Gulping down a massive plate of pasta before an important race is such a common activity today that major races host “carbo loading” dinners the day before the big event. However, this strategy won’t offer the energy boost expected of such a giant meal. A number of alternative, healthy meals exist for training and race preparation that any runner (or cyclist) should consider before suiting up for race day.
1. Switch to whole wheat pasta
Some athletes simply can’t race without a delicious plate of pasta the day before a race. Instead of a plate of nutritionally void regular pasta, try whole wheat pasta instead. A serving of whole wheat pasta offers several grams of carbohydrates and some extra vitamins like vitamin E and a number of antioxidants.
2. Discover quinoa
Touted as one of the world’s healthiest foods, quinoa is a type of food that can mimic just about any grain and also offers great protein levels, calcium, and dietary fiber. Quinoa may be eaten in a form that mimics pasta, rice, or even cream of wheat.
3. Skip the white bread
Instead of eating a sugar-filled pieces of white bread, consider the healthier carbohydrate choice of whole grain bread. This bread option not only provides healthier grains, but it also offers nutritional perks like fiber and vitamins.
4. Choose brown rice
Instead of consuming a giant plate of spaghetti, consider a much smaller portion of brown rice. A cup of brown rice offers a meal with a low glycemic index that won’t require a huge, filling plate of food. Brown rice is a terrific option for long lasting carbohydrate-rich energy.
5. Try a liquid meal
A number of athletes today consume only liquids the day before a race. The calories within a meal that has come from a blender offers rapid energy from easily digested calories. A mixture of yogurt and blended bananas is a terrific choice. Many athletes who can’t tolerate solid foods right before a race will often consider a liquid approach.
In addition to these healthy meal options, it’s best to eat a larger meal an entire day before the start of the race. Instead of wolfing down a large plate of pasta the night before the race, consider eating a large (and healthy) breakfast an entire day before the event. The body will then have at least 24 hours to digest the food and offer the nutrients as energy during the race.