Monday, 24 September 2012

Runner's nutrition basics

Out of all seasons I think I like early fall the most. Mild sunshine and crisp air is perfect for lacing up those sneakers and heading out for a jog/run. And of course it is important to “fuel” yourself for this activity. Even after reading numerous articles on runner’s nutrition I am still puzzled and confused about what to eat before and after in order to have a productive workout and a proper recovery.  What really are those snacks that contain the right ratio of carbs/protein/fat? I decided to compile a list of foods that are recommended for runners by dietitians, sports nutritionists and athletes themselves.

  • A snack that’s high in complex carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta, quinoa, beans, peas or potatoes. Those are complex carbs and are better before a run because they break down more slowly and provide a more constant source of energy.
  • Another good pick is a trail mix that includes omega-3 rich walnuts, thiamin rich sunflower seeds, iron rich raisins and almonds.
  • Energy bar is a decent choice if nothing else is at hand. Just read the label and make sure there are no processed ingredients and artificial sweeteners. There are plenty of choices on the market! You can even make you own bars using good quality nuts and seeds.
  •  My personal favorite is banana+peanut butter combo. Bananas are high in fiber (keeps you full) and potassium (may prevent muscle cramps and aid digestive system). Keep peanut butter portion fairly small though (1-2 tablespoons) since it is high in calories.

Post workout:

A snack should contain more protein than carbohydrates.
  • Greek Yogurt +berries (can be blended in a smoothie or eaten as a yummy desert). Greek yogurt with its rich consistency beats regular low fat yogurts any time of the day! Greek yogurt can also be substituted by cottage cheese. 
  • Surprisingly decadent pick- Chocolate milk! It has the optimal carb-to-protein ratio and some nutritionists say it’s a better way to replenish energy than sports drinks.
  • As a savory snack try Hummus+Vegetables (celery, cucumber, carrots, red peppers). Hummus comes in variety of flavors and has high protein content and veggies make a perfect “dipping sticks” and pack lots of fiber.
  •   Apple slices+almond butter make a sweet-savoury crunchy snack. Richness of nut butter is offset by crispy and light fruit.

Well, we got the nutrition part down, now it's time to clock in those km's!:)
Barefoot running on Bondi Beach in Sydney.


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