5 foods to pick it up!

Written by Dena Evans

Looking for a way to invigorate your diet? Try adding one or more of these to your daily routine and perhaps discover a new favorite food that packs a punch.

1. Lentils

During the colder months especially, lentils might appear in the hot case of your local supermarket in soup form, or in spreads and on salads in the summer.  Providing a hearty delivery of carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, lentils release energy slowly and in doing so, help blood sugar stay regulated.  In other words, lentils help avoid the spike and crash of more simple carbs. Lentils also deliver vital nutrients, such as magnesium for heart health, and over one-fourth of lentil calories come from protein – a great vegetarian source.

2. Chocolate Milk

Once the province of kids and adults looking for a late night snack with a glass of 2% and a bottle of Hershey’s syrup, chocolate milk has happily (for many) fully entered the discussion as a legitimate recovery beverage. With a mixture of slow-acting and quick-acting proteins found in cow’s milk, plenty of carbohydrates, and a solid cache of calcium, chocolate milk helps you feel like a kid again in more ways than one. Don’t feel guilty, and drink up.

3. Bananas

They have quick releasing carbs and are easily digestible – perfect for mid-race or pre-race fueling.  They come with a handy, naturally biodegradable case – perfect for carrying, and easy/ guilt-free to discard. Lots of potassium gives you a great source of an important key to electrolyte balance, and hefty amounts of fiber help with digestion and regularity. What’s not to like?

4. Walnuts

On your salad, in your cookies, on top of cereal – adding walnuts to your diet on a regular basis can provide a host of health benefits.  Walnuts, an anti-oxidant source of Omega 3 fatty acids, have been studied to have a positive effect on a wide variety of health issues, particularly cardiovascular performance and cholesterol levels.  Sure, walnuts have fairly high caloric and fat content if consumed in copious amounts, but the health benefits of a few ounces per day go a very long way.

5. Water

Just making sure you were paying attention.  Actually, it seems axiomatic that water is important, but even if you can’t add some of the more interesting foods into your diet right now, you bet you can add water.  Some runners are faithfully dividing their weight in pounds by two and drinking that many ounces per day, but most of us aren’t.  Add one more to the former by heading over to the water fountain right now!

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