The 10 Best Carbohydrate Sources for Runners
Here are some ideas from P2 Personal Training for eating and drinking the best carbohydrate sources for runners. Eat and drink these items to up your carbohydrate intake and reap their performance benefits.
Runners need a lot of carbohydrates. Why? Because your muscles are fueled primarily on carbohydrates when you run hard. Thus, sports nutrition experts generally recommend that runners get approximately 60 percent of their daily calories from carbohydrates.
But you need to get the right kinds of carbs at the right times. Immediately before, during, and after exercise, fast-acting high-glycemic carbs are best. At all other times, your carbs should come from low- glycemic foods that provide longer-lasting energy and are packed with lots of other nutrition.
Bananas are easy to eat and digest and are loaded with fast- acting cabs. One large banana provides 31 grams of carbs.
Bananas make perfect pre- or post – exercise snack. Make sure you have your banana with some sort of protein after exercise to promote muscle recovery and repair.
Strawberries, blueberries, and other berries are among the most nutritious sources of carbohydrates. They are rich in vitamins, mineral, and phytonutrients that promote health and performance in all kinds of ways. Berries are not the most concentrated source of carbs, however a full cup of strawberries contains just 12 grams, so don't rely on them to heavily to meet your daily carbohydrate needs.
Cereal grains such as brown rice are among the richest sources of carbohydrates. Whole grain such as brown rice are considered healthier than refined grains such as white rice because they contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also absorbed more slowly because their glycemic index is lower, so they provide more lasting energy and promote less fat storage.
Real energy bars the kind designed specifically for use before, during, and after exercise are great for fueling and refueling around workouts as they provide abundant, fast energy. Before and after workouts, choose bars that are high in cabs, moderate in protein, and low in fat and fiber. With 44 grams of carbs. 3.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of fiber, power bar performance is a good example. For snacking, choose bars made from real food- fruit, nuts, and whole grains.
Low-fat milk-based foods such as yogurt are very rich sources of cabs. A six-ounce serving of low-fat blueberry yogurt supplies 26 grams of carbs. Low-fat yogurt is a better choice before and immediately after exercise because it has a higher glycemic index, so the carbs go to work quickly. Most yogurts, even those with fruit in them, contain added sugar, which is totally unnecessary and less healthy. So try to stay with brands with no added sugar.
Old Fashioned Oatmeal
Old fashioned oatmeal is an ideal pre-exercise breakfast choice. It's easy to eat and digest and provides a ton of carbs; one half cup gives you a whopping 54 grams! Add a sliced banana and wash it down with a glass of OJ and you'll take in 100 plus grams of carbs.
Sport drinks such as Gatorade and Accelerade provides the carbs you need to fuel your muscles during exercise, along with water and electrolytes for hydration plus protein to reduce muscle damage, in the case of Accelerade. Because they are high in sugar, though, these products should only be used immediately before, during and right after workouts and races.
Tomato sauce is rich source of carbohydrate at roughly 21 grams per cup, as well as various vitamins and minerals and antioxidants such as lycopene. Studies have shown that thanks to these antioxidants, regular tomato sauce eaters have a lower risk for certain diseases, including prostate cancer in men.
Whole grain breads
Whole grain breads are your better choice. One slice has 12 grams of carbohydrates, but they have more fiber, vitamins and minerals, and lower glycemic index to give you longer lasting energy. Just note that even most whole-grain breads have added sugar, try to find the brands that don't.
Whole grain pasta
One cup of whole wheat spaghetti provides 37 grams of carbohydrates. As with other grain-based foods, whole-grain pasta supplies more nutrition, yields longer-lasting energy, and promotes less fat storage than regular pasta. Serve it with protein, such as shellfish, turkey meatballs, and you get a lower meal for even longer-lasting energy.
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