How a Simple Potato Can Fuel Your Workouts

Believe it or not, there's quite a bit of endurance-nutrition-goodness in the simple potato. With the exception of fluid, a salted potato will contain all the types of nutrients you need for most endurance activities, and this recipe contains a few nice bonuses. What's more, it's packable, can compress to a very small volume, and is oh-so-tasty on the trail or road. Here's what's in it for you:

Carbohydrates: According to the USDA's National Nutrient Database, there's about 25 grams of carbohydrates in just one small (1.75 to 2.25-inch-diameter) potato. These carbohydrates are starches, and will break down quickly to provide good fuel within minutes of consumption. You'll also likely avoid any stomach issue since potatoes are known to be easy to digest and easy on the stomach.

Potassium: Potatoes are the world's natural jackpots of potassium. They contain it in their starch and in their peel. If you peel yours, it will have approximately 400 milligrams of potassium, 300 milligrams less than the raw peel-on form. Nonetheless, they have enough to replenish your lost potassium while training.

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Sodium: Potatoes in their natural state are not good sources of sodium, but add a bit of sea salt and you've got a winner. Just 1/8-teaspoon of sea salt provides 300 milligrams of sodium.

Healthy Fats: Coconut oil is the only fat option listed that will really contribute to energy supply during most workouts. However, it can be an acquired taste and not everyone likes coconut on potatoes. Olive oil and avocado oil are also great choices to simply keep the potatoes from feeling too dry and helping the salt and other goodies stick on.

Vinegar for Cramps: If you're prone to cramps, you've got to try vinegar or pickle juice for a quick fix. Although it sounds like folklore, studies have shown a cramp-relieving effect—unrelated to the sodium found in pickle juice—when pickle juice (vinegar) is consumed. It can work wonders to signal nerves and relieve cramps quickly.

More: Do Beets and Beet Juice Make You Faster?

Quick Fuel: Unlike many other real food options, potatoes are not only good for the long-haul rides, but shorter ones too. Potatoes digest and metabolize quickly, giving your body fuel during the hour, and even during the upcoming 20 minutes that you eat them.

Tastiness: The tastiness factor of these potatoes will knock any gel out of your jersey pocket. Savory tastes can be a welcome sensation over sweet ones when you're pedaling, especially if you also rely on sports drinks and sweet fuel options to get all the carbohydrates you need. The bacon, cheese, herbs and salt will do more than provide nutrients in your bloodstream, they'll provide a fuel option you'll look forward to.

Spuds are a great option for sports nutrition. Whether plain, salted or within this delicious recipe, they have a lot to offer. Add in the salt, oils, herbs and mustard, and you'll have a well-rounded, inexpensive fuel option from the real-food section of the store.

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About the Author

Kelli Jennings

Kelli Jennings, RD and sports nutritionist, is the owner of Apex Nutrition, LLC. Kelli helps athletes reach their weight goals and build strength, endurance and stamina. She teaches clients to eat for reduced inflammation, the best recovery and ongoing fueling needs as they push themselves to new levels. Like Kelli on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Kelli Jennings, RD and sports nutritionist, is the owner of Apex Nutrition, LLC. Kelli helps athletes reach their weight goals and build strength, endurance and stamina. She teaches clients to eat for reduced inflammation, the best recovery and ongoing fueling needs as they push themselves to new levels. Like Kelli on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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