Foods every runner needs to eat
Key foods for runners
Runners see food a little different. Its not just something we eat to stop the stomach rumbling but something we eat for fuel, for performance, for power and most importantly to aid recovery.
Consuming a combination of carbohydrates and protein with an adequate helping of fats makes up runner’s fuel along with foods that contain antioxidants. A runner diet should be somewhat balanced with a focus on whole real foods rather than trans fats, neon-coloured sports drinks, energy drinks and gels.
Majority of society calls themselves runners; from the daily few k’s around the block to a weekly training load that will see you run multiple half marathons. If you lace up and pound the pavement or trails no matter the distance, you are a runner. Being a runner is not exclusive.
Don’t fear the carbs! You want to consume wholegrains; brown rice, wholewheat pasta and psedudograins such as quinoa which is also high in protein. Wholegrains are also high in fibre which help maintain a healthy gut so bear this in mind the night before or morning of a race…keep wholegrains for post workout allowing time for the body to digest without causing any gut complaints.
Need to boost your immune system? Then consuming a handful of almonds or spreading your morning bagel with almond butter might just help. Almonds also contain a good dose of healthy fats along with foods such as olives and avocado.
A great post workout fuel is to spread almond butter on apple slices; this is one real food post workout fuel worth running fast for!
Bananas are the perfect on the go fuel especially as they come in their own plastic free packaging. Loaded with potassium, rich in vitamin C as well as fibre they help boost performance and balance your body’s electrolytes. If you are heading out for a weekly long run, bananas provide good carbohydrates without overloading the runner’s stomach. Post run, they are ideal blended into smoothies.
Not only do sweet potatoes provide a good amount of carbohydrates they also contain potassium and antioxidants. As a runner, baked sweet potatoes are a good alternative to gels during a long run and can be sweetened with maple syrup; the ideal read food easy to digest natural gel. For a post workout fix; load your sweet potato with black beans, guacamole, tofu sour cream and corn chips for a Mexican inspired baked potato.
We have all heard the saying, eat your greens and as a runner consuming daily dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, bok choy and broccoli helps with your intake of folate, B vitamins, Vitamin K and antioxidants all the while providing few calories. Dark leafy greens also contain iron and calcium so really is quite the nutritional powerhouse.
Nuts and Seeds
We know that complex carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta, beans or potatoes provide a constant source of energy but let’s not forget about the bite size powerhouses that these healthy fats can provide; walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are beneficial to a runner’s health helping prevent inflammation and helping keep our muscles and nervous systems healthy.
Real food energy bars
Sometimes we all need convenience and this is where real food energy bars have their time and place. Look for bars made with whole ingredients including dates, nuts, seeds, dried fruit such as apricots and cherries and sweetened naturally through the fruit or with sweeteners such as cinnamon or rice malt syrup.
To aid recovery a snack with a carb-to-protein ratio of 4 to 1 is ideal. Your muscles need the protein to build them back up and the extra carbohydrates are what your depleted body needs to boost its glucose levels, this is where hummus makes that perfect snack. A high source of protein and healthy carbs serve with vegetable sticks and you will find the session the next day all that much easier.
Got milk? Plant-based milks especially soy and almonds milks are an easy fuel to consume within the 20 to 30mins key recovery window post run. With your muscles most receptive to absorbing energy and restoring glycogen milk especially when blended with banana, nut butter and proteins is an ideal way to replenish energy plus reduce the workload on your digestive system.
Believe it or not, chocolate is a runner’s key food staple as it contains potent antioxidants called flavanols that can boost heart health and reduce inflammation. But remember like anything, keep portion control in check, a little often is good a lot often is just gluttonous.
Positive Eating Programs
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