For runners on a gluten-free diet, carb loading can be difficult. Much of what you’ll read about carb loading revolves around gluten-rich suggestions such as whole wheat pasta and multigrain bread. But it is completely possible to enjoy high-quality, gluten-free carb loading so you can boost your next race performance or long treadmill run.
Gluten-Free Grains For Carb Loading
There are many carbohydrate-rich grains you can still eat while sticking to a gluten-free lifestyle. Some of the most common grains you can easily add to your diet are:
- Quinoa – A ½ cup of cooked quinoa gives 20 grams of carbohydrates and is easily paired with vegetables as well as protein to create a filling, carb loading meal.
- Oatmeal – There are 13 grams of carbohydrates in a ½ cup of cooked oatmeal and should be paired with fruit to add flavor as well as filling fiber. Do be careful that your oatmeal is specifically packaged as gluten-free, as some factories where oatmeal is packaged also packages gluten foods.
- Rice – The most carbohydrate-rich common gluten-free grain is rice, which has 22.5 grams of carbohydrates in ½ cup of cooked rice. Whether the rice is white or brown, you will still have the same amount of carbs.
Carbohydrate-Rich Fruits And Vegetables
It is best not to rely purely on grain-based carbohydrates for your carb loading. This reliance can lead to an imbalance in your digestive process and leave you without long-burning energy. Fruits and vegetables bring a greater amount of nutrients into your diet and can provide slow-burning energy.
As fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, it is easy to add them to your gluten-free diet. However, there are some fruits and vegetables which offer more carbohydrates so you can carb load effectively.
- Corn – In a ½ cup of cooked corn, you will have 14 grams of carbohydrates. It is best to limit the amount of corn you consume, as our bodies are not very good at digesting this vegetable.
- Banana – A ½ cup of bananas will yield 17 grams of carbohydrates. Those with celiac disease should be careful with bananas, as many with celiac disease have other food intolerances to foods like bananas.
- Raisins – Carbohydrate-rich, a loose (not-packed) ½ cup of raisins has 57.5 grams of carbs. Be careful consuming raisins before a race, as they are high in fiber and can cause digestive trouble during a race.
- Yams – There are 21 grams of carbohydrates in a ½ cup of yams. Don’t mistake yams for sweet potatoes, as they are different vegetables and sweet potatoes only give 13.5 carbs per ½ cup. As you can see, yams have a much higher carb yield.
- Dates – You can find 55 grams of carbohydrates in a ½ cup of dates. Try to avoid dates with added sugar and avoid consuming too many prior to a race as they can induce digestive issues similar to the ones raisins bring on.
With some simple meal planning, it is entirely possible for someone on a gluten-free diet to carb load and enjoy the high energy yield during their next long run or race.