Move out of the way, brown rice. Quinoa is here to stay. Pronounced keen-wah, this gluten-free carb source is not a grain—it's a seed, or pseudo-grain. One of the only grain-like foods that contain all nine essential amino acids, quinoa is filled with complete proteins (5.57 grams of protein per 1 cup of cooked quinoa). In addition, quinoa is high in dietary fiber, which lowers bad cholesterol and boosts the good stuff while keeping wastes moving through your gut. Quinoa is also high in the minerals copper and manganese, both of which play a role in protecting the body from cancer and other free-radical damage, and promote bone health. Cook quinoa like you'd cook rice—for every 1 cup of quinoa, you'll need 2 cups of water. Season with sea salt to taste, and enjoy with whatever sounds appetizing.
Not just a summer fruit, watermelons should be a staple in every American diet. It's an excellent snack during race season. Due to its high content of vitamin C, watermelon is a sure-fire way to stay in tip-top shape and avoid getting sick during prolonged periods of intense training. Additionally, watermelon is hydrating because it's high in—you guessed it—water. You know a watermelon is ripe if it has a yellow or cream-colored "ground spot" (where the watermelon rested on the ground), and if it produces a dull thud when thumped. Fill up on watermelon before and after a run for an extra boost of carbs and hydration.
High in fiber, oat bran is one of those carbs that'll provide energy and nutrients while flushing your body clean of toxins. Oat bran contains 50 percent more soluble fiber than oatmeal, making it a better cholesterol-lowering agent, while moving wastes through the gut. In addition, oat bran contains more protein, vitamins and minerals than oatmeal. Because oat bran is high in fiber, it tends to expand in the stomach. That means you'll find yourself full for longer while the body has to work harder at digestion. Oat bran is delicious as a warm cereal for breakfast, but can also used as an ingredient in hearty pancakes, muffins and breads, or blended in to a smoothie for a pre-workout shake.
Hummus With Veggies
Garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas) are the main ingredient in hummus (with the addition of olive oil, tahini paste and salt). Hummus is filled with nutrients perfect for the avid runner including carbs, fiber, protein and healthy fats. One half-cup serving of hummus provides 17.5 grams of carbohydrates, 7.5 grams of fiber and 9.5 grams of protein.
Due to their high level of soluble fiber, garbanzo beans are digested slowly in the body, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and improve heart health. On top of that, hummus is a high-carb snack that's perfect pre- or post-run. Serve it with sliced veggies like carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers for an added nutritional bonus of vitamins and minerals.