Posts Tagged ‘carbs’

Farmers markets can help you stock up on a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Running is a demanding cardio exercise that burns carbs and fat in your body for energy. If you are lacking in nutrients, your running performance will suffer. On the flip side, just because you’re following a running program doesn’t mean you can devour all fast food, desserts and snacks in sight without gaining weight.

Here are some basic tips to help you eat a nutritious diet to stay energized and healthy for your runs:

  1. Carbs are your friend. Carbs are the first form of fuel your body burns while running, and you will feel weak, light-headed and even faint without carbs for energy on your runs. Although a popular weight loss method is cutting some or all carbs from your diet, if you do, your body will go into starvation mode and start to burn your muscles for fuel. Drastically cutting your carbs also increases your chance of weight gain once you return to eating a regular diet.
  2. Mix up your diet. You want to eat a variety of foods from all of the food groups, including grains, vegetables, fruit, protein and dairy sources. Check out the USDA’s Daily Food Plan to help you figure out how much and what type of food to eat each day based on your age, sex, weight, height and activity level.
  3. Eat whole grains. The USDA recommends consuming at least half of your daily grains in the form of whole grains. Whole grains offer your body nutrient-rich carbohydrates that have more vitamins and minerals than refined grains, which have been processed. Some healthy whole grains for runners include oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, popcorn, whole wheat pasta, wild rice, cracked wheat and whole grain cornmeal.
  4. Go for “good” fats. There are healthy fats and unhealthy fats, and the good fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — can help lower your cholesterol, improve your heart health and lessen inflammation in your body. Good fats are found in mostly plant sources of food, such as avocados, vegetable oils, seeds and nuts, as well as in fish. “Bad” fats — saturated and trans fats — are found mainly in animal sources such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, as well as in fried foods and processed desserts. Bad fats can clog your arteries, cause weight gain and trigger heart problems. Cut all trans fats from your diet and limit your saturated fat intake.
  5. Cut empty calories from your diet. Reduce and eliminate low-nutrient foods from your diet, such as sweetened drinks, alcohol, candy, fried foods and baked desserts. Eating high-calorie foods with low nutritional value will not fill you up but will add excess calories to your diet, which can cause you to gain weight as well as feel sluggish and tired on your runs.