Runners shouldn’t skimp on calories, even if they are trying to lose weight. No matter what, depriving yourself of calories during any activity is a bad idea. However, running on empty calories will especially drive your muscles into exhaustion. As a result of too few calories, runners won’t be able to go as far or as fast. You will lose muscle, slow down your metabolism, and bring weight loss to a stand still. Nutrition is key for runners!
An ideal runner’s diet include tons of superfoods that deliver a variety of nutrients and healthy calories. Like all athletes, runners need a nutrient-heavy diet to keep muscles and endurance in top shape. These 7 superfoods for runners are great for anyone doing long stretches of cardio. They provide carbs for quick energy, protein for recovery, and essential nutrients for optimal function.
This popular fruit is a great snack for runners. Not only does it contain natural sugars for energy, but it’s also rich in potassium. When you lead an active lifestyle, your body uses up its stores of potassium. Athletes are among those most often suffering from potassium deficiency. So, combat low-potassium by having a pre-workout banana. You can even use banana in your protein smoothies.
Recipe to Try: Almond Butter & Banana Sandwiches
Eating a serving of oatmeal about two hours before a run can help delay fatigue. High-carbohydrate oats provide long-lasting energy so that your stomach won’t start rumbling mid-run. And despite its fiber content, oatmeal doesn’t sit heavy on the stomach, making it ideal for pre-workout meals.
Recipe to Try: Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Eggs are a favorite among athletes because they contain all the essential amino acids. Amino acids, often called the building blocks of protein, are necessary for strengthening and repairing muscle tissue. Try having extra servings of eggs on days when you go for long runs.
Recipe to Try: 5-Ingredient Baked Egg Mushrooms
4. Green Tea
Green tea always pulls double duty. It has antioxidants to keep you healthy and caffeine to keep you energized. To reap the benefits of green tea, try drinking a cup about 20 to 30 minutes before a run. Additionally, research suggests that tea drinkers burn more calories throughout the day because the caffeine provides a subtle metabolism boost.
Recipe to Try: Orange Pomegranate Green Tea
Spinach boasts an impressive nutritional profile. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, as well as a good portion of protein. One of the main benefits of spinach is its iron content. Many women are deficient in iron because of nutrient loss related to menstruation. Iron deficiency causes fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. Replace lettuce with higher-nutrient spinach for a handy iron boost.
Recipe to Try: Spinach Sauté with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins
These legumes are nutritional powerhouses! A cup of lentils contains around 35% of your recommended daily iron intake, with 16 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein. All of this for under 250 calories. Lentils are ideal as part of your post-run meal.
Recipe to Try: Spanish Lentil Salad
7. Greek Yogurt
Non-fat Greek yogurt is loaded with protein. A single cup has over 20 grams! Greek yogurt is easy to work into almost any meal. Top with fruit and seeds for a creamy high-protein breakfast, add it to your pre- or post-workout smoothie, or turn it into dessert with some sweetener and chocolate shavings.
Recipe to Try: Peanut Butter Yogurt Honey Dip