Sugar cravings are a normal and indulging in them won’t ruin the benefits of your running and endurance activities if you know what kind to indulge in, says Nandini Reddy.
Sugar has become the one thing every fitness enthusiast avoids. In the recent years there is more literature and advice on why one should not consume sugar but we need to remember that while added sugars are the enemies we do not have to avoid natural sugars that we get from fruits (fructose) and diary (lactose). If you have a sweet tooth and you don’t know what to eat to satisfy that craving then here are a few suggestions.
Raisins contain fast working sugars that can supply instant energy to muscles. So they make for a great additive for runners diets. Raisins are said to be as effective as an energy bar and can help maintain endurance levels of runners. A serving suggestion is to have about a quarter cup of raisins for every hour of exercise.
Chocolate’s main ingredient cocoa is loaded with anti-oxidants. Dark chocolate is the way to go if you want to indulge in chocolates. Dark chocolate helps reduce exercise induced stress in muscles. The other varieties of chocolates do not have such benefits so it is best to stick to dark chocolate. The recommended serving suggest is 40 gms.
Bananas have all the right sugars to increase your endurance. When had with water, they increase the endurance of runners and cyclists. It also helps in replenishing lost electrolytes and increases energy with its winning amount of carbohydrates. After a run you can add bananas to smoothies or your oatmeal.
If you want to recover quickly after an exercise session then you don’t have to drink artificial energy drinks, instead opt for pomegranate juice. It increases the potassium in the body and also is a great anti-oxidant. If you training light then 1/2 a cup of juice will do but if you are training rigorously then 1-2 cups per day is recommended.
A baked apple is a great source of fiber and a single apple can provide 5 gms of fiber along with a 105 calories if left unsweetened. If you would like a little texture then you can add almonds or walnuts. Baked apples provide more protein than a raw apple.
Yogurt with fruits makes for a great energy snack after a strenuous run. This has the benefits of protein, multi-vitamins and minerals and the satisfaction of eating something sweet. The pro-biotic in yogurt helps keep you gut healthy as well. Ensure you eat only unsweetened yogurt and add fresh fruits to it to get the best benefits. A 1/2 cup of yogurt after a big run is a great way to recover.
Peanut Butter is full of fat, protein and fiber. It releases energy in a slow and sustained manner thus making it a great food for runners. A spoonful of peanut butter before you start a run can be a great way to keep your energy level at the optimum levels.
Never keep you diet entirely sugar free. This increases the chances of you eating unhealthy sugar. You will also feel an over lack of energy if you remove sugar completely from your diet. So its better to indulge your sweet tooth the natural way!