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When working with athletes, I often have to get creative when it comes to fueling around work or school schedules. Cyclists and other active individuals require more nutrition throughout the day to ensure their body is getting what it needs. Cyclists need energy to not only support training and recovery, but also for their body to function properly each day.
Early morning training sessions, and navigating jam-packed schedules, all require thinking ahead when it comes to food. It can be easy to miss fueling windows of opportunity if you don’t plan ahead. So finding ways to get nutrition in portable, easy-to-prep ways can be really valuable for someone who is constantly on-the-go, and for those who need to be eating more frequently. Taking advantage of mason jar recipes for meals and snacks can be cost-effective and convenient, while offering a sustainable option.
I’ve put together some of my favorite mason jar recipes, with athletes in mind. These include foods that support energy, are filling, support gut health, and can be great as part of your postride recovery!
Pick what you can tolerate and what gives you the energy you need for your ride. (Remember portions can be adjusted to meet one’s individual needs.) The great thing about mason jars is that they come in a variety of sizes. And each of these recipes contains a mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
One note: If you prefer heating any of the following recipes before consumption, make sure your jar is microwave-safe. The lids on jars contain metal and should not be put into the microwave. Also, the foods and recipes provided here are general recommendations for cyclists and other active individuals. Some of these meals may serve better as snacks for some individuals.
Reach out to a registered dietitian nutritionist for personalized nutrition advice and take time to listen to what your body needs. If you need to give your body more than the recipes below, use these recipes as a base and add more of other foods that help increase satisfaction around training.
Mason Jar Creamy Oats Recipe
This is a great meal for sustaining energy and leaving you feeling full and satisfied. It offers a good source of fats that may help reduce inflammation, and plenty of fiber (4 to 6 grams in the oats depending on serving size, nearly 2 grams from walnuts, and even more if you add berries—at least 3 grams). This supports gut health and regularity when it comes to digestion, and it’s tasty and easy to eat!
½–¾ cup dried oats
¼ cup of chopped walnuts
½ a banana, chopped or ½ cup fresh berries (or top with fresh jam)
1–2 tbsp of almond butter or sunflower seed butter
Add 2 tbsp of chia seeds to the top of the oats
Drizzling of honey or agave
Cook oats in milk or water according to package directions. (I start off with water then add milk to the end of the meal to make it “more creamy.”) Adding soy or cow’s milk can help increase the protein content. Soak the walnuts in hot water for a few minutes before chopping them to make softer and easier to bite into. After cooking them, add fruit, stir in almond butter or sunflower seed butter, add chia seeds, and lastly drizzle with honey or agave on top.
Mason Jar Salad Recipe
The recipe is also packed with fiber from the quinoa or barley (about 5 grams), garbanzo beans (about 4 grams) and provides long-lasting energy. It’s also filled with antioxidants from veggies and leafy greens, as well as veggies that offer vitamins A and C. Due to its high fiber content, eat three hours before training and consume a simple carbohydrate (like fruit slices, diced fruit, a granola bar, or a banana) right before training.
1 cup of spinach or arugula
½–1 cup of cooked quinoa, barley or a mix
½ cup of garbanzo beans
½ cup of sliced cucumbers
¼ cup of radishes
A handful of chopped bell pepper
Add 4 oz of chopped cooked salmon or chicken or tofu
Dressing: Red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper too taste
Mason Jar Yogurt Parfait in a Cup Recipe
This mason jar recipe offers gut-friendly probiotics from yogurt, is rich in fiber (the berries can pack nearly 4 grams) and disease-fighting antioxidants from those berries, too. This dish also offers a good source of protein from the yogurt, granola, and nuts. The nuts and seeds offer extra benefits, including health-boosting fats. This combination of carbs, proteins, and fats help to sustain energy and serve up a satisfying meal or snack. Go for this one if you have no issues tolerating dairy before a ride, or eat it as a recovery snack.
1 cup of yogurt
1 cup of berries
¼ cup of granola
¼ cup of seeds or choice of nuts
Layer the following: Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, or alternative (Greek yogurt is a top choice for its protein content). Add fresh or frozen blackberries or blueberries (blackberries and wild blueberries are shown in the photo). Add granola with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Top with chopped walnuts.
Mason Jar Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats Recipe
Packed with fiber to support digestion and help to increase satisfaction, you get this nutrient from apples (2.5 grams from ½ an apple), raisins (a little more than 1 gram from from ¼ cup) and oats (which have 4 grams). As a registered dietitian, I love recommending combinations of foods that help satisfy hunger prior to training. This recipe is a perfect mix of carbohydrates offering both an easy-to-use quick burst of energy and a longer/sustained source of energy. You can also add yogurt for a creamy texture and protein!
½ cup of dry oats
½ cup of almond or soy beverage
½ cup of apple chopped
¼ cup of raisins
½–1 tsp of ground cinnamon
Yasi Ansari, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.S.D., is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified specialist in sports dietetics based in Los Angeles, California. She’s also the owner of Yasi Ansari Nutrition.
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