The Young Rider’s Perfect 10

Linking up with our youth theme, regular dietician ADRIAN PENZHORN guides our young athletes with some helpful tips to eat better.

Teenage years bring with them many changes and some challenges. It is a unique and important period that can benefit from a solid nutritional base. All adolescents have specific needs as their body grows and develops. When we add the demands of sport or a heavy training load it is critical we get the fuel right too. Eating well will help organs, tissues and bones develop, support health and immunity, encourage a good relationship with food and lay the foundation for future health. Fuelling well in addition will help support training and performance, enhance recovery and assist a talented young athlete reach their potential.   Are of any of these pieces missing in your plan?

1.Food intake should match the demands of training

→ Bigger meals or more snacks may be needed on training days. Start with a bigger breakfast, how does it affect your day

2. Don’t focus on the scale

→ Adjust your intake to assist performance and health, these are as important as change in weight or physique. Keep a performance journal to monitor how diet effects your sport.

  1. Protein rich foods should be part of every meal and added to pre-or post-training strategies.

→ Eggs, fish, meat, dairy, beans and nuts can form the base of your meals. A milk based drink or protein filled sandwich are great recovery options too.

  1. Carbohydrate rich foods should be of high quality, and adjusted in size to match the fuel needs for the day.

→ Fruit, starchy vegetables, oats or whole-wheat bread are good foods to support exercise. Remember, more on training and race days can help.

→ Carbohydrate drinks and snacks can be used on the bike for long or hard sessions. Sports drinks, confectionery, fruit or sandwiches are good options here.

  1. Healthy fats should be the main source of fat in the diet

→ Add some avocado, nuts, cheese, peanut butter or olive oil to your meals for an extra dose of fuel on the plate.

  1. Start every session well hydrated and have easy access to fluids, particularly in hot or windy conditions.

→ Always take a bottle with you to training. Water is fine but longer or harder sessions might benefit from a carbohydrate sports drink, start by drinking to thirst.

  1. Iron rich foods should be common in the diet.

→ Try adding some eggs, red meat or baked beans to your intake.

→ Check out our Heuvos Ciclistas recipe that packs it all.

  1. Assessing and monitoring vitamin D status is recommended.

→ A simple blood test can help determine the need for a supplement.

  1. Monitoring height changes over time can help highlight periods of increased requirements.

→ Keep track on the door frame or with a tape measure, a few weeks of noticeable height increases signal a need for good nutrition.

  1. The use of sport supplements for performance enhancement is largely unnecessary.

→ A solid training programme and sound nutrition will have a greater benefit, without  the risks.


Fuel for the tank; packed with protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats with a dose of iron and a little vitamin D to round it off.


→ 1 tortilla

→ 1 egg

→ ½ cup baked beans (or similar)

→ 1 Tbsp onion- sliced or diced

→ 1 garlic clove – minced

→ ½ large tomato – diced

→ ¼ teaspoon cumin

→ ¼ teaspoon coriander

→ ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

→ Salt and pepper

Avocado, coriander and lime wedge to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. In a large pan, sauté onion in a little olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, sauté for a minute or two. Add ½ of the diced tomatoes (saving half for garnish) and beans, spices, and salt. Add a splash of water. Let simmer on low for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Brush a small skillet with olive oil, coating the edges too. Lay tortilla down and brush tops of tortillas with a little oil.
  4. Divide bean mixture, making a little indentation with the back of a spoon, for the egg to rest, so it stays in place.
  5. Carefully break the egg and place it in the indentations. Sprinkle egg with salt and pepper, and if you want, crumbled cheese, and place in the hot oven.
  6. Check after 10-12 minutes. Cook until egg white is white and yolk is to your desired doneness. Serve with avocado, lime, coriander and fresh tomatoes

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