a serving of whole grain pasta you can turn carb heavy meals into more nutritionally balanced feedings.
4) Kefir - This super food is kind of like yogurt on steroids. Kefir has more of all of the things that make yogurt great. The 10 active cultures in it are great for the digestive system and it tastes great as well. You can find kefir in most health food stores and it is showing up in more supermarkets as well.
5) Fish Oil - You need at least 6 grams of fish oil per day for optimal function. Your body uses the essential fatty acids in fish oil to maintain hormones, the nervous system, hair, skin, joints and much more. If you don't eat fish each day then you need to supplement.
6) Orange Juice - OJ is great for pre- and post workout/ ride drinks. Sure, you can spend a lot of money on fancy recovery drinks but I'm not sure that you will get much more out of them than you will a cup of orange juice and a half scoop of whey protein.
This gives you roughly 30 grams of carbs, 15 grams of protein and bunch of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Get the pulp free kinds so it isn't sitting on your stomach while you ride or train.
7) Ground Flax Seed -
While a lot of people have heard of and use flax seed oil, few people make use of ground flax seeds. Ground flax seeds have some unique properties that make it more valuable than the oil in my opinion. For starters it is a great source of fiber, something we all could use more of. Second, it binds to estrogenic compounds in the body and inhibits them from screwing with our hormonal system. FYI, estrogenic compounds are environmental things we ingest that mimic the female hormone estrogen in our body. Anything that helps you poop better and keeps your female hormone levels in check is pretty good in my book.
8) Avocados -
Avos taste great and provide a lot of good fats for us. For those of us who have trouble maintaining weight when we ride a lot avocados provide a calorie and nutrient dense food that can help us keep our calorie levels high. For those looking to shed a few pounds you don't want to eat a ton of avocados but eating some will provide you with the good fats your body needs to keep its metabolism high.
9) Quinoa -
This is a "super grain" of sorts. It has a low glycemic index so it won't screw with blood sugar levels like refined grain products will. Since a lot of people have allergies to wheat and gluten it provides a good carb source free of those two elements. It is also the only grain in the world with a complete protein, meaning that all of the essential amino acids are in there as well. Add it all up and it should be a staple food in any mountain biker's kitchen.
10) Lean Red Meat -
Yeah baby, I said it - red meat rocks! Seriously, we have canine teeth for a reason and that reason is because we were meant to eat meat. Lean red meat will provide you with protein as well as some CLA (a unique and powerful fatty acid) and some saturated fat (which is not as bad as you may think and is in fact needed by the body). Plus it just tastes good. What says summer more than a wrapping up a sweet ride with some burgers or steaks on the barbecue?
The trick to making good nutritional decisions is to make sure that you have good stuff on hand so that when you get hungry you can just reach for something good rather than always reaching for the ice cream. Keeping these foods on hand will help you do just that.