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Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes

feed zone portables cookbook

Feed Zone Portables is about eating real, whole food to fuel your long workouts and training. Credit: VeloPress Publishing

In endurance communities, there’s a gradual but noticeable shift in the way athletes are fueling for their races. Athletes are beginning to eschew foil packets of gel in favor of whole ingredients. There are ultrarunners who eat boiled, salted potatoes every few miles, triathletes with straws of honey taped to the top tube of their bikes and cyclists carrying baggies full of leftovers in their jersey.
A big force behind this movement is the Feed Zone philosophy, pushed by chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim.
While developing nutrition products for cyclists, Dr. Lim discovered that pro athletes avoided prepackaged products such as gels and energy bars. After eating such items, many experienced bloating and digestive distress from the highly concentrated carbohydrates entering the gut.
As Dr. Lim investigated more, he found these heavy concentrations of carbohydrates all at once can temporarily dehydrate athletes and cause negative side effects. Real foods, with much higher water content and natural sugar concentrations, digest more easily, more quickly, and with less likelihood of dehydration, bloating and gastrointestinal distress.
Dr. Lim paired with professional chef Thomas to develop real food recipes with nutritionally sound principles for athletes, culminating in their first publication: The Feed Zone Cookbook: Offering Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes. As athletes began to adopt the Feed Zone philosophy in their nutrition plans, the demand for portable foods for training and racing pushed Lim and Thomas to their second release: Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-The-Go Food for Athletes.


Feed Zone Portables isn’t just a cookbook — it’s a nutrition manual, too, with 50 pages dedicated to the science behind eating real food. Additional tips are peppered throughout the book, explaining the logic behind making certain recipes for training fuel.
For someone who is trying to take a whole-foods approach to training, the sections on what and how to eat — for example, solid calories versus liquid calories — are particularly helpful. I also appreciate their attention to hydration — in my opinion, not enough sport-related cookbooks acknowledge this very important element of training and racing. In order to digest food while training, we need water!


I’m really digging the different types of recipes in this book. There are rice cakes, mini frittatas, two-bite pies, baked cakes and cookies, portable pancakes and waffles, rolls, and sticky bites. Additionally, there’s a chapter titled “take and bake,” with recipes for athletes on the road. If you travel a lot, you’ll love having these healthy options to avoid the dreaded drive-through window.
I also loved that each section provides recipes for those who want to make vegetarian or gluten-free options. There are many choices for people with special dietary needs!


The Feed Zone Portables cookbook is divided up by theme, such as “Rice Cakes,” which is further divided by general flavors (for example, “Sweet” and “Savory”). Before launching into the recipes for that section, there’s a page outlining the tools you’ll need to create the recipe — what I particularly like is that while they do suggest specialized tools, they also allow for the everyday cook to use what’s available in the kitchen. For example:

We’re confident that you will get your money’s worth out of an inexpensive Panasonic Rice Cooker. But until you make the leap, here’s a simple stovetop method for cooking sticky rice …

As someone who doesn’t have a lot of cash, I appreciate the opportunity to make the recipes using the tools I have before deciding if it’s worth the money to buy a new kitchen appliance.


Perhaps the best thing about this book is the creative flavors included. There’s something for every palate in here. If you’ve ever spent long training days on your bike, you’ve probably noticed you crave very specific foods. In my case, I always crave a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but I can’t stomach all that bread while riding. There’s a PB&J Rice Cake recipe in the book. I was surprised, however, to find that the blueberry and chocolate coconut rice cake recipe also satisfied that craving and didn’t make me queasy on the bike.
There are also savory recipes for those craving something more substantial during a mid-day break. After all, after several hours of chowing down on sweet honey or gels, it’s nice to get something different. Try the crispy grits, or make the two-bite pies — you can select any number of savory fillings, from beef and sweet potato to black bean and peanut molé. Yes, it sounds extravagant for a bike ride … until you try it and realize it’s just what you need to get your energy stores back up for the next few hours!
In all, I’m very happy with this cookbook — it’s the best guide for sports fuel I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve given this cookbook a permanent place in my kitchen, where it’s heavily used in preparing food for training, racing, snacks and travel.
The publishers have graciously allowed us to print a recipe from the cookbook — check back tomorrow for something chocolatey, gluten-free and perfect for your next hike, ride or long day of training!
Do you fuel with whole foods while training and racing? What do you think of the Feed Zone philosophy? —Susan

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