The best way to eat a healthy diet and fuel your body for exercise is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. The center aisles of a grocery store are filled with packaged and processed food, which are high in sugar and unnecessary ingredients to sustain a healthy life.
The perimeter is where you’ll usually find the produce, meats, fish, dairy, and the fresh bakery. It takes effort at first to train your cart not to dip into the chip aisle, but soon enough your body won’t crave the empty calories.
To help you with your food choices and to gain a better understanding of which healthy foods to incorporate in your running life, Sotiria Tzakas-Everett, a sports nutritionist for the Women’sSports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery, has offered ten power foods for running. All these foods are easy to find at most grocery stores and offer a great start to better nutrition and health:
1. Fat-free Greek yogurt: Thick, creamy, and filling with almost double the protein of regular yogurt, this delicious food is also a good source of calcium (about 200 mg) and probiotics, to keep bones and the digestive system healthy. Greek yogurt is also versatile. It can be used in fruit and vegetable dip recipes, as a sour cream alternative, or as a snack with some granola.
2. Nuts and nut butters: An energy-boosting, meat-free alternative for protein,while offering heart-healthy nutrients such as vitamin E, folate, and omega-3s, nuts are wonderful portable snacks, and nut butters can be included in sandwiches and baking recipes, added to smoothies, or mixed into oatmeal. Be mindful of portions, and choose unsalted raw nuts and nut butters without added salt and sugar.
3. Dark leafy greens: Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are often considered s ome of the healthiest foods since they are packedwith a variety of vitamins (A and K), minerals (iron and calcium), fiber, and
antioxidants. These greens are easy to prepare and can be eaten raw in salads, chopped and sautéed in olive oil, or even incorporated in fruit and vegetable smoothies.
4. Beans: Another versatile and meat-free protein source, beans, such as garbanzo, kidney, and black beans, offer the most fiber per serving of most other foods, to help keep you full and your gut healthy. They are also a
source of important nutrients for active women, such as folate, iron, and magnesium.
5. Blueberries: This vibrant fruit is rich in polyphenols, which have antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties, in addition to fiber and vitamin C.
Choose fresh when in season or frozen. Enjoy on their own, or as a topping for cereals and yogurt.
6. Bananas: A go-to food for many runners since they are high in carbs and potassium, and are easier to digest than some other fruit, bananas come in nature’s perfect package and can be tossed into any bag, ready to eat
before a run.
7. Oatmeal: Plain, old-fashioned oats are best to gain the fullest amount of fiber without the added flavors or sugar. Oatmeal provides long-lasting energy in the form of complex carbs and fiber, which is perfect before a
workout. Cook with milk or a milk alternative to add calcium and protein.
8. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3s, plus fiber, protein, and potassium. Flaxseeds can be purchased whole or ground and make easy additions to baked goods, yogurt, cereals, salads, and
9. Fatty fish: Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are some of the best sources of heart-healthy omega-3s and healthy proteins. Buy them fresh or canned for an easy addition to salads and sandwiches. Canned sardines and salmon are also a source of calcium.
10. Sweet potatoes: Another low-fat, high-fiber healthy carb, sweet potatoes are rich in potassium and are a source of vitamin C and iron. Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed simply baked or roasted.