As runners, what we eat is a big deal.
Not only for our massive appetites and equally massive cravings but for our strength, endurance and recovery.
There are lots of foods recommended for runners but just because an article says we should eat it, doesn’t mean that we can or do.
As individuals, we are each unique.
Allergies, lifestyle choices, diet preferences, taste bud favorites and stubborn stomachs…
I thought it would be fun to take a look at the Runner’s World Best Foods For Runners article and break it down with you to see which foods from the article are currently in my diet on a regular basis.
Nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that many runners fall short on because there are so few good food sources of it.
I do not eat almonds. I am allergic to them and most other raw nuts which means there’s no trail mix in my life, no fancy snack bars, no almond milk in my coffee or almond meal in my pantry.
But I can eat peanut butter. Lots of peanut butter. Everyday.
My favorite snack lately and it’s so simple! Blueberries, banana slices and peanut butter.
The protein in eggs contains all the crucial amino acids your hard-working muscles need to promote recovery.
I recently did a post on the health benefits of organic eggs so I know they offer terrific nutrition.
I don’t love eggs like oh my goodness EGGS and go through phases where I don’t eat them for weeks (or months) and then come back to them on a regular basis.
Last week it was all about the three-ingredient pancake for breakfast.
This week it’s been vegetable omelets for lunch served with roasted Brussels sprouts, brown rice and avocado over spinach.
A 100-calorie sweet potato supplies more than 250 percent of the DV for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene and are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, manganese and copper.
I’ve got this one down. Sweet potatoes are a staple in my daily diet.
Roasted sweet potato wedges with chick peas, stir fry vegetables and avocado – my favorite quick and easy dinner.
Whole Grain Cereal With Protein
Look for whole-grain cereals that offer at least five grams of fiber and at least eight grams of protein.
I prefer oatmeal over a bowl of cereal.
I do have this whole grain cereal in my pantry though, maybe I should start eating it?
Eat enough oranges and you may experience less muscle soreness after hard workouts such as downhill running.
When I can find the little cuties, I eat them. Otherwise, I do not eat oranges regularly at all.
One cup provides 30 percent of the DV for protein, almost 60 percent of the DV for fiber and 60 percent of the DV for folate, a B vitamin that plays a key role in heart health and circulation.
I eat a lot of beans but they aren’t always black.
I get the most black beans into my diet when I am dining at The Cheesecake Factory or making my copy-cat version of my favorite salad at home.
Although I did finally try baking with black beans the other day!
Recipe soon! So fudgy…
Mixed Salad Greens
Choose mixed greens such as radicchio, butter leaf, curly endive, and mache. Each variety offers a unique blend of phytonutrients that research suggests may fend off age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. These phytonutrients also act as antioxidants, warding off muscle damage brought on by tough workouts.
Lately I buy spinach and that’s it. It’s easier on my stomach.
Besides being an excellent source of high-quality protein, salmon is one of the best food sources of omega-3 fats.
I do not like salmon and rarely consume any fish of any kind.
I add chia seeds to my oatmeal every day for the omega-3 fats instead.
Whole Grain Bread
Runners need at least three to six one-ounce servings of whole grains per day, and eating 100 percent whole-grain bread (as opposed to just whole-grain bread, which may contain some refined grains and flours) is an easy way to meet this requirement since one slice equals one serving.
Oatmeal every day, just about. Bread? Not really.
But I do love Ezekiel Bread – especially the Cinnamon Raisin and always have it in the house.
Frozen Stir-Fry Vegetables
Research shows that eating a combination of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C, may lessen muscle soreness after hard interval workouts by reducing the inflammation caused by free-radical damage.
My freezer is packed with frozen vegetables.
I love fresh vegetables but frozen are best in a pinch, don’t hurt my stomach and have a long shelf-life.
I stock up each week on a wide variety of frozen vegetables and often cook fresh and frozen together just to get the best of both worlds.
Fresh roasted brussels sprouts – the rest of the veggies are frozen.
Whole Grain Pasta
Whole-grain versions are a must over refined pastas because they contain more fiber to fill you up, additional B vitamins that are crucial to energy metabolism, and disease-fighting compounds such as lignans.
I can’t recall the last time I ate pasta. I do buy whole grain though for my son.
Along with protein, chicken contains selenium, a trace element that helps protect muscles from the free-radical damage that can occur during exercise, and niacin, a B vitamin that helps regulate fat burning during a run.
I do not eat chicken. I aim for protein from plant-based sources, dairy and eggs and add Nutritional Yeast to many foods for the B Vitamin thing.
Frozen Mixed Berries
Frozen berries are just as nutritious as fresh, but they keep far longer making it easier to always have them ready to eat.
I have learned to adore frozen berries and eat them every single morning with oatmeal, yogurt and sometimes blend them at night with bananas to make soft serve.
Research suggests that the chocolate flavonols ease inflammation and help prevent blood substances from becoming sticky, which lowers the risk of potential blood clots.
No problem here.
Besides being a good source of protein and calcium, low-fat yogurt with live cultures provides the healthy bacteria your digestive tract needs to function optimally. This good bacteria may also have anti-inflammatory powers that can offer some relief to arthritis suffers.
There’s always greek yogurt in my post-run oatmeal (and frozen berries making it all so pretty pink).
But what I find so interesting about this description is where it says anti-inflammatory.
For some people, dairy IS an inflammatory so consuming those good bacterias via yogurt is not the greatest option.
This is the perfect example of eating what works for you, not necessarily what works for others, even if the others are runners.
How many of these foods do you eat regularly?
Do you have food allergies?
Three things in your freezer right now?