At Colavita, we value good food and an active lifestyle, which means consuming meals that are both delicious and nutritionally balanced to help power you through your day and your workout. We asked the ladies of the Colavita/Cavailere d’Oro cycling team to tell us what they eat on the average day to keep up with their active lifestyles to portray how different each person’s approach to healthy eating can be.
How many times a day do you eat on average
Tina Pic: I usually eat 4 times a day.
Sara Tussey: I eat 4 times a day on average, not including what I eat during a ride.
Brittany Parffrey: It changes throughout the year depending on my training demands and caloric expenditure, but on average I eat 3 to 5 times a day.
Christina Gokey-Smith: About 2 to 3 times a day. Occasionally I’ll cut my caloric intake or do intermittent fasting. Just to do a reset since I love to eat!
Kristen Lasasso: Six times a day.
Shannon Koch: Typically, I eat between 4 to 5 times a day.
How do you start your day? Are you a breakfast person? If so, what’s on the menu?
TP: Yes, if I don’t eat breakfast I will fade quickly. Usually scrambled eggs with tomatoes and arugula and cheese. Also bread with Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.
ST: I start my typical day with coffee! And I always eat breakfast. My go-to breakfast before a ride is muesli or oatmeal with peanut butter and fresh fruit, such as banana and berries mixed in. I then top it off with chia seeds. On the weekend I may cook up some eggs for an avocado toast breakfast or blueberry pancakes. Yum!
BP: I am a big fan of breakfast. I even will do breakfast for dinner once in a while. Right now, I am lucky that I can eat and cook whenever I feel appropriate, so my typical morning starts with French press coffee while I work on my computer. My training is done in the evenings, so my meal intake is pushed back to accommodate it. This ensures I'm fueled for the ride and can take in the proper nutrition after it for recovery. With that said, my breakfast is closer to a traditional lunch time, and the menu is a rotation of avocado & egg toast, protein waffles, and oatmeal with caloric ranges between 300-600 kcal. Having options like this in rotation makes it really easy to pick the appropriate meal for the day's specific demands.
CGS: I love breakfast! Depending on my week I eat 1 to 2 eggs, but I always have greens and mushrooms for all of the health benefits. My greens of choice are spinach, chard, kale, and I like lion’s mane mushrooms (especially in the morning- it’s good for your brain). But the key here is I use a lot of Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lots of seasoning and spices, such as turmeric, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme and cardamom. I’ll also have a grain free-gluten-free toast with some avocado on it. Sometimes I’ll add bacon too. If I don’t feel like having eggs, I’ll whip up a dairy-free, gluten-free pancake recipe and top it off with pecan butter and a bit of maple syrup.
KL: I ride in the morning so for a pre-training snack I’ll usually eat a banana with almond butter. Post-training I have a bowl of oats with nuts and fruit, or multigrain toast with almond butter or tahini and fruit.
SK: I love breakfast. Most times I’ll have some granola with yogurt and a mix of berries. Sometimes I’ll throw in a few over-medium eggs.
Snacks or no snacks? If yes, what do you munch on? If not, why?
TP: If I get hungry usually a Honey Stinger bar. Depends on when I ride and if I’ve eaten close to when it’s time to hop on the bike.
ST: I typically don't have a mid-morning snack between breakfast and lunch. I usually have a good breakfast, and if I'm on the bike I will eat accordingly to the type of ride I am doing to stay fueled. First Endurance and Honey Stinger keep our team fueled with top notch products on the bike. If I am at work, I may grab a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts if I am hungry mid-morning. I try to never go hungry.
BP: Snacks are also my jam! I like to snack before my evening ride and typically favor some carbohydrates here. Snacks are also something that you can find in my pockets on a bike ride too because gels are not my thing. I'd much rather have a healthy snack on hand than an ambient gel.
CGS: After a ride, sometimes I snack on grain-free chips or fruit such as an apple, or banana, but typically I don’t snack.
KL: I keep it simple with plain yogurt with fruit and nuts.
SK: I do like the occasional snack. Sometimes it’s just a biscotti with my coffee, other times it’s some cashews, pistachios, almonds and cheese.
Lunch time! Do you eat on a schedule? Explain why or why not. What do you typically eat midday?
TP: Usually maybe a tuna salad or sandwich. Lots of times I’m on the bike though and eat bars, bananas, or fig newtons.
ST: I almost always have lunch, unless a long ride or race changes my schedule. If I am working, I come home to eat during our lunch break. If I am training, I eat shortly after my training session. I typically have a large bowl of greens topped with some sort of grain like rice or quinoa and beans (I eat a lot of beans!). I like to include other veggies such as broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and some sort of topping like avocado, pumpkin seeds, or hemp seeds.
BP: Most days my breakfast is sufficient enough to hold me over until I have a snack before riding. On the days I have a light breakfast I will then have a traditional lunch and then scrap the pre-ride snack.
CGS: Sometimes I’ll try to do without lunch. If I can’t, I go with pecan butter and jam on a tortilla. For a bigger lunch (usually after an intense ride) I’ll go with a salmon sandwich on grain-free/gluten-free bread with some chips, and avocado. I am usually active around this time which is why I don’t eat lunch usually. I’ll just eat a bar on the bike, if needed.
KL: I eat all my meals on a schedule as my body is finely tuned, so I’m always hungry at the same times during the day. I typically enjoy simple meals packed with veggies and protein.
