When you have the right combo of foods in your nourishment regime, there’s no doubt you can entirely punch above your weight. Eating the right type of foods that will fuel you, will give you energy and make your move routine stronger and superior. The best part? Sustained energy throughout your workout. No soaring energy spikes here!
Including complex carbohydrates, quality protein, fibre & healthy fats is a great move. These foods are the building blocks to give your body the energy and nourishment it needs to run at an optimal level.
Get to know carbohydrates:
They’re foods that are digested into sugars which breakdown to become glucose (the body’s favourite fuel source). Simple carbs burn quickly and complex carbs give a slow release of nutrients and energy – what you want when starting endurance activity.
We know what you’re thinking… Complex carbohydrates sound like they are tiny grains that spend all day contemplating their life purpose. But instead of being a grain with persona, they are a group of nutritious and fibre rich foods that give us slow sustained energy through the day to keep us nourished and fuller for longer.
|What they are:||What they’re not:|
|Brown rice||White rice, bread, pasta|
|Whole grain breads||Fruits|
|Starchy vegetables such as sweet potato||Berries|
|Beans, peas & lentils||Donuts|
|Whole grain oats||Candy|
**Our tip: healthy carbs are much higher in fibre than simple carbs, so when looking at the fibre content on the back of a nutrition label, look for how much fibre they contain. Find about more about fuelling your body with carbs here!
Protein is super important for avid runners, especially because it’s what your muscles are made from. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of your entire being. Your diet needs adequate protein to promote fast recovery after your workouts and to build new muscle. Some proteins are better than others though – especially those that include a full amino acid profile, essential nutrients and healthy fat profiles. One of the best sources of protein is the humble egg! They contain about 10% of your daily protein needs. It’s also one of the few foods to contain all the essential amino acid profiles your body needs to promote recovery. Eating just one of these bona fide superfoods and you’ll also get a good dose of vitamin K, which is vital for healthy bones.
Fibre should be a runner’s best friend. It slows down the digestive system, which in turn gives your body a steadier supply of energy and nutrients. Good quality fibre comes in two forms. Soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre is the indigestible roughage of fruits and vegetables (the skin) and its main role is to keep the digestive system healthy by stabilizing your glucose and cholesterol levels.
Soluble fibre is found within the plant cells and travels to your gut where it is also goes by the name of ‘resistant starch’. It’s starchy foods such as potatoes and lentils that resist normal digestion in the small intestine. It’s super important for bowel health and the bacteria in your gut (the good guys) ferment and change the resistant starch into short chain fatty acids. This essentially means food for your gut bacteria. We gotta think about nourishing them too!
For runners, the problem with fibre is that it can create a feeling of fullness in the stomach. Exercise can make this worse – so how do you reap the benefits of fibre without experiencing some of it’s uncomfortable side effects? Timing is everything. It takes 2 hours for fibre to leave your stomach and work its way into the intestine so you need to plan your intake accordingly. If you run in the evenings then fibre will be your best friend earlier in the day at breakfast and lunch. The best way to have your fibre is a little at each meal. Throw away that peeler! And keep the skin on all your fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to give it a good scrub when you get it home from the market.
Good healthy fats
Healthy fats in endurance sports may be one of the most misconstrued nutrients. There are some who totally shun it and others who embrace it. We need fats for three primary reasons: to provide our body with essential fat-soluble vitamins, to provide essential fatty acids and to meet the energy requirements in high intensity workouts. The golden children of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, assist with a decrease in recovery time following endurance exercise. Mild inflammation can occur in muscles and joints when the immune system becomes busy with breaking down dead and damaged cells.
**Fit fun fact: Almonds are a great healthy fat source and also contain vitamin E, an antioxidant crucial for runners who may fall short on, as it’s found in few foods.
Now you’ve got the know-how, you can check out the Foods That Fuel Shopping List:
Fruits & veggies
- Sweet potato
- Frozen mixed berries
- Young coconuts
Nuts & seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
Meat & Poultry
- Grass fed beef
- Seafood such as salmon
Dairy & eggs
- Full fat natural yogurt
- Free range eggs
- Raw whey protein
- Pea & brown rice protein
- Brown rice
- Whole grain rolled oats
- Kidney beans
- Cannellini beans
- Peanut butter
- Tinned tomatoes
- Basil pesto
- Coconut oil
- Ground coriander seed
- Coriander, parsley, basil, chives
- Nutritional yeast
- Dulse Flakes
- Chick peas
What would be on your foods that fuel shopping list?
Download our the full Foods that Fuel Shopping List to nourish your body from the inside out!