#1 Nuts and seeds
Packed with protein, antioxidants, fibre and healthy fats, nuts and seeds are an excellent hunger buster. They are delicious sprinkled over stir-fries, soups, salads, breakfast cereal and yoghurt, or as a snack on their own. Avoid nuts that are roasted in oil or have added salt or sugar.
Berries are packed with fibre and vitamins C and E, and they are one of the richest sources of antioxidants. What’s more, their bright colours make them look appetizing, and they taste great. There are a number of different varieties you can enjoy with cereal, yoghurt, or as a snack on their own, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
Eggs contain a wide range of nutrients such as iron, vitamins A, B, E and D, and antioxidants. Eggs also contain more protein per gram than any other food, helping to repair muscle tissue. If your blood cholesterol levels are within the healthy range, and you limit other saturated fats in the diet, 5–7 eggs a week should be fine. Just be wary of the foods that accompany them, such as frying oil, butter, salt, sausages, bacon, hollandaise sauce and hash browns.
#4 Fish and seafood
Your health and wellbeing will benefit greatly from eating fish and seafood. High in protein and vitamin D, fish and seafood also contain omega-3 fatty acids which are essential fatty acids for your body. When prepared in a healthy manner, fish and seafood consumed at least twice a week can be a tasty, low kilojoule addition to any runner’s diet.
Avocados are one of nature’s richest sources of healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also rich in soluble fibre, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. While avocados are high in kilojoules, small amounts are a healthy alternative to butter and margarine on bread. They are can be a tasty addition to salads and dips.
One of the easiest and healthiest ways to eat more whole grains is to have oats. They are a good source of fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Being a whole grain, they are also a low GI carbohydrate, so they may help your performance by slowly releasing glucose, which helps to provide a steady stream of energy. Eaten as muesli in summer, porridge in winter, or even added to soups and smoothies, oats are a versatile and delicious.
Garlic has a good reputation for preventing colds and flu, so it’s ideal for runners who train on cold, wet and windy mornings. Garlic is rich in manganese, vitamin B1, B6, C and protein. It is also a good source of antioxidants, which helps explain its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Garlic is fantastic roasted or sliced and stir-fried, while minced garlic that comes in a jar can be easily added to a soup, casserole or stir fry when you’re short on time.
#8 Green leafy vegetables
These vegetables are rich in nutrients and low in kilojoules. They include spinach, bok choy, broccolini and brussels sprouts. They are loaded with phytonutrients, vitamin A, C and K, antioxidants, fibre and minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Include them in salads, soups and stir-fries, or puree them and add them to sauces. Just don’t smother them in fatty cheese sauces.
#9 Skim milk
Skim milk is lower in kilojoules and up to forty times lower in saturated fat than full cream milk. It’s basically a well priced sports drink, being high in protein and vitamin D. Skim milk is also high in calcium, a mineral that’s important for your bones. Ideal on cereal, in smoothies and in soups, skim milk is a great training food for runners.
#10 Cannellini beans
Also known as white kidney beans, cannellini beans are rich in fibre and protein, minerals and B vitamins. They are also a very low GI food, making them an ideal source of fuel for runners. A staple in soups such as of minestrone, cannellini beans are also a great addition to salads, and they can also be blended into a tasty dip.