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What are foods you can get in the towns your ride through that are cheap, light and good for you?
Not knowing where you're talking about it's difficult to answer the question. I've cycled for the last 5 months from Alasks to central Mexico & what I ate in North America is quite different to what I eat here in Mexico, based on the availability.
If you're interested in more, I have a diet section on my blog www.johnbensontravels.com/currenttrip_diet.html
I lost about 20lbs/10kg in the first month but my weight has stayed the same since. I basically think that what I'm eating is fine for what I'm doing, my diet couldn't sustain the weight I was carrying at the start - not scientific at all; but it's what the months on the road tell me. I've also had to take breaks every now & again to take on food - a few days or up to a week - because you just can't replace what you lose on a daily basis, or at least, I can't.
This is a topic that periodically gets discussed in some detail on the BikeForums.net and Phred.org touring forums (you can find links to these websites at the links page here http://www.warmshowers.org/content/links). You may want to search the archives on these 2 websites for some ideas.
I personally try to avoid eating meat and dairy products and so I prepare most of my own meals. When on a long-distance tour in the U.S. I will visit some sort of market at least every other day. My general suggestions are:
* try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. If you can find items that are in season the quality and price is often very attractive
* I eat a lot of high-carbohydrate items like pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and oatmeal/porridge. Try to get the more nutritious variety like whole-wheat when you can.
* try to eat a variety of things (remember the basic food groups from school?) and be sensitive to the nutritional value of food. You also want to be sensitive to the carbohydrate, fat, and protein content of the food you eat. Educate yourself on concepts like which fats are good for you and which are not.
* eat processed food (like potato chips and other snack food) in moderation. The nutritional content of these items is oftentimes poor.
It's unfortunate that in the U.S. you usually have to pay more to eat well (in terms of having a nutritious, balanced diet) because our government has chosen to subsidize the junk food industry.
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