When I had my first child back in 2005, I did a lot nesting in anticipation of his birth. Part of that was a major cleaning of our pantry. I basically took everything out onto the counter and threw out any foods that didn’t have some nutritional value. To put it bluntly, I got rid of the junk. I wanted to nourish my new family and lead by example. My husband was in agreement– bye, bye artificial ingredients! Shortly thereafter I started running and was bitten by the “run addict” bug.
I slowly lost my baby weight and was feeling strong, but some “junky” food items would creep back into my pantry. I hit a plateau in my running and started researching the best foods for runners. In 2007, I got really serious about my running and nutrition. I started winning my age group in local races and had never felt better. I noticed the connection between what I ate and how I performed.
I’m not here to claim that my pantry is the picture of perfect health, I try and keep it that way, but we have our moments. What I am here to say is that I try and have these 17 items on hand at all times so that when I do go to eat something, it’s a wholesome option for myself and my family.
1. Peanuts. As long as you don’t have an allergy, peanuts are the perfect snack to have on hand, especially for post run, to help rebuild muscles after a hard workout. They have 7 grams of protein and are a good source of fiber.
Peanuts feature a variety of other nutrients that have been shown to promote heart health and are high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats can help keep blood vessels supple and lower cholesterol. Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz. per day of most nuts, including peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of heart disease. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese.
I love nuts because there is NO prep required. You can grab them and eat right out of the container. They’re also great on top of oatmeal, yogurt, or in a salad for extra crunch. If you’re out of PB, no problem, blend these gems in a food processor and make your own. I swear by Planters Dry Roasted Unsalted because there is just one ingredient… PEANUTS!
2. Seeds. Chia, Hemp, Sunflower, and Pumpkin – seeds are loaded with protein, magnesium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin E. They also contain L-tryptophan, which promotes healthy sleeping patterns and lowers depression. Many seeds are also high in Selenium.
3. Oatmeal. One of the most perfect pre-run meals you can eat. Having oatmeal on hand works for runners. You can add to cookie recipes, muffins, and my favorite is making overnight oats and topping them with some Planters Peanuts.
4. Brown Rice. Another great pre-run fuel, brown rice can be made into a salad, a breakfast porridge, or all on it’s own. Many uses and full of healthy carbs that will keep your energy sustained.
5. Whole Grain Pasta. Great the night before a race or any time you need carbs. If wheat sensitive, look for quinoa or brown rice pasta.
6. Quinoa. Naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein. Great pre or post run.
7. Sweet Potatoes. An excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C and Magnesium. They boost the immune system, support healthy nerve function and are one of the healthiest forms of carbs out there.
8. Quick Barley. Cooks in 10 minutes and can be eaten a variety of ways. As a breakfast porridge, added to soups, or made into a salad.
9. Dried Fruit. I look for dried fruit that has no added sugar, and when I find it, I stock up. Whenever you crave a little something sweet, a piece of dried fruit is a great thing to have on hand in your pantry.
10. Honey. It has a very long shelf life and is an excellent natural choice for a sweetener. It’s an all natural energy booster and helps support the immune system. Some runners even use honey packets instead of energy gels on race day. I add it to overnight oats, chia pudding, or a little dash in my green tea.
11. Plant Based Protein Powder. A high quality plant based protein powder is a workhorse in the pantry. It’s convenient to mix up a smoothie post run or as an add in to your baking recipes.
12. Spices (Turmeric & Salt). Spices add flavor to food without a lot of calories, and many of them have health benefits that are especially useful to runners. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory which aids in the recovery process.
13. Lentils. A good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin, and vitamin K, as well as particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate, and iron. Protein is essential to rebuilding muscles. Folate is important because it plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. Iron is key, especially in female athletes, as it helps metabolize proteins and plays a role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells.
14. Beans. A great source of vegan protein and an inexpensive alternative to meat. Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and zinc. They are a wonderful double whammy of slow burning carbohydrate that allow you to have sustained energy and quality protein to rebuild muscles post-workout.
15. Healthy Fats & Oils. Coconut, Olive, Avocado, Walnut are just a few of the healthy fats to add into your diet. Loaded with Omegas, unsaturated fats that help aid lowering cholesterol. Healthy fats also keep you feeling “full” longer.
16. Apple Cider Vinegar. Helps to keep your body PH balanced and to supports a healthy immune system, also a natural energy booster. I take a tablespoon mixed with honey and water every day, especially the weeks leading up to, and following, a race.
17. Green Tea. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function and the body’s ability to burn fat, which is key for endurance runners.
[bctt tweet=”17 Pantry Staples That Every Runner Needs! #Peanutpower #FitFluential #ad”]
To view the full line of products, please visit Planters.com and follow Mr. Peanut on Facebook at Facebook.com/MrPeanut or on Twitter at @MrPeanut.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Planters . The opinions and text are all mine.