A lot of people have told me that runners are crazy. We’re not crazy. Just nuts! Nuts about almonds of course!
I love food. I mean, LOVE food. Honestly, the only reason I run is so that I can eat and not feel too guilty scarfing down that plate of pancakes after a race. I also like to snack A LOT. Sometimes I don’t pick the most healthiest things to snack on. But when I do choose something healthy to munch on, I usually grab a handful of almonds.
A couple of years ago, I decided to go semi-Paleo for a while to lose weight and for other health reasons. Sadly, it was time to say good-bye to some of my favorite foods. I wondered what I was supposed to eat! As a runner, I knew I needed energy and fuel. Then I started researching on foods that I could eat and almonds were on that list. Did you know almonds are one of the healthiest foods for runners? These little guys are full of vitamin E, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium. Just one serving can help reduce muscle damage, strengthen bones and boost energy; all the necessary things a runner needs.
Other health benefits include:
1) Lowering Cholesterol
2) Reducing Blood Sugar Levels
3) Providing Antioxidants
4) Maintaining Weight Control
After going Paleo and working out, I lost weight and felt great! I had more energy and I saw an improvement in my running. Though I am no longer on a strict Paleo diet, I still incorporate almonds into my meals.
Here are some of my favorite almond products:
1) Almond Butter: I go through jars of this stuff! Not the small jars, the Costco-sized ones. I put this on EVERYTHING! My favorite pre-race meal is a banana with almond butter and honey. I also put it on apples drizzled with honey and flax seed. For a filling breakfast, I add a spoonful to steel-cut oats and a dash of cinnamon. After a strength training session, I add it in protein shakes. I told you, EVERYTHING!
2) Almond Milk: You often hear that chocolate milk is the perfect recovery drink after a run but since dairy was not part of my Paleo-plan, I started drinking almond milk. I’m a big fan of CHOCOLATE almond milk. I would often drink an ice-cold glass of chocolate almond milk after a long run. It’s just as satisfying as regular chocolate milk. Maybe even better! You can also use this to make healthy smoothies too!
3) Almond Meal: Runners need protein to maintain a strong immune system. I wanted to have something other than burger patties and a salad for dinner so I found a recipe for Paleo salmon burgers. Instead of using bread crumbs, you can use almond meal. They came out delicious and was just as filling as an ordinary burger.
4) Sliced Almonds: When I went Paleo, I had a big salad for lunch everyday. Instead of croutons, I sprinkled sliced almonds on top. It provided the necessary crunch that I needed on my salad. I also add sliced almonds to Greek yogurt for breakfast. You can also make your own trail mix with almonds, dried fruit and granola. It’s the perfect and portable snack for runners!
5) Chocolate/Glazed Almonds: I have a sweet tooth and I crave chocolate. One of my favorite sweet treats are dark chocolate covered almonds. Dark chocolate and almonds? Two foods that have been shown to have health benefits! A match made in heaven if you ask me! Just be sure not to eat the whole bag. Ahem…
Almonds are definitely something runners should add to their diet. They are healthy and can be used in everything!
Here’s my favorite almond recipe for runners: No Bake Energy Bites. I got this recipe from the blog: Gimme Some Oven. The only thing I changed was I used almond butter instead of peanut butter and dark chocolate chips. They are perfect for a pre/post run snack! Be careful because they are so good and addicting! Enjoy!
Are you nuts for almonds? What are your favorite recipes?
See you at the finish line!