We all love pasta because it’s quick, it’s easy to make and it’s high in carbohydrate so great for that slow energy release that runners want and need.
But if you’re bored of pasta – or you can’t get your hands on it – we’ve put together a list of the best alternatives for you.
A perfect mix of carbohydrate, protein and fibre, oats are the ultimate athlete’s breakfast. Best eaten as whole rolled unrefined oats, they will keep you going for ages due to their low Glycaemic Index as they release energy into the bloodstream gradually.
Rice is low in fat and is an excellent source of carbohydrate, as well as vitamin E, B vitamins and potassium.
Short-grain rice, for instance pudding rice and Thai jasmine rice, are best for post workout recovery.
Longer grain rice, for instance basmati rice, risotto rice wild rice and red rice has a lower GI and is therefore more sustaining – great for everyday meals.
Couscous, Bulgur Wheat & Freekeh
Definitely high on the list of favourite carbohydrates, couscous, bulghur wheat and freekeh are very versatile, a doddle to prepare and very, very tasty.
We also like it because it is light on the stomach, so you can pack in a substantial amount of carbs without feeling too full or bloated.
A great substitute for rice or pasta, especially for those who can’t eat gluten or wheat.
With a medium GI, it is low in fat, high in carbohydrate and very easy to digest.
Gluten-free and wheat-free, quinoa has an astounding array of nutrients and provides an excellent level of slow-release energy.
It works well as an alternative to either pasta or rice and is both delicious and easy to digest.
Quinoa is not only very rich in carbohydrate, it also contains a complete source of protein, that is, all eight essential amino acids, and has a high mineral content, including calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron and potassium.
Lentils and Pulses
Slow-release, low in fat and extremely nutritious, lentils and beans can help lower cholesterol and are rich in carbohydrate, protein, B vitamins, fibre and minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc.
Fruit and starchy vegetables
Fruit and starchy vegetables provide a great carbohydrate.
These include fruits such as cherries, apples, bananas. pears, pineapple, mangoes and grapes, and vegetables like beetroot, butternut squash, carrots, corn, peas, sweet potatoes and parsnips.
Packed with nutrition, potatoes tend to be on the higher end of the GI spectrum. Boiled, unpeeled new potatoes have the lowest GI; mashed, baked and chipped potatoes have a much higher GI.
Potatoes are good to include in your training diet as they contain good quanities of vitamin C, along with potassium, iron, fibre and other minerals.
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down! Well, what’s the point of running if you can’t eat cake!
Sugary foods act quickly to replenish the glycogen in your muscles after a long workout but they can be packed with empty calories so it’s a good idea to seek out more nutrient-rich options.