Moisture Matters: Why Real Food Is Better than Sports Bars

If you’ve read Dr. Allen Lim’s introduction to Feed Zone Portables, you were treated to a lovely exploration of the human gut to see how liquid and solid foods are digested and absorbed. Lim wanted to show why real food is better for athletes than prepackaged sports nutrition products.

“I’ve worked with very few athletes who could eat pre-packaged foods all day when training or competing. They would often complain that they just couldn’t stomach the bars, blocks, and gels given to them,” says Lim.

“I’ve personally always had a hard time with many pre-packaged sports bars, and many athletes complain that they taste bad and hurt performance. I wanted to find out why the rice cakes I’d been making for them were better than what we could buy premade at the grocery store.”

water bottles and rice cakesTo find out why many of his athletes preferred real food to pre-packaged sports bars, Lim bought every bar, snack, block, and sports nutrition product he could find and analyzed their ingredients. What he found was surprising. Real food and sports nutrition products are pretty similar except in one important way: The packaged products are very dry while real food contains a lot of water.

In this new video from Skratch Labs, Lim demonstrates the difference between sports bars that contain 3-10% water by mass and the rice cakes found in Feed Zone Portables, which contain 60-80% water by mass.

In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.

FZC The Feed Zone Cookbook cover photoFeed zone Portables FZP 96dpi_400pw_strThe Feed Zone Cookbook includes 150 everyday recipes for athletes. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.

Feed Zone Portables, offers portable performance snacks made of real food. Try out 75 all-new rice cakes, two-bite pies, waffles, and other tasty snacks.

Try these cookbooks today! Find The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables are published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books on cycling, triathlon, and running. Please see more VeloPress nutrition books at velopress.com/category/nutrition-and-diet

New Recipe from Feed Zone Portables: Basic Baked Eggs

According to Dr. Allen Lim and chef Biju Thomas, eggs are the peloton’s favorite source of protein. Why? It’s as much about practicality as it is about taste. At home or on the road, eggs are affordable, easy to find, and simple to prepare in a variety of ways.

When Biju is at a race cooking for athletes in the Skratch Labs food truck, he might need to serve up 50 eggs all at once. Muffin tins are a quick, efficient way to cook dozens of eggs to perfection — simultaneously.

Feed Zone Portables Basic Baked Eggs

Basic Baked Eggs from Feed Zone Portables

In this new video from Skratch Labs, chef Biju shows you the simplest baked egg recipe in Feed Zone Portables, which includes a chapter of favorite egg recipes that make excellent portable snacks.

In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.

FZC The Feed Zone Cookbook cover photoFeed zone Portables FZP 96dpi_400pw_strThe Feed Zone Cookbook includes 150 everyday recipes for athletes. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.

Feed Zone Portables, offers portable performance snacks made of real food. Try out 75 all-new rice cakes, two-bite pies, waffles, and other tasty snacks.

Try these cookbooks today! Find The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables are published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books on cycling, triathlon, and running. Please see more VeloPress nutrition books at velopress.com/category/nutrition-and-diet

Order Feed Zone Portables and Get a Free Pound of Skratch Labs Hydration Mix!

Skratch Labs Hydration Mix Sports Drink Lemon Lime 1 pound bag all naturalFeed Zone authors Biju Thomas and Allen Lim are also founders of Skratch Labs, an all-natural sports hydration mix company.

Skratch Labs is making a special offer: order Feed Zone Portables from Skratch Labs and get a free pound of hydration mix!

In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.

FZC The Feed Zone Cookbook cover photoFeed zone Portables FZP 96dpi_400pw_strThe Feed Zone Cookbook includes 150 everyday recipes for athletes. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.

Feed Zone Portables, offers portable performance snacks made of real food. Try out 75 all-new rice cakes, two-bite pies, waffles, and other tasty snacks.

Try these cookbooks today! Find The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables are published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books on cycling, triathlon, and running. Please see more VeloPress nutrition books at velopress.com/category/nutrition-and-diet

Meet the Man Who Feeds the Peloton: Chef Biju Thomas

Bicycling magazine stopped by the team dining room at the Tour of California and ran into Chef Biju Thomas and the Skratch Labs team preparing food for the teams.

Chef Biju Thomas Feed Zone CookbookThis video The Man That Feeds the Peloton shows Biju explaining how he’s not just cooking for riders or individual teams anymore. The Tour of California asked Biju to write up the menu for ALL the teams at the race. The Feed Zone approach is reaching more pros than ever.

Bicycling Biju Thomas man who feeds the peloton

In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.

FZC The Feed Zone Cookbook cover photoFeed zone Portables FZP 96dpi_400pw_strThe Feed Zone Cookbook includes 150 everyday recipes for athletes. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.

Feed Zone Portables, offers portable performance snacks made of real food. Try out 75 all-new rice cakes, two-bite pies, waffles, and other tasty snacks.

Try these cookbooks today! Find The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables are published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books on cycling, triathlon, and running. Please see more VeloPress nutrition books at velopress.com/category/nutrition-and-diet

The Best Portable Snacks for Ultra Runners

Ultra runner Chris D. wrote in to ask “I’ve just started reading the new Feed Zone Portables book, and I’m wondering if there are particular recipes that Allen and Biju have found that work better for ultra distance runners. I’m looking for a good place to start adopting real food instead of gels.”

