Do me a favor…pick up one of your go-to energy bars for bike rides or other endurance activities and read the ingredient label. With a few exceptions, I can guess three things about your bar (1) it contains some ingredients that you cannot pronounce or are unfamiliar with (2) it contains some sort of ingredient derived from soy or corn (3) it gives you a stomach ache. When we spend so much time benefitting our health on our bikes, why do we rely on consuming processed food for energy?
The good news is that there is are plenty of whole food alternative options to processed bars. One of my recent favorites is Allen Lim’s rice cakes. If you haven’t heard of Allen Lim yet, he is becoming quite the celebrity in the cycling world after co-authoring The Feed Zone Cookbook.
Lim is also co-founder of Skratch Labs, providing an exercise hydration mix based on science and real ingredients that optimize performance. Allen’s rice cakes combine whole grain rice with protein and sodium for sustained energy that won’t leave you picking your teeth. They are an excellent savory alternative to the multitude of sugar laden packaged bars, gus, and blocks on the market.
Savory Rice Cakes (Makes 12)
Adapted from Allen Lim’s Rice Cakes in The Feed Zone Cookbook
- 2 cups sweet brown rice*
- 4 cups water
- 1 8 oz. package veggie, turkey, or pork bacon
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 1-2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste (optional)
*I use sweet brown rice from the bulk section of my local natural grocery store, but a glutinous white or brown sushi rice would also work. Be sure to adjust the water:rice ratio according to the rice you buy.
- Cook rice according to directions in a rice cooker or on the stove.
- Meanwhile, chop bacon and fry in a medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat until crispy. Drain and set aside on a paper towel.
- Roughly beat eggs with a fork in a small bowl. Add to same saucepan used to cook bacon. Scramble on medium-high heat until well done.
- Add bacon, eggs, liquid aminos, and optional parmesan cheese and/or maple syrup to cooked rice. Stir to combine.
- Using the back of a spoon, press rice mixture into a square baking dish so that they are just over 1” thick. Cover with foil and refrigerate until cool.
- Cut into 12 equal sized cakes and individually wrap.
The authors of The Feed Zone Cookbook say not to freeze extra rice cakes unless they are vacuum sealed, because they take on a mushy consistency. However, I haven’t experienced that, and have instead found that the paper wrapped rice cakes freeze and defrost nicely in the back pocket of my bike jersey. But, freeze at your own risk!
Make a batch of Allen’s rice cakes before your next long weekend ride and bring some to share with your friends! And if you are looking for more healthy and simple recipes for pre, during, and post rides be sure to check out The Feed Zone Cookbook. Every recipe I have made from the book has been easy to make, delicious, and packed full of healthy calories to either fuel my ride or help me recover.
What packaged alternative do you bring on rides?
By Lauren Anderson – Boulder, CO