Many top-notch runners get their carbs from various places besides just plain old wheat pasta. Good, quality, clean carbs are found naturally in fruits and veggies, especially starchy vegetables. Work these five vegetables into your diet, and then start munching on them 90 minutes before your workout:
Sweet potatoes not only fulfill carbohydrate needs, but also satisfy the ever-present sweet tooth. One sweet potato alone is fairly large, and contains about 100 calories. Sweet potatoes are primarily comprised of starch, which is actually a form of carbohydrate, so it is great to load up on before a race. These bulbous roots are also high in fiber with a medium-sized potato offering 24 percent of the daily recommended amount. Try out some recipes to get started.
Spaghetti squash also packs in the carbs, and is a much better source of omega-3 fatty acids than whole wheat pasta. These Omega-3 fatty acids will decrease muscle inflammation after a long run. Just one cup of spaghetti squash contains 20 grams of carbs and 121 milligrams of omega-3s. As its name suggests, spaghetti squash can be prepared, and eaten the same way as spaghetti. See how it’s done.
Like spaghetti squash, zucchini is also a squash, but it’s a summer squash. It is renowned for its goodness and versatility. It finds its way into breads, stir fry, and pasta sauce. Zucchinis are very low in calories because of their high water content, and a medium zucchini produces only 7 grams of carbohydrates. But that just means you need to get a lot of them or mix them with grains. Experiment with these recipes.
Peas in the pod are a favorite. One cup of these little guys come with 41 calories, and is packed with extra vitamins and minerals, including 98 percent of your daily value of vitamin C. Peas are pretty much made of fiber with 2.5 grams per cup, and carbohydrates, with 21 grams per cup. Get these little cuties into your diet with these recipes.
Parsnips may not be your favorite—not yet. But they are a relative of carrots, which makes them hard to dislike, and their low cost is hard to ignore. In order to enjoy your experience with parsnips, opt for a smaller root—it will have a better texture, and more sweetness. 1 cup of parsnips includes 24 percent of your daily need of vitamin K, and 24 grams of carbohydrates. Try them roasted with other veggies on this listed. Get to know your new friend with this recipe.