It’s important for runners to choose their workout snacks carefully because:

  • Running is bouncy, which makes it harder to get food into your mouth.
  • Once food is down the hatch, you want foods that will digest and absorb quickly instead of sloshing around in your stomach and gut.
  • Running dehydrates the body quickly through sweating and breathing and it’s harder for runners to carry a lot of water.
Feed Zone Portables Chocolate & Sea Salt Sticky Bites

Sticky bites are perfect snacks for runners.

Many runners turn to sports nutrition products because they’re easy to carry. But as we explain in the introduction to Feed Zone Portables, highly processed energy products often overload the gut, which dehydrates runners even more, causing bloating and discomfort, lengthening digestion time, and sometimes sending runners for the nearest public restroom. (Or in the case of ultra runners, the nearest tree, boulder, or squirrel.) Runners are especially prone to gut distress for all the reasons above; running is bouncy and it’s difficult to carry enough water to wash down bars and gels.

For example, to properly dilute a 100-calorie bar to the carb concentrations that most people can tolerate, a runner would need to wash it down with 20 ounces of water.

A 100-calorie bar requires 20 ounces of water to properly dilute for digestion.

That’s a lot of water! So it might be easy to stash a few gels in your pocket, but where are you going to put 20 ounces of water? Suddenly, most sports nutrition products aren’t as convenient as they appear.

The real food recipes in Feed Zone Portables have a high water content that makes life a lot easier for runners. Portables snacks are easier on the gut and digest more quickly. Runners should still drink when they eat, but the amount of water needed will be more manageable.

Choosing the best portable snacks for runners is a matter of practicality:

  • Choose real food, which tastes better, digests more easily, and requires less carried water.
  • If you can arrange for an aid station or a personal items bag, the sky’s the limit for your food choices.
  • The portable snacks need to be easy to unpack, chew, and swallow while running. Sticky bites are perfect because they are small, individually wrapped, very moist, delicious, and bite-sized. They’d be our top recommendation for ultra runners. Tightly wrapped rice cakes would work well, too.
  • Baked rice balls, if made to your preferred size, would work well.
  • The baked goods, like waffles, pancakes, griddle cakes, and cookies are strong options, too.

Here are three free recipes from Feed Zone Portables you can try on your next run:

Got a question on eating during exercise? Shoot us a note!

In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.

FZC The Feed Zone Cookbook cover photoFeed zone Portables FZP 96dpi_400pw_strThe Feed Zone Cookbook includes 150 everyday recipes for athletes. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.

Feed Zone Portables, offers portable performance snacks made of real food. Try out 75 all-new rice cakes, two-bite pies, waffles, and other tasty snacks.

Try these cookbooks today! Find The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables are published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books on cycling, triathlon, and running. Please see more VeloPress nutrition books at velopress.com/category/nutrition-and-diet

Feed Zone Portables Sample Recipe: Blueberry & Chocolate Coconut Rice Cakes

This recipe is a pro rider favorite because it features a delicious mix of creamy coconut, sweet dark chocolate, and the bright tang of blueberries.

Feed Zone Portables Blueberry and Chocolate Coconut Rice CakesIn this new video from Skratch Labs, Chef Biju shows how to whip up a whole tray of Blueberry and Chocolate Coconut Rice Cakes before your next big group ride.

Watch the video, then try this recipe yourself!

Download the Blueberry and Chocolate Coconut Rice Cakes recipe from Feed Zone Portables.

In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.

FZC The Feed Zone Cookbook cover photoFeed zone Portables FZP 96dpi_400pw_strThe Feed Zone Cookbook includes 150 everyday recipes for athletes. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.

Feed Zone Portables, offers portable performance snacks made of real food. Try out 75 all-new rice cakes, two-bite pies, waffles, and other tasty snacks.

Try these cookbooks today! Find The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables are published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books on cycling, triathlon, and running. Please see more VeloPress nutrition books at velopress.com/category/nutrition-and-diet

CrossbikeReview on Feed Zone Portables: The Next Best Thing to Having a Personal Cook

Feed Zone Portables is the next best thing to having your own personal cook and soigneur. Even if you’re not fully convinced that real foods are the answer to your on-bike sports nutrition needs, the recipes in Feed Zone Portables are tasty for other meals and snacks especially if you are sick of all the sweet and squishy stuff we usually consume on the bike.” — Crossbikereview.com

Read the full review here.

Feed Zone Portables review Crossbikereview

In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.

FZC The Feed Zone Cookbook cover photoFeed zone Portables FZP 96dpi_400pw_strThe Feed Zone Cookbook includes 150 everyday recipes for athletes. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.

Feed Zone Portables, offers portable performance snacks made of real food. Try out 75 all-new rice cakes, two-bite pies, waffles, and other tasty snacks.

Try these cookbooks today! Find The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables are published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books on cycling, triathlon, and running. Please see more VeloPress nutrition books at velopress.com/category/nutrition-and-diet