Portable Feeding Areas Packed With Real Workout Meal Recipes You Can Make Your Own

Workout food is a whole food category these days. There are sticky sweet energy gels (the nemesis of every marathon runner), as well as a variety of bars and gummies that are almost all expensive and terrible to taste. The Feed Zone Portables book has an alternative: homemade portable food that has the nutrition it needs and tastes great.

I have read this book and made some recipes. I’ll give my verdict right away: These recipes are delicious and packaged well. But most of them shouldn’t be kept in your running belt pocket all day — they can become unsafe. We’ll come back to this a bit later.

Who are these recipes for?

Eating for a run or a long day of cycling, kayaking, or any other endurance activity is quite a challenge. It should be easy to eat even when your mouth is dry (goodbye, salt marshes), and it should be consistent with all parts of your digestive system (goodbye, prunes and jalapeno poppers). From a nutritional point of view, this type of snack should be composed primarily of carbohydrates in order to provide the body with sufficient fuel for a long time. Oh, and it can’t be the kind of thing that can be ruined by being weaved in your pocket for hours.

The gels meet all of these requirements, as do other endurance exercise products such as PowerBars and Clif Shot Bloks . But they are not to everyone’s taste and can be expensive: $ 1 for a 100-calorie gel is the typical price. Ask seasoned runners and cyclists what they eat and you’ll hear about raisins and gummy bears, and sometimes PB&J sandwiches. Some stuff mashed sweet potatoes into a zippered bag and bite off a corner when it’s time to suck on it.

However, it’s all sweet, and what initially attracted me to Feed Zone Portables was the little packets on the cover that said “savory”. Can I eat on the run without drinking something that looks like synthetic cake icing?

The answer is yes, according to the authors, physiologist, cyclist Allen Lim and chef Bijou Thomas . They write for cyclists, but runners and other athletes have similar needs.

The book opens with the usual chapter on why it exists, which I began to leaf through on the way to the recipes. But wait – there really are good things here! Some of the highlights:

  • Check if you really need to eat during your workout , and if so, how much. Typically, meals are not required when exercising before two o’clock. Plus, you should eat at least half the calories you burn every hour.
  • Sidebar on why coconut water is a terrible sports drink . As we said , it is full of potassium, whereas you need sodium.
  • A long treatise on why Gatorade causes diarrhea . High-calorie drinks are digested differently than food and water. Bottom line: If you’ve ever had a chance to leave the pot after a marathon, you’re not alone. Swilling Sports Drinks really do it with us.

The information in this section is really reliable, so read it if you want to know more about how your body works when you run.


The snacks in this book are based on several basic plans, each of which includes sweet and savory options. These include:

  • Rice cakes , which are small slices of sushi rice with the filling in layers in the middle – like an onigiri sandwich .
  • Baked eggs prepared in muffin tins, such as mini omelettes.
  • Two-bite pies with multiple crust options
  • Cakes , including savory potatoes and polenta cakes.

There are also waffles, take-and-do recipes you can make in your hotel room (tip: bring a waffle iron), and a yeah section for the least finicky recipes you can make in your kitchen. For example, instead of layering rice on tortillas, you can simply mix it with the crushed leftover food and cut into balls.

There is one big caveat to many of these recipes, especially the savory ones. They should probably be kept refrigerated for food safety reasons. For example, there is a rice cake with (very seasoned) beef inside. Would you walk around with a pocket full of rice and beef and think it’s okay to eat in a few hours? In a post on food safety on the book’s website, Lim says, “So far, we have had no problem with rice cakes cooked fresh in the morning and stored for about 5 hours in a jersey [cycling shirt] pocket.”

Food safety expert Ben Chapman doesn’t believe it. “None of them were sick. And the sample size is probably pretty small, ”he said in an email. Cooked rice may contain bacteria that can cause foodborne illness . At room temperature, cooked food is safe for four hours. In hot weather, a significant number of bacteria can grow near your body even earlier.

