Loving the BITE: On-the-Ride Bacon Rice Burrito


If you’re one of the many athletes tired of gels, chews, and overly sugary sports foods, you’re gonna love this week’s Loving the Bite recipe.  Personally, as a long-distance mountain biker, I use a combination of both “sports foods” (gels & bars, mostly) and real food.  For any ride longer than 5 hours, I find that real food every 3 hours or so satisfies my hunger, my salt-cravings, and my hollow-stomach feeling.  This week, if you’re looking for tasty real food fuel, try this amazing Bacon Rice Burrito.


Recipe of the week: On-the-Ride Bacon Rice Burrito


  • 2/3 cup cooked white rice
  • 2 strips cooked organic bacon, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • Ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. Salt, or to taste
  • 2 lime wedges
  • Small white-flour tortilla (soft taco size)


  • Place rice, bacon, and olive oil in a bowl.  Stir to mix well.
  • Add cumin, salt, and lime juice to taste.
  • Place mixture in tortilla, wrap tightly.
  • Cut burrito in half and wrap both halves in plastic wrap or foil.

Nutrition Information: Approx. 175 calories, 23 grams carbs, 4 grams protein per 1/2 burrito serving


Real food on the bike.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  For every dialed-in nutrition success story, there’s one in which real food left a cyclist low on energy, cramping, or even bonking.  Here are the 4 Key Considerations I use when experimenting with Real Food Fuel:

Nutrients: Mostly, you need carbs out there.  A small amount of protein and fat is fine, but the foundational nutrient should be carbs.  I’ve seen someone snacking on an avocado for fuel.   Guess what?  Pure fats take too long to digest and will set in your stomach, increasing your risk of cramps.  Another consideration is electrolytes, especially sodium.  Since most sports foods and drinks are sweet, real food fuel offers an excellent opportunity for starchy, salty foods.  Lastly, it’s a good idea to avoid junk ingredients whenever possible, such as hydrogenated oils, colorings, and chemicals.  In our recipe, I recommend an organic bacon so that you’re not sucking down nitrites.  Take a look at your labels and do your best to limit questionable ingredients.  Stick with carb-based, savory, wholesome fuel.

Taste: Quite simply, you’ve gotta want to eat it.  I’ve said it a thousand times (okay, maybe not a thousand), if you don’t like it, it isn’t good fuel for you no matter what the nutrient make-up is, no matter how many of your riding partners swear by it…if you don’t like it and won’t eat it (or drink it), it’s a recipe for bonking.

Digestion: Beyond a make-up of carbs, it’s important to choose the right carbs.  Remember, training fuel is somewhat opposite of healthy, everyday, nutritious meals.  Although high-fiber whole foods are great at the table, you need fuel that digests quickly on the bike so that 1) it doesn’t set in your stomach too long and cause cramping, and 2) it metabolizes efficiently enough to impact your energy levels during your ride…not 5 hours after.  White grain carbohydrates generally stay in your stomach long enough to get rid of hunger (this is controlled by hormones activated when your stomach is stretched…when you eat gels all day on a long ride, you will feel hungry and slightly nauseous all day), yet leave soon enough to not divert too much blood flow away from your legs nor cause stomach cramps.

Size: Rather than research, this criteria is mostly founded upon personal, friends’ and clients’ experiences.  Ever eaten a whole meal, like a packed lunch, right in middle of your ride?  If you have, you may have noticed 2 things: 1) high risk of cramping (again), and 2) no power in the legs following the meal (and for the next 1-2 hours).  What gives?  The size of the meal impacts the rate of digestion and the “work” your body has to do to digest it.  Your body can only do so much at once, and a large meal sabotages your legs’ blood and energy supply.  Keep any real food fuel small, about 25-50% of a “normal” serving, and fuel throughout your ride rather than all at once.

Combined with hourly quick-acting fuel and carbohydrate/electrolyte fluids, real food fuel can provide the nutrients you need and a satisfying treat on a long ride.  This week, let’s enjoy a tasty burrito, ride long and keep it real.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.


Enjoy Your Ride

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17 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: On-the-Ride Bacon Rice Burrito ”

  1. Evan on November 1, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I added steamed sweet potatoes (5 or 6 minutes) and Sky Valley Verde Sauce (no affiliation) to my burritos. Delish!

  2. Bob Thyer on February 12, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Take care when reheating rice, This web link explains why far better than I can. BTW the lemon bars are fantastic can’t wait to try orange bars.

    Here is the web link.

    • Bob Thyer on February 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Firstly let me say these are delicious when freshly cook and consumed straight from cooking.

      There has been much argument over this, reheating of rice. The act of placing one of these Burritos into a plastic bag and into the back of your cycle shirt would make the bacteria grow and could poison the person eating it.

