Loving the BITE: Anti-nausea Food For Athletes

  1. Dial in your pre-training fuel plan.  Generally, a regular meal is fine 3-4 hours out, but it should not be high fat or high fiber.  Also, avoid any gas producing foods such as broccoli, beans, etc within 6 hours before a ride.
  2. A smaller snack is fine 1-2 hours out.  A piece of fruit with peanut butter, some nuts and raisins, or a fruit and nut bar.  If you’re starting early in the morning and don’t want to wake up 3 hours out (and I don’t blame you), simply use a small snack or a smoothie (liquids digest quicker) 1-2 hours out.
  3. Make sure your sports drink works well for you.  Not every drink is for every cyclist.  Some do well with maltodextrin based drinks, others with sucrose or glucose based ones, others only with water or low-carb drinks.  If you find that you consistently don’t feel good using a particular drink, try a different one.  As long as you’re hitting your goals for fluids, carbs, calories, and lytes per hour from some sort of food and/or fluid, you can drink what you’d like.
  4. Eat small amounts throughout the ride and DO NOT eat a large meal at once (such as at the half-way point).  Not only will this set like a rock in your stomach, it will also leave you with heavy, tired legs as your bloodflow is diverted to your gut and dealing with an overload of food.
  5. Don’t overdo the sugary foods.  Especially on long rides, use real foods at least every 2-3 hours.  Try our rice burritos, lemon bars, and sweet potato fries for whole-food options.
  6. Drink to a schedule to meet your needs.  Do not wait for thirst (I know, I know, you’ve heard both pieces of advice).  The issue with waiting for thirst is that you’re already behind your hydration needs if you’re thirsty, and it’s very hard to catch up.  It’s extremely rare to over-hydrate.  It’s extremely common to be dehydrated.  What’s this got to do with nausea?  Dehydration and low sodium status leads to nausea.
  7. Try probiotics and/or enzymes immediately before and during a ride.  Probiotics are the healthy bacteria found in your intestines that aid digestion of foods, absorptions of nutrients, immune function, and more.  Turns out, they can help reduce stomach upset in the short-term as well.  Enzymes help break down nutrients….amylase breaks down carbs, protease proteins, and lipase fats.  Then, there are even more specific enzymes for specifics types of carbs, proteins and fats (lactase for lactose, for example).  If you’re interested, popping a probiotic/enzyme combo pill before and every hour of a ride can help.  A yogurt smoothie as a pre-ride fuel provides a whole-food option.
  8. If acid is the problem, it may simply help to use a antacids before and during a ride.

It seems that runners experience an unsettled stomach due to all the bouncing around, and cyclists due to the constant seated position (proper positioning can also alleviate any acid reflux).  Whatever the issue, it’s important to figure out which foods and drinks to avoid and which foods and drinks may help.  Candied ginger is certainly a great and delicious option, as long as you can resist it long enough to take it on your ride.

Fuel your Ride.  Nourish your Body.

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  • eyewall

    Hi Kelli,
    I have problems with queasiness on long rides, and a Google search brought me here. While I haven’t had a chance to take this on a ride yet (I just made this recipe today,) I wanted to say that it is absolutely delectable! I’m going to have a hard time keeping my hands off of this between long rides. Thank you!

  • Chris

    Hey Darryl, when you say ‘return to pot and add honey…’ are you putting some water back in with that? Won’t the honey get all burned up in the pot on 20 min med heat?

    • http://twitter.com/fuelright Kelli Jennings

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I did not add add’l water when making this and had no problems with burnt honey. However, as “candy” making is a bit finicky, it’s not a bad idea to have water nearby;). Just keep stirring throughout the process…you do want the honey to thicken and coat the ginger well. It will lose some of its nutrient benefits being heated above 110 deg F, but it’s still better in my opinion than using sugar.

  • RJ Hopkins

    I don’t generally get naseau while cycling but these are some great suggestions in case I ever find myself in that situation. I like the taste of ginger so just might make these as a little candy treat anyway.

    Thank You.

    • http://twitter.com/fuelright Kelli Jennings

      Thanks for your comment RJ! It’s great that you don’t get nauseous, the tips may prove helpful if a cycling budyy ever does. And, yes, I use these for fuel regardless of how my stomach feels, they are truly great-tasting and refreshing b/c most candy, gels, etc leave a sweet taste in your mouth, and these have a spicey ginger kick! I’m working on determining the grams of carbs so I can give recs on how they can be used as fuel more precisely, but it’s a bit difficult since some of the honey drains off. I hope you enjoy them!