SK: I usually eat around the same time every day, although if I’m having a hectic day at work I can end up eating later than I like. My meal options change from day to day. We love to order Thai food or Greek food at work which are a couple of my favorite weekday meals. Otherwise I’ll have something lighter if it’s a recovery or easy workout kind of day.
TP: After a ride I then do a recovery shake when I get home with First Endurance Ultragen. My latest has been a mango shake with vanilla Ultragen, turmeric creamer and ginger.
ST: I typically have an afternoon snack. If I am at work, it's something easy like fruit or nuts. If I am at home, I may have some hummus and veggies or crackers. Or my absolute favorite is guacamole and tortilla chips.
BP: Post ride, pre-dinner recovery intake falls into this category. I prefer this snack to be protein and carbohydrate focused unless dinner is carbohydrate heavy. Snacks in general really help me fine tune the days macros, so if my larger meals for the day did not have enough (or too much) fat, carbs, or protein then I could use my day's snacks to better complement the meals. I feel it is very important to be flexible within any structure in order to make the process sustainable, therefore I have lots of flexible variables built into my day.
CGS: No snacks in between lunch and dinner for me!
KL: Simplicity is best. Just fruit and nuts.
SK: Afternoon snack, yes, if I’m working out again that evening.
It’s time for dinner. Is this generally your heaviest meal? What do you make sure to include on your plate? Also, how do you portion control?
TP: I tend to not be a big overeater. I just can’t get more in, so I stop. I like to make sure there are some good carbs and protein and some good fats like avocado. I’ve been doing the Hello Fresh thing this summer and it’s been great. I have to pick the higher-calorie meals though or it won’t be enough.
ST: I typically eat a nice-sized dinner. Often my dinner looks similar to my lunch, I may just change out the grain or veggies for variety. I always try to eat plenty of greens, veggies, and beans or tofu/tempeh. I also love potatoes of any variety. I don't portion control or count calories. I find by eating predominately plant-based and limiting processed foods, I do well to just eat until I am full.
BP: Dinner is my highest caloric intake especially considering how close in time proximity it is to my post-ride recovery snack. Picking healthy clean foods has always been a priority of mine, and a simple way to think of it is to have a colorful plate. This really helps me make the ratio of veggies high. Portion control has taken me a little longer to fine tune, however. This year I started using meal prep services like Hello Fresh which has not only helped me in a time-crunch but it taught me how to cook and what a proper portion should look like. More importantly it taught me how a proper proportion should feel. I seriously feel like I am eating more now but am down 6 lbs from last year with no changes in training, just eating right.
CGS: I just like to do a lot of veggies and any kind of clean protein, such as grass-fed meat or wild-caught fish. Any kind of vegetables, along with lots of greens and mushrooms, prepared with good olive oil and spices make for good sides. I am leaning towards more protein these days, although sometimes my body craves carbs. When it does I’ll do sweet potatoes or white rice. Portion control is something I have to work on. I’ve been trying to do more mindful eating and slowing down as I eat, which has been helpful.
KL: I eat the most at dinner, so that I can be well-fueled for my early AM training session. I always eat a grain (quinoa, rice, farro or pasta) with a protein (chicken, pork, beef or fish), and of course lots of veggies.
SK: Dinner can be heavier or lighter depending on if I have a hard workout in the morning. I always like to throw in some greens, whether it’s spinach or kale, but I definitely try to get my roughage. To portion control, I’ll split up whatever I cook into multiple meals to take with me to work for lunch or save for the following evening.
Last question, what advice do you have for folks picking up a bike for the first time in a long time and getting into cycling/racing? What advice do you have to stay motivated?
TP: I think the riding is so fun. Be patient with yourself because every day is not always easy, but with time you’ll get better and better.
ST: My advice to someone just getting into cycling or racing is to always remember why you like to ride. It's different for everyone, but if you have YOUR reason, it's easy to always come back to that for motivation. Always enjoy the ride!
BP: Cycling is a great life-long sport that can take you to new places and even give you a new perspective on the same places. My advice is to get a bike fit and make the most of your time on the bike. Just like my lesson in portion control, getting fit for a bike will make you aware of how you're supposed to feel on a bike and can save you many hours of fiddling with adjustments or worse, experiencing pain that prevents you from riding. If your goal is competition, fitness, or just wanting to improve, a little structure goes a long way, so following a training plan or hiring a coach can make the most of your time on the bike. This structure helps with motivation as well because every day is part of a bigger picture regardless of races being cancelled or group rides being inaccessible, etc. Every day is an opportunity for self-improvement. Lastly, you can't out train a bad diet, so eat well!
CGS: My advice is to keep it fun, and mix up the disciplines. Don’t just ride a road bike, but also learn to ride another discipline such as a mountain bike. This will go a long way and you’ll be a better all-around cyclist because of it.
KL: Since I have to wake-up at the crack of dawn to get my training in before work, I always struggle not to hit the snooze button but then I think about how good I feel when I workout and the energy it gives me to power through the day. It’s good to remember how great it feels afterwards as motivation to keep going.
SK: Give yourself realistic, achievable goals. Once you’ve met those, make new ones and so on. Be smart, know when to go hard and when not to. If you don’t have self-control, get yourself a coach to keep you accountable. Above all, give yourself a break! If you need to take a day for yourself mentally, take it and don’t feel bad about it.