      Eating them the next day cold. Firstly eat the burrito with in one hour of coming out of the fridge, waiting any long holds much risk of poisoning. How to safely chill for next day consumption. First boil the rice, when cooked add the rice to the pan you cooked the bacon in add the diced bacon and cumin under a very gentle heat and mix well. Place the mixture onto a backing try and spread it out to rapidly cool down. When cool wrap a portion into a wrap and place into the fridge. Eat with in 2 days of cooling.


  3. Bob on October 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Love the burrito recipe, thanks. I’ve tried making the rice cakes using brown rice (lower glycemic index ?) but they don’t hold together very well. It was recommended to use some almond butter to help bind the rice/mixture together but I’m still trying to find the right balance. Any thoughts on whether there is a benefit to the brown rice over sushi rice in terms of fuel on a training ride. Thanks.

    • Kelli on February 23, 2015 at 10:28 am

      I see that my comment here is about 3 months late – sorry about that! Either rice will work in terms of nutrients. The sushi rice packs/sticks better, but that is not as much of an issue w/ the burritos since they have the tortilla. Sushi rice will also provide shorter-term energy without the fiber of the brown rice…but both are carb-dense and easy to digest. Thanks! Kelli, RD

  4. Bill Bacon on July 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I like. Bill Bacon, Seattle, Washington

  5. Julie Starling on July 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Bacon? Really? Since when is bacon healthy? Even for meat eaters?

    • Kelli Jennings on July 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Julie,
      Thanks for your comment – I actually anticipated something like this coming in:). Please remember, this recipe is for Training Nutrition and not Daily Nutrition. So, first, I’m not suggesting that bacon should be a staple in your diet. What it does provide for training, is 1) Salt, 2) small amount of protein,, and 3) flavor. The negative aspects of it could possibly be 1) saturated fats and 2) nitrites. For the first, saturated fats, I’m convinced that they have very little negative affect on heatlh (gasp! – despite what we’ve all been taught over the years). Most recent reviews and studies (even huge reviews of decades of studies) show little to no correlation of saturated fat intake with heart disease, bad cholesterol, etc. The issue, for health, has been obesity, inactivity, and diets high in carbs, especially refined ones, like sugars and refined grains. These carbs increase inflammatory hormones, insulin-resistance, and fat storage. Which brings me to the next point, if I was going to be concerned about the health aspects of this recipe for overall wellness, I would be more concerned about the refined carbs in the white tortilla and rice and all the sugars (natural or processed), not to mention in the sports drinks, gels, and bars. However, since this is intended to be eaten while engaging in exercise, these carbs are readily used as energy and do not have the same negative effects as they do when someone is sedentary (at which point I do not recommend this recipe OR sports drinks, gels, or bars). As for the nitrites in bacon, I recommend organic (nitrite-free) bacon. What this leaves you with, then, is a traditional food from an animal, with salt, satured fats, a small amount of protein, and a lot of flavor. Of course, the salt is not a health issue on the bike, as most serious athletes struggle to get enough sodium while riding (even with organic bacon!). One last concern could be that the saturated fats might cause stomach upset b/c they take too long to digest while riding – this varies person to person. However, I’ve not had one client who’s had a bad experience with it, as after riding for many hours, this salty snack is a welcome treat on the bike. I hope this answers your question. Thanks again! Kelli, RD

  6. Ed Robertson on July 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Burritos are the greatest food ever created.

    • Kelli Jennings on July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Mmmm. Makes me want to ride just thinking about these:)

  7. Sarah on July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I like the idea of real food for energy. I don’t usually get out for a ride that is long enough to need to bring these on my bike but I am going to try them anyway because they sound rather tasty. I do enjoy these recipes you put on the website and although I often don’t leave a comment I do want you to know I enjoy them.

    • Kelli Jennings on July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks so much for reading the posts and your comment today – I’m thrilled you enjoy them. Let us know what you think of these!

  8. Anthony Lussier on July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

    This is a great post and opens your eyes to what can be available to you on a long ride. This burrito sounds fantastic, mainly because there is bacon in it but since I’m about 80% Paleo I try to stay away from any of the grain based meals especially white flour and white rice. I’m still in search of the perfect ride food other than the good ole banana.

    • Kelli Jennings on July 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Anthony, You may enjoy the lemon bars or orange bars we’ve featured – they are grain free but still provides optimal fuel via honey, coconut oil, nuts, and citrus. Or you could mix in some bacon pieces with mashed banana!:) I might be onto something…

      • Anthony Lussier on July 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm

        haha, bacon and banana…hmmm. The lemon bars sound great too! Thanks for the info.

  9. Renny on July 19, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I might be strange but I don’t really like the taste of bacon. This recipe does sound good and I would like to try it but would like to know if I can replace the bacon with something else.

    • Kelli Jennings on July 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Renny,
      You can simply omit the bacon if you’d like, and adjust the salt to taste. Or, I have had some clients use organic beef jerky on long rides to provide sodium and protein, so if chopped finely, this is an option. Let me know what you think…


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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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