Because of this, I probably wouldn’t eat rice cake after hours on the trail on a hot day. I can keep one on ice until I start a run and then eat it for the first hour or two of my runs (keeping the gels for later hours if I’m running for a very long time). Cyclists or hikers can carry them on ice if you don’t mind a few ounces of extra weight. They are also great if you have a place to hide the cooler, for example, if you know that you will run the same place several times.

Since I’m not really training for a marathon these days, I find these recipes really helpful as a ready-made snack before or after a short workout. They are actually so good that I have eaten them for lunch more than once.

Road test

I made five recipes, three of them are rice cakes. I also recommended wrapped them in a manner that is similar to the method, which we detail describe for packing sandwiches . If you get the right snack-to-paper ratio, you will have two buttonholes at the bottom so you can insert one inside the other. I was skeptical, but it really worked. (You can also secure small bags with elastic bands or tape if that’s easier.)

All of my sample recipes survived being carried in my pocket for hours and did not fall apart or break. They all came out as little cubes or pucks, just like they did in the beginning, and they all tasted good. Here’s a quick rundown, and while we walk you through how to make them, you’ll need to check out the book to find complete recipes with measurements:

Rice Cakes with Red Lentils

How they’re made : Cook red lentils and sushi rice together. Season with a mixture of yogurt, tomato paste, onions and spices.

Taste : A little tasteless, but the seasoning is easy to change. They actually satisfy my pizza cravings perfectly on long runs. (Why is the pizza crusty? I have no idea.)

Spicy rice with beef and onions

(Sorry – there is no photo, because they are all in my stomach)

How they’re made : Cook the ground beef and onions in a skillet and season with fresh ginger, soy sauce, and molasses. Then sprinkle the prepared mixture with sushi rice. When cooling down, cut into blocks.

Tastes : I ate half of the batch while the other half was hot. Um, yes, they are good. The beef is tasty and aromatic. I would have preferred more beef and less rice, but then it might not have made such neat bricks.

Rice cakes with raspberries and mint

How they’re made : Spoon fresh raspberries and chopped mint leaves into sweetened sushi rice.

Tastes like sweet rice and raspberries. Not impressive compared to the other awesome recipes in this book. However, PowerBar is still better.

Mushrooms and Swiss frittata

How they are made : Sear the onions and mushrooms, then stir in the eggs, rice and Swiss cheese. Bake in muffin tins (I used silicone because frittates don’t stick and pop out easily).

Tastes : Excellent. Delicious. Amazing. I used to try mini omelets and have always hated the taste of cold eggs. But somehow the additional ingredients overshadow that flavor and eliminate the slimy consistency.

Two bite patties with banana and walnuts

How they’re made : Combine chopped bananas, walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I used the “instant” method, in which the real pie crust was replaced with sandwich bread. You place a spoonful of the filling between two slices of bread, cut the whole thing out with a glass or cookie cutter, and then bake until toasted.

How They Taste : This is another winner. The toasted bread really turned out to be a very good crust, and with the filling it had a dessert taste, but not too sweet.

Our opinion

These snacks pass taste and portability tests flawlessly. Every recipe I tried was good to say the least, and many were delicious. The book is full of recipes I can’t wait to try, such as potato curry pie and chicken pot, creamy sweet cereals and baked pasta. There is also a chapter on “sticky bites” such as chocolate and sea salt . Yum.

However, I am disappointed with the food safety issue. If you choose to keep any of these snacks in your pocket all day, do so at your own risk. You can still refuel in the last few hours of your long run with one of the recipes that look more like a traditional cake or cookie like Snickerdoodles or Spiced Pumpkin Cakes.

If you’re used to eating packaged foods like Clif bars when you’re too busy to eat, any of the recipes in this book will be a satisfying alternative. They are a great addition to your lunch box or pre or post workout snack. These snacks, of course, don’t have to be just for exercise. I’m eating right now and want to try raspberry rice cake, warm, with ice cream on top.


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