Runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes: It's time to get in gear—another race season is approaching.
The impending race season requires more than ramping up your training routine. A well-balanced fuel plan is just as important and will help you reach your performance goals as well as improve your general health.
However, it's not just what you eat, but how you eat it that can make the biggest difference.
Here are a few important tips for all athletes:
- Eat a balanced diet complete with high-quality carbs, lean protein and healthy fats.
- Include a variety of fruits and vegetables to boost fiber and antioxidant intake—this helps to keep you healthy all season long.
- Eat clean. Avoid processed, preservative-filled foods and be conscious of what you're eating when you go to a restaurant.
- Hydrate—even when the heat breaks, keep your fluid intake high.
Prepare your body for increased mileage and intensified workouts with the items on this superfoods list:
1. Bananas contain quick-digesting carbs that replenish glycogen stores and provide immediate energy. They also boast potassium, an electrolyte lost through sweat. Take a banana with you for a post-training energy boost, or put one in your fuel belt for a mid-workout snack.
2. Avocados have five good reasons to be on the superfoods list for race season: fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, folic acid and B vitamins. This fruit is also high in monounsaturated fats—important for heart health. Add avocado to a sandwich or mix it with garlic, onion and peppers to make guacamole.
3. Berries, including blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, are rich in antioxidants and full of fiber to help keep your digestive system moving. Throw a handful into morning oatmeal or mix them with plain Greek yogurt.
4. Eggs rock when it comes to protein content. High-quality protein sources help with protein breakdown, which is initiated by exercise. Eggs are on this superfoods list because they're a complete protein, which means they contain all of the essential amino acids—not common among other protein sources. Top a salad with hard-boiled egg slices or combine scrambled eggs with vegetables for a breakfast burrito.
More: The Sunny Side of Eggs