More Food Choices To Run Away From
Nutrition is no easy battle. Even the most experienced dieticians and health specialists aren’t total masters of putting the right fuel into their bodies, though they are close. Science has only come so far to help us determine what to eat and what not to eat. Plus, we’re always faced with the constant temptation of unhealthy foods with flashy marketing schemes and bright, eye-catching advertisements at the grocery store. Consistently getting the quality nutrition that your body needs to push yourself and perform your best is easier said than done, but we do understand enough about nutrition to help guide your dietary habits.
Be Mindful Of What You Put Into Your Body
There are so many seemingly healthy foods out there that actually aren’t very good for us, despite how they’re advertised or perceived. As a runner or an active athlete, you probably have a pretty good idea of what kind of nutrients your body needs, but you might actually be surprised at what you once thought was healthy for you to eat before your workouts. Think about eating the right foods as a form of cross-training for runners or athletes, in which your nutrition matters as much as your workouts do.
The Real Runner is happy to support a healthy diet as a strength training program for runners. With our low-impact cardio workout, we specialize in helping people running with bad knees and reducing the pain in knees after running. Discover more about this awesome runner’s workout by checking out The Real Runner in action!
To continue our series on exercise nutrition, let’s continue breaking down some foods that are actually less-than-healthy.
Packaged Deli Meat
A staple for sandwich lovers and those who need a quick lunch fix, deli meat is great for a ready-to-eat protein that you can take on the go. After all, by making lunch at home as opposed to eating out, you’re saving calories and money, right? While that is true, deli meat isn’t the best source of protein to fuel your day, and especially your workout.
Packaged deli meats actually hide a number of added salt and nitrates that are used to preserve their freshness and color. As a healthier alternative to convenient meat-based protein, consider buying a ready-to-go rotisserie chicken or cook up a turkey breast that’s lean in fat and high in protein.
This is a tough one. ‘Trail mix’ is a rather broad term, and depending on what you have in the mix, it could be nutrient-packed or it could be bad for your long-term health. Many ready-to-go, store-bought trail mixes are often loaded with sugar in the form of chocolate chips, M&Ms, candied fruit, or yogurt-covered nuts. The best way to ensure that your trail mix is actually assisting your workouts is to make it yourself. It’s pretty easy, too - just buy the right ingredients, mix them together in a bowl, and portion them accordingly. Check out this power trail mix recipe from Runner’s World that’s a verified, healthy way to get an energy boost before your runs or workouts. Packed with Vitamin E, health-building antioxidants and trace minerals, you’ll thank us later after you try it out.
Who doesn’t love a good, salty pretzel? Hard pretzels are fairly cheap and easy to snack on, and they’re also quite delicious (don’t even get us started on soft pretzels). While seemingly wholesome, these salty snacks lack healthy fiber and fat, meaning that you can destroy half a bag and still feel hungry. At an average of 250 calories per 10 hard, twisty pretzels, these empty calories aren’t doing you or your workouts any favors.
Instead, opt to snack on truly wholesome, nutritionally-dense fruits and vegetables instead. Not only will you feel better going into your workouts, but your sense of accomplishment after you smash your personal record will be a better feeling than eating even the most delicious foods.
Known colloquially as “Froyo,” this dairy treat swept the nation in the late 2000s and early 2010s (apparently, that’s what we’re calling it now). While frozen yogurt is a tried-and-true healthier alternative to ice cream, it’s not great pre or post-exercise fuel. Most type of frozen yogurt tends to be low-fat, but they’re high in sugar and the calories tend to add up.
To put frozen yogurt in perspective, most nonfat “original” or “plain” flavors (typically the lowest-calorie flavors available at shops) fall around 30-35 calories per ounce with about 20g of sugar. This means that a large 16-ounce cup weighs in at 380 calories and a whopping 76g of sugar - and that’s before you even add any toppings. Yikes!
Energy bars are similar to trail mix in the sense that they’re highly generalized. While some nutrition bars are actually minimally-processed and contain ingredients that naturally sustain energy, others are chalked full of sugar and unhealthy fats. Protein bars are, of course, calorie-dense to help you gain muscle, but if you’re chowing down on them right after a light workout or eating them if you’re not exercising, that’s bad news bears. Be wary of add-ins and processed ingredients, and, if possible, only eat nutrition bars as a quick nutrient-fix when you’re highly active.
Use Your Fuel And Burn It On Our Low-Impact Cross Training Machine!
When you’re properly fueled up, you’ll get the best performance when it comes to endurance running, running with bad knees, or doing anything else related to cross training for runners. Learn more about what The Real Runner and low-impact running can do for you.