5) Healthy foods for runners/anyone!
These are foods that are good for anyone, but I’ll explain why they can be specifically applicable for runners! I believe that food can play a major role in performance so I thought I’d share some of my knowledge with you because running fast is so much fun!!
First, I’ll lay down some ground rules for general healthy eating for performance!
1. Stay with the good carbs.
The carbs that you should aim for should have a low glycemic index (GI). GI is basically a measurement on how fast the carbs are released in your blood, so the slower, the better because it would give you a more steady supply of energy. Low GI foods mostly contain lots of fiber because fiber takes longer to digest. Some examples include fruits, vegetables, beans, and yogurt!
Protein digests slower than carbs, so it will also provide you with a steady supply of energy! It will also help you build all those lovely muscles!! It’s recommended that you aim for one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Runners generally need more protein because we’re constantly breaking our muscles down everyday by running. I’m a huge fan of egg whites, fish (especially tuna and salmon!!), and yogurt! Whey protein powder mixed with almond milk tastes great as well!
3. Frequent meals
If you eat more frequently, lets say every 3 hours, then you will be providing your body with a constant supply of energy throughout the day. For me, I usually only do this when I have a race because sometimes I find it inconvenient.
4. Great foods!!!!! Keep in mind that everything in this list is of equal awesomeness.
-Bananas! good for before and after your workout. It’s full of carbs and vitamin b6. Vitamin b6 acts as a cofactor for proteases which helps you digest protein after a workout, so you should eat bananas with protein after a workout!
-Fish! My favorites are tuna and salmon. Fish contain omega 3 fats which help keep the not-so-good fat in your blood (triglycerides) in balance!
-Oatmeal! Oatmeal is a low GI carb so it’s a great pre-race food because it will provide you with a steady supply of energy!
-Yogurt! contains protein, calcium, potassium. Calcium is important for building your bones and potassium is important for initiating muscle contractions! Hence those sodium potassium pumps on your neurons!! It’s also full of good bacteria to live in your large intestine~ i like to eat it in the morning. i tend to stick with nonfat because whole milk makes my stomach extremely upset.
-Energy bars! I don’t consume them often because I’d rather get my energy from real food. But when i do, it’s before a race because it’s quick and densely packed with calories so it doesn’t take much space in my stomach. My favorites include cliff and kind bars.
-Milk! It contains both protein and carbs and it’s a great post workout because you need to refuel your energy stores and you also need that energy for your body to build muscles!
-Almonds! They are full of vitamin E which function as antioxidants which helps protect your cells! They also contain omega 3 fats. I like to sprinkle them on my yogurt in the morning and have them as a snack throughout the day. I also like to munch on almonds in the bus before a race!
-Eggs! Because eggs are animal protein, they contain all the essential amino acids! chose omega 3 enhanced eggs so you get more healthy fat. They also contain vitamin K, which are good for bones, and chloine, which are good for brains eyes. Hard boiled eggs are a great snack for anytime!!
-Sweet potatoes! My favorite pre-race meal!! I always “carb load” on sweet potatoes instead of pasta before races. Containing vitamin C and A, potassium, iron, manganese, and copper, they are packed with way more nutrients than pasta!! I like to microwave/steam slices and eat them plain because they are already full of wonderful flavors so appetizing to my taste buds!
-Beans! Full of lots of wonderful protein and fiber! Also, folate is good for your heart and circulation! Beans and legumes are low GI foods so they are slowly released in the body so you receive a steady supply of energy by having a controlled blood sugar level. I love black beans!
-Fruits and vegetables! This one is a given. Eat the rainbow. All fruits and vegetables are my favorite!!
-Skinned chicken! Great source of protein.
-Green Tea! Basically contains lots of antioxidants which protect your cells from damage! I wake up to a cup of lovely green tea every morning!
There are obviously a lot more, but those are just some of my favorites.
5. Pre-race foods
-Night before: Sweet potatoes, lot of healthy green vegetables, and fish/chicken
-Breakfast (if it’s in the afternoon): Yogurt topped with almonds, berries, and chia seeds plus a banana. (I have this every morning)
-Pre-race meal: Several bananas, almonds, dried fruit (sometimes), pita bread (I specifically looked for the one with the lowest fiber at trader joes so it wouldn’t give me stomach problems)
-Before warming up: A few bites of a cliff bar
-Between races: Any fruit, cliff bar, almonds