Carbs, carbs and more carbs. Runners need them (actually we ALL do).
Carbs are so important for all of our bodies whether we’re a distance runner or not (of course, distance athletes need more of them). Carbohydrates play a really key role in muscle health and recovery, blood sugar super-storage (called glycogen), hormone regulation (namely cortisol), energy and so much more.
With the marathon coming up this weekend, I’ve been thinking so much about how important it is to fuel our amazing bodies (I’m always thinking of it actually, but walking through the finish line in Central Park every morning really gets me thinking). Food for runners and other distance athletes is often packaged, branded food… but what about natural, earth-grown carby foods that are often forgotten.
That’s exactly why I’m writing this for you guys right now.
You see, yes those foods that are packaged for runners are GREAT, but they’re also expensive, and often loaded with extra garbage. So whether you’re running the marathon or are just inspired to run longer or workout longer (or do so anyway), here’s my list of 5 natural vegan carby foods for athletes.
But before I give you my list, here’s a few fast-facts for fueling with carbs around your exercise:
- The best time to get the carbs into your system is within 30-45 mins of crossing the finish line (or getting off the machine), this is when your system absorbs carbs the most efficiently (if you’re not training for something- just eat your regular meal, including carbs, after you workout).
- Carb-loading really should be reserved for athletes- the rest of us should just include some healthy carbs in our day
- Aim for about 20-30 grams of carbs if you’re trying to refuel a basic exercise (marathoners, you need more)
- You can also choose beverages that have carbs instead of eating these items!
5 great vegan carby foods for athletes
Pressure cooked or sprouted beans.
- Beans are a great source of carbs and more easily-digestible fiber. For easy digestion try them soaked or sprouted (less-lectin too!).
Starchy seasonal produce.
- Yep! You’re in luck, there are LOADS of good options at this time of year, like carrots, squashes, and sweet potatoes.
Un-sulphered dried or dehydrated fruits.
- Dates, figs, raisins, mangoes, pineapple. But watch that there’s no added sugar.
- I love this combo- either alone or as a pair. Loaded with antioxidants and naturally occuring healthy carbs, these two make for a great option- try it as a juice.
- I love oatmeal, just like this one, and when it’s sprouted it has more protein, a little more fiber, and loads of carbs. But just like the beans, is more easily digested.
As a note, none of these foods above (except #3 and #4) should be had RIGHT after working out, give it a little time. Our tummies aren’t great at digesting complex carbs right after we workout.
Good luck to all you athletes! And remember, carbs are our really important for us.