Not just for vegans and vegetarians, starchy vegetables, beans and legumes are fantastic sources of carbohydrates for all endurance athletes. Foods like corn, peas, yams, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beans and lentils provide wholesome, easy sources of nutrient-packed energy for pre- and post-workout fuel.
Legume-based salads are among the quickest, most convenient ways to build up your glycogen stores while also getting protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals—particularly if you use canned or already-cooked beans, lentils and peas. Simply rinse and drain the legumes to get rid of excess salt, and you're well on your way to creating nutritious, meat-free, carb-filled lunches and dinners.
A long-time spa cuisine trick, pureed beans, fruits and vegetables can also serve as great stand-ins for a lot of the oil, butter and other fats used in baked goods. When you replace most of the butter or oil in a brownie recipe with pureed black beans, for example, the result is an ultra-moist, fudgy dessert that's packed with good-for-you carbs, fiber and protein, compared to the original low-nutrient, fat- and sugar-packed counterpart. Asian cuisines have embraced bean-based mashes in sweet applications for centuries, such as mochi, red-bean buns and mooncakes, and while it may be an acquired taste for new palates, it's worth a try to get your carbs from dessert, right?
Try the following recipes for a meat-free, bread- and pasta-free way to get the carbs you need to support your training.
White Bean Caprese Salad Recipe
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 small pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
- 1 small bunch fresh basil, julienned
- 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella, torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently. Allow salad to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Carb Boost: 1 cup of white beans contains 56 grams of carbs.
More: Why Are Carbs Important?