Whether you’re training for your first 10k or seeking a new PR, nutrition plays a big role in meeting your fitness goals. Properly fueling your body before, during and after running is key to how you perform and recover from your workouts, while your food choices throughout the week impact your energy levels, body composition, and overall health.
Good nutrition starts in the grocery store! And it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to eat healthily. Good Measure Meals registered dietitian, Alissa Palladino, shares her top nutritious staples to add to your list for a successful training season.
Whether you opt for steel cut, old fashioned, quick cooking or instant, all forms of oatmeal provide complex carbs for energy, and iron, a mineral that delivers oxygen to muscles. Oats also contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which keeps your heart healthy by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.
There’s a reason this fruit is such a common favorite among runners. Inexpensive, portable, and packed with easily digestible carbs, bananas make the perfect pre-run snack. They’re also an excellent source of potassium, a key mineral involved in heart and muscle contraction as well as regulating blood pressure. Bought too many? Freeze ripe bananas and blend in a food processor for a nutritious alternative to ice cream. Or use in baking to replace some of the fat in your favorite recipe.
Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet and while fresh is best, it’s not always realistic or practical when you’re juggling a busy lifestyle. That’s where frozen veggies come in. Flash frozen right after picking, frozen vegetables retain high nutrient levels, and you don’t have to worry about them going bad. Consider “steam in the bag” and single-serve versions for added convenience.
Peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
Peanut and other nut butter are nutritional powerhouses, providing heart-healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium, and B-vitamins. Keep an extra jar in your office, and consider purchasing single-serve versions for convenience and portion control. Pair with fruit, add to oatmeal, throw into a smoothie, or enjoy the classic PB&J combo on bread for an easy, energy-packed meal.
Tuna contains heart-healthy omega-3 fats that decrease inflammation and promote recovery. Canned or bagged tuna is a versatile protein source since it doesn’t require refrigeration; it can be easily added to a salad, stuffed into a pita, or enjoyed with whole grain crackers for a satisfying meal or snack. Combine with plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo for a healthier tuna salad.
Inexpensive, versatile and one of the best protein source available, eggs also contain choline and are one of the few food sources of vitamin D, which enhances calcium absorption, promotes mood and aids in metabolism. Pair hard-boiled eggs with fruit for a grab-and-go breakfast or quick post-workout snack; enjoy scrambled eggs with toast for a nutritious recovery meal; or make an omelet and let it be a vehicle for added veggies such as spinach, peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
Another runner staple, with good reason, pasta is an excellent source of complex carbs to boost muscle glycogen and fuel your runs. Try whole wheat or bean versions for more fiber, protein, and other nutrients. However, you may want to stick with traditional white pasta the night before a big race, particularly if you have a sensitive stomach, to prevent GI distress.
For those weeks where you don’t have time to hit the grocery store – let Good Measure Meals do the cooking for you! Locally prepared and delivered fresh across the Atlanta metro area, Good Measure Meals offers convenience, variety, good nutrition, and great taste! Use code MIZUNO at checkout to save 10% on your first order.
Alissa Palladino, MS, RDN, LD, ACSM-CPT
Alissa is a Registered Dietitian at Good Measure Meals where she helps people achieve and maintain their health goals. A veggie lover and avid runner with a number of half and full marathons under her belt, she believes the best form of exercise is the one you enjoy and the best nutrition plan is one that fits into your lifestyle.
Published: May 2019