If you are considering adding one of the running/biking/rowing/swimming challenges to participation in classes this summer, it may be time to refine your nutrient intake to optimize performance in both. This means venturing into the world of whole grain carbohydrates along with starchy vegetables and beans and lentils. Why? Skipping these and you risk that the protein you are eating will be burned for calories rather than building muscle.
Whole grains (eg, oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, barley, quinoa, farro, popcorn), starchy vegetables (eg, sweet potato, butternut squash, peas, corn, plantains), and lentils and beans offer essential carbs for energy during runs and WODs and for refueling muscles, not to mention, B vitamins, magnesium, and fiber. So, here are 3 suggestions to help make these versatile and nutritious foods part of your daily diet.
- Prepare and freeze. Grains, including oatmeal, can be prepared and frozen. Then just thaw and use.
- Freeze and prepare. Starchy vegetables, such as corn and green peas, can be purchased frozen and are an easy addition to a meal. Since it is summer, whole corn can be prepared, frozen, and then eaten in the future too.
- Season grains, lentils, and beans. Just like you would season other foods, don’t expect to enjoy a grain or beans without seasoning. Add:
- Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth and spices and seasonings while cooking.
- Diced tomatoes and jalapeño.
- Olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Here are a few recipes to help add nutritious carbs! Enjoy the running/biking/rowing/swimming challenge!
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN