Live Better
 
 

Top 10 foods to fill a runner’s shopping basket

Fuel up for your run with delicious, nourishing foods. Sports Dietitians Australia shares some ideas.

A supermarket stocks over 30,000 different products, but most of us grab the same items every time. So before your next dash to the shops, add the following ten items to your shopping list.

1. Wholegrain cereals

This includes quinoa, rice, wholegrain bread, wholegrain pasta, bulgur, barley and other wholegrain cereals. These foods provide long-lasting sources of carbohydrate for fuel and recovery and are also a valuable source of fibre, protein, thiamin, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin and zinc in the Australian diet. There is some fear fuelled by misconceptions that carbohydrate foods should be minimised or avoided. While there is a ‘grain of truth’ to decreasing our portion sizes and frequency of highly processed carbohydrates, whole-grain foods should be consumed daily to meet exercise requirements, provide other essential nutrients and promote bowel health.

2. Beans and legumes

Legumes (also known as pulses) include all forms of beans and peas and come in dried, canned, cooked and frozen varieties. Legumes provide a range of essential nutrients including protein, low glycemic (GI) carbohydrates, dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. They are also an economical dietary source of good quality protein and are higher in protein than most other plant foods. Legumes have about twice the protein content of cereal grains and are essential for those who choose to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. They are also gluten free and are suitable for people with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.

3. Salmon

Salmon is considered to be one of nature’s super-foods as it is a rich source of the Omega 3 fatty acids EPA & DHA. Just two serves per week provides the recommended intake of Omega 3 which research has shown is beneficial for heart health and a range of conditions. It has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits which are particularly important for those who love to run, being a high impact sport on susceptible joints.

4. Lean meat

Small portions of good-quality lean meat (e.g. lean red meat, chicken, turkey and lean pork) are essential to include over the week. Recreational endurance athletes require slightly more protein than their sedentary counterparts, but it is important to include small quantities of protein-containing foods spread out evenly over the day. This is important for satiety (fullness in between meals) recovery and the maintenance of iron stores, particularly in women who are susceptible to low iron levels.

5. Nuts

Most nuts (apart from chestnuts) contain essential fatty acids and are particularly high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The fat profile of nuts varies from one type to another. Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pecans and pistachios are higher in monounsaturated fats while Brazil nuts, pine nuts and walnuts have more polyunsaturated fats. Walnuts are one of the few plant foods that contain the essential omega-3 fat, ALA, with a handful (30g) of walnuts providing the recommended amounts of ALA. Smaller amounts are found in pecans, hazelnuts and macadamias. Just avoid the salted or candied nuts in general and enjoy a small handful as a snack every day!

6. Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient dense food, being a natural source of at least 11 different vitamins and minerals. A serve of two eggs provides the same amount of kilojoules as two small apples while providing nutrients including selenium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, iodine and riboflavin, vitamin E, iron and thiamine. Eggs are also rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Great served poached or boiled on sourdough toast for a tasty recovery meal or cold-boiled as a mid-afternoon snack.

7. Dairy

Milk proteins, along with other animal proteins, are considered high biological value (HBV). That is, they contain large amounts of essential amino acids in a form that is readily digested. Financial support of the dairy industry has facilitated significant research into the value of dairy proteins. Dairy protein is comprised mainly of casein (80%), with smaller amounts of whey (20%). It is the whey protein which is particularly high in leucine, an essential amino acid thought to “switch on” the body’s muscle-building machinery. One to two serves of dairy post-exercise (e.g. a tub of yoghurt and a glass of milk) and as snacks throughout the day is a delicious way to recover after running or other exercise!

8. Frozen berries

The compounds that give berries their deep colours are called anthocyanins – a powerful group of antioxidants that may assist with recovery and muscle repair. Not bad for a mere 60 calories (240kJ) per cup! Frozen berries are just as nutritious as fresh ones, but they keep for much longer (up to nine months in the freezer) making it easy to have them ready to eat, no matter what time of the year!

9. Frozen veggie mixes

For convenience and an array of different colours on your plate in an instant! They will save you time in preparation (allowing you the time to get out for a run in the first place!) and pack in the nutrients that their fresh counterparts provide. Make sure that you keep them handy in your freezer for those quick meals.

10. Dark chocolate

Chocolate contains potent antioxidants called flavonols that has been shown to boost heart health. Other research suggests that the chocolate flavonols may ease inflammation and may also help to signal the end of a meal. Dark chocolate (the darker the better) generally contains more flavonols than milk chocolate, but this is no excuse for gluttony! Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate most days and opt for individually wrapped portions if portion control is an issue.

This runner’s shopping basket was provided by Sports Dietitians Australia

Latest Articles

Exercise

How to start riding or walking to work

Fit exercise into your day on the way to work.

Read more
Exercise

Why women should do weights

Strength training isn’t just for muscle bros.

Read more
Exercise

Why getting active as a family is so good for you

From a weekend bike ride to playing chasey in the backyard.

Read more
Experts

What are Kegels?

And why you need to do them.

Read more
Exercise

How sport can inspire recovery and connection

Jocelyn takes aim at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

Read more
youtubeui-checkbox-tickui-checkbox-emptyui-checkbox-crosstwitterui-checkbox-tickWellbeing and mindfulness 1Physical Health 1Positive psychology 101 1Wellbeing and mindfulness 4All about gut health 1Understanding Genetics 4Planning for Pregnancy 2During Pregnancy 3The mind-gut connection 4The mind-gut connection 1New Parents 3Page 1Group 10During Pregnancy 2Page 1Physical Health 2Planning for Pregnancy 1Positive psychology 101 1Positive psychology 101 4Planning for Pregnancy 4Understanding Genetics 1Physical Health 4Planning for Pregnancy 3Nutrition 4New Parents 1New Parents 3 CopyMovement for your mind 4Wellbeing and mindfulness 2Nutrition 2sob-icon__mind-bodysob-icon__man-with-laptopAll about gut health 2Positive psychology 101 3Positive psychology 101 2Physical Health 3Wellbeing and mindfulness 3All about gut health 3genetics-changing-what-your-givenUnderstanding Genetics 2During Pregnancy 1Movement for your mind 2Movement for your mind 1Movement for your mind 3During Pregnancy 4