Due to long training days, volunteer and family commitments, both professionals and age-groupers can benefit from pre-planning by stocking up on pantry staples. Furthermore, many endurance athletes, unless they are professionals, are limited on grocery shopping time due to full-time job commitments.
Here are my recommended pantry tables followed by discussion of benefits:
|Black Pepper||Almonds||Cacao||Avocado||Amaranth||Black Beans|
|Green powders||Sesame||Red Beans|
|Sea salt||Balsamic Vinegar|
No one is exempt from needing micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to maintain homeostasis and even better – to thrive. Endurance athletes have an increased need for micronutrients as they put additional stress on their bodies during training and racing. This is why booster foods – such as anti-inflammatory spices and concentrated green powders (spirulina and chlorella) or other super foods such as maca powder are integral to a healthy diet. These foods pack a powerful punch in small amounts and are easy to incorporate into smoothies, wraps, salads, smoothies, muffins and nut milks.
Seeds are the center of life. Plants grow from seed and nuts, making them life-sustaining. They can be easily mixed into most dishes, can be obtained at a low-cost to stock and are portable.
Most of the time we prepare food dishes cooking oils are required. They are drizzled over vegetables, stirred into soups, sautéed with meats, and have many other uses. They are usually consumed on an everyday basis, which is why it is super important to use healthy ones – such as stable, high-smoke point (good for high-heat cooking) oils: avocado and coconut or low-smoke point (good for drizzling after veggies/meat are cooked or low-heat cooking) oils: olive and flaxseed.
It is debatable whether to include grains into one’s diet, as they can be inflammatory and hard to digest, but I included a few options above – all forms of ancient grains, which are less refined than enriched wheat or all-purpose flours. You can buy these in bulk and when properly stored, can last for a while. Consider making a big batch on Sunday and mixing into meals during the week.
Lastly, canned beans and purees can be stored on shelves for a long time, making them an easy to stock staple. Fruit purees, such as pumpkin can provide a powerful nutritional boost to smoothies. Look for BPA-free can linings, as BPA (bisphenol-A) