The £10 Petrol Station Challenge

We sent three mbr staffers into their local petrol station armed with a tenner and asked them to forage for the best post-ride grub.

We then asked a nutritionist to evaluate who ‘won’.

Jamie Darlow, Buzz editor

“Milk and fish, you can’t get much healthier than that, right? They’re great sources of protein, that much I do know, and having recently decided to bulk up at the gym (current weight gain: 300g) it’s what I need. Unfortunately, protein seems to be really expensive in pre-packaged form, so I’ve settled for a tuna melt and half a pint of milk.”

Jamie ate…

  • Cravendale whole milk
  • Proper Sweet and Salty popcorn
  • Deli2go Tuna Melt panini
  • Premier Pistachios
  • Deli2go apple slices

Total calories: 1,288

Ben Smith, mbr art editor

“I figure that as I’ve been out riding my bike all day that I’ve burnt a heck of a lot of calories, therefore I can afford myself a little bit of junk food from my local Stop & Scoff. I know milk is good for recovery hence the shake, the sausage roll fills me up, the Boost is for a sugar boost, the Eat Natural bar is a nod to being healthy and the Magic Tree? Well, my car stinks of wet, sweaty kit…”

Ben ate…

  • Yazoo strawberry milkshake
  • Ginsters large sausage roll
  • Cadbury’s Boost
  • Eat Natural brazil and sultana bar

Total calories: 1,414

Danny Milner, Editor

“The way I see it, when you’re cold and knackered after a winter ride, all you know about nutrition goes out of the window and you default to whatever comfort food takes your fancy. You don’t obsess over complex sugars and protein values. So I bought a bag of junk food, and made myself sick instead.“

Danny ate…

  • Sutherland Deli Tuna and cucumber sandwich
  • Scampi Flavour Fries
  • Eat Natural Almond & Apricot bar
  • Kellogg’s Nutri Grain Breakfast
  • Soreen Moist Fruit Loaf
  • Lipton Peach Ice Tea

Total calories: 1,846

The judge’s verdict

Cycling Weekly’s fitness editor, Dave Bradford, dishes out the silverware…

“As you would expect from a trio of hungry mtb riders, there’s a mixed bag of fare on display here — with several highly questionable choices. But first of all, let’s despatch the binary distinction between good and bad foods; no food is per se totally good or totally bad, it all depends on the proportions consumed.

“Ideally you want to be taking on board around 1g carbohydrate per kilo of bodyweight and at least 20g total protein post-ride, to replenish glycogen stores and facilitate the rebuilding of muscle tissues. All three riders hit these targets. Jamie’s pistachios provide a particularly helpful protein boost.

“The biggest concern here is overdoing it and risking weight gain. We’ll give the benefit of the doubt and assume this binge is a main meal. If not, their daily calorie load is going to be huge. Danny’s post-ride energy intake of 1,846kcals is almost a full day’s worth! Jamie’s is the lightest bag, at ‘just’ 1,288kcals — and that’s one important reason why his is the winning selection. Jamie avoids the common low-value, high-fat/salt offenders, choosing nuts instead of cake or chocolate, and milk instead of a fizzy drink.

“Well done, JD — £10 fairly well spent.”