Which foods are the best for optimal running nutrition? Whether you are a seasoned runner or starting to run for the first time, your running diet plays a huge factor in how you perform.
It is important that you balance the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, so that your body receives the energy, vitamins, and minerals that it requires. When done correctly, running nutrition complete with nutrient-rich foods will provide the energy and stamina that you need.
Combining these foods with your weight loss plan will be help you maintain a healthy weight, and have the energy to complete every step of your running training program.
So lets begin by talking about which foods will provide fuel for your runs, healthy carbohydrates.
It is often suggested that carbohydrates make up two-thirds of your total caloric intake. This advice may be helpful for some endurance enthusiasts, you must determine what breakdown works best for you. Test different foods and note how your body reacts.
When picking the best carbohydrates to eat, focus on those high in fiber, and derived from whole grains. Simple and healthy meals can start with whole grain pastas, or steamed rice. Also, when making a sandwich, select the whole grain wheat bread or wrap it with a tortilla for a a healthier option.
Are you a fan of potatoes? Try substituting yams next time. Yams are high in beta carotene, low in fat, and are a super source of vitamin A.
Proteins are an essential part of your running nutrition, due to their ability to repair and build muscles. Fortunately, there are easy ways to incorporate proteins into your diet, some of which you may have never tried!
Beans can be a great source of protein and fiber, and come in many different forms. Black beans are super easy way to get protein into your diet. Just throw them on your salad, or into your wrap. An even better option is refried beans, which are very high in protein, fiber, and zinc and low in fat.
Some other great ways to incorporate protein into your diet is by tossing kidney or garbanzo beans on top of your next salad. Even better, throw some lentils on your next pasta dish to add a great protein source.
If you prefer your protein source to be meat, go with lean meats like turkey breast. Fish can also be a great choice for a meal, and is full of omega-3 fatty acids.
Are you a vegan? Soy-based products like soy or tempeh are great sources of protein, and are simple and easy when cooked in a delicious stir-fry packed with veggies.
Dairy products are also packed with protein! Eggs, low fat cottage cheese, and yogurt, are always great options, no matter what time of the day. Yogurt with granola can be a great snack to get you through the day without cheating on your diet.
Fats play an important role in your running nutrition if you choose the correct ones. The best way to incorporate fats into your diet is to choose fats low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil are great in reducing your risk of heart disease.
While trying to incorporate good fats into diet, you also need to make an effort to cut out the bad fats. Instead of frying chicken, try baking it. I promise you or your kids wont be able to tell a difference.
Nuts are also a great source of good fats. My favorites are almonds, which are considered a superfood because they are packed with healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals. Take a handful in a ziploc bag, and they can make a great snack in the middle of your workday. I also throw a few into my morning smoothie to make sure Im getting enough nutrients into my breakfast.
In addition to choosing the right foods, it is also important how you choose to consume these. Opposed to eating three large meals for your caloric intake, break up your entrees into 4-6 smaller snacks. This will provide your body with more consistent energy, and will keep your metabolism high throughout the day.
Also, when cooking vegetables for dinner, try baking them opposed to boiling. Baking will actually lock in the vitamins and minerals that are often lost when boiling. Plus, the flavor will be rich and sweet as the sugars caramelize onto the veggies.
If you have a sweet tooth, there are ways to satisfy that craving without being unhealthy. Choose fresh fruits over processed sugars. If you are craving chocolate, choose a piece of dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. You tend not the eat as much, and the dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, and can help lower your blood pressure.
The rule I use about cravings is not to ignore them but do not allow yourself to overindulge. Give yourself a taste, but dont eat an entire portion. Another option that some people have found successful when using a diet plan is to have a cheat day where you can eat whatever you want in moderation. You dont want to binge, but it is okay to eat what you want on these days when are stick to a training program and are self-disciplined enough not to overdo it.
Making smart food decisions are an important way of ensuring long term health. Remember, it is the small decisions you make every day that will determine your long-term health.
Combining your healthier running diet with proper hydration, and a smart, tested, running training schedule and nothing will stand in your way to running success and overall health!
For some tasty meal suggestions, try out the following healthy options:
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