Running is a great exercise that provides a slew of health benefits, both physically and emotionally. To make sure they maintain the strength they need to hit the pavement, runners know that food is fuel. From repairing muscles to giving that extra boost of energy, here are eight foods every runner should have in the kitchen.
When it comes to protein, eggs top the list. According to an article on RunnersWorld.com, “Egg protein is the most complete food protein short of human breast milk, which means the protein in eggs contains all the crucial amino acids your hard-working muscles need to promote recovery.” In fact, eating just one egg meets about 10 percent of your daily protein needs. Eggs are also chock-full of other nutrients, like choline—an often overlooked B vitamin—that has been linked to reducing inflammation and keeping your brain healthy.
Looking for a tasty breakfast egg recipe? Try this Western Omelet from MyRecipes.com. It’s brimming with bell peppers, ham and cheese.
If you loved PB&J sandwiches as a kid, you may be happy to learn peanut butter makes a great food choice for runners, particularly those who running as a method to lose weight. Running.About.com explains, “The protein and fiber in peanut butter helps you feel full and it’s not fattening, unless you overeat total calories that day.”
So what’s the best way to add this ingredient to your diet? Running.About.com suggests getting the natural kind with oil on top and no added ingredients. You can even make your own peanut butter at home like in this Homemade Peanut Butter recipe from FoodNetwork.com.
Fitness.com says, “If you need a carb-packed energy-booster before an afternoon run, it’s hard to go wrong with a banana.” Bananas are loaded with potassium, which help regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. They’re also rich in vitamin C and B6, as well as fiber.
An article in HuffingtonPost.com suggests freezing bananas, then blending them into a smoothie for a texture closer to that of ice cream. Try this Almond-Banana Smoothie recipe from BonAppetit.com, made with two large ripe bananas, brown sugar, almond milk, vanilla extract and some other essential ingredients.
Low fat yogurt is a fantastic source of protein and carbohydrates, making it an ideal food choice for runners. Yogurt also contains calcium, which is essential in improving bone density. But not all yogurts are made equal. According to RunnersWorld.com, “Nutritionists recommend picking yogurts with no more than 30 grams of sugar per six-ounce serving.”
For a tasty breakfast or snack, try this Yogurt With Honey & Sunflower Seeds from FitnessMagazine.com. It has the perfect combination of sweet and crunch. What’s better, you can whip it up in less than five minutes.
We’ve all heard how important it is to eat our greens. This is especially true for runners, who burn through a ton of nutrients on those long distance runs. Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with vitamin C, fiber and phytochemicals—all vital for peak performance and health.
After your next run, why not try whip up this Broccoli with Toasted Garlic side dish from FitnessMagazine.com? It goes perfectly with grilled chicken, beef or fish.
According to a recent article on HuffingtonPost.com, “Runners should aim to get about 8 ounces of seafood a week, says Applegate. Fish is a great source of protein and omega 3 fats, which we don’t often get from other foods.” Salmon is also rich in vitamin D, which is said to help enhance your mood.
Add a little extra salmon to your diet with this Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Salad recipe from Eatingwell.com. It’s a perfect dinner option that’s hearty, healthy and delicious.
While it’s not the ideal food choice for everyone, beef is an excellent choice of protein, which like many other options on our list, help speed muscle recover and growth. Beef is also high in iron, an essential element for runners as it helps the muscles use and store oxygen.
These Portobello-Smothered Beef Medallions from FitnessMagazine.com makes a great lunch or dinner. It’s made with beef tenderloin, olive oil, onions thyme and a little beef broth. Or why not try this Grilled Sirloin Steak With Spicy Rub and Chipotle Sauce from LaurasLeanBeef.com? With flavors from smoked paprika, basil, oregano, chili powder and turbinado sugar, this recipe is a protein packed dinner your whole family will love.
According to Running.About.com, “Sweet potatoes contain the always-important carbs and are an excellent source vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron.” Not to mention, potatoes are very versatile.
At just 303 calories, this Roasted Sweet Potato Salad from WomensHealthMagazine.com makes a wonderful lunch or dinner. Or get a little creative with this Sweet Potato Muffin recipe from RunnersWorld.com. Besides being super light and fluffy, these muffins are also packed nutrients, such as beta-carotene.
Are you a runner? What foods fuel you before and after your runs?