Three top protein sources for runners

July 24, 2013

Many runners may not realize how important protein is to their exercise endeavors. Long bouts of cardiovascular exercise, like a lengthy run on your home treadmill, will cause your body to look for fuel within your body to keep you powering through the miles. When you use it up faster than most, you need to consume more than most to maintain healthy levels.

Runner’s World recommends not immediately reaching for red and processed meats, as many protein-hungry athletes often do. Instead, vegetarian sources can reduce some health risks associated with meat and help you maintain your energy levels at the same time. Below are the three easiest sources for even the most carnivorous runners to integrate into their diet.

There are a wide range of nuts, each of which offer different nutritional benefits. Endurance runners can’t go wrong with peanuts and almonds. You can eat them as is or opt for their butter form. Many athletes will eat protein-heavy peanut butter with fruits or veggies before hopping on their home exercise bike to fuel their body through a heavy workload. They are just as useful after a run to help your body recover. Replace a bag of chips with lightly salted mixed nuts to replicate a similar taste and get much more nutritional value.

Soy milk and nuts
Soy comes in a variety of forms, all of which can offer a huge nutritional benefit. Soy milk is a favorite of many lactose intolerant individuals – its protein content rivals that of a cow’s milk. Soy nuts can be eaten with a salad to add fiber and protein to your standard greens, while in butter form it can be consumed in the same manner as you would peanut butter.

Perhaps the most versatile form of soy, tofu is condensed soy milk curds. They are then shaped into little blocks, which can be added as a meat substitute to just about any meal that would call for it. It is protein rich, yet light in fat, and has also been shown to potentially protect against heart problems. Just as with meat, you can use a favorite sauce or spice and grill or sauté it to perfection.

With these foods at your disposal, your protein doesn’t have to suffer as you try to eat leaner and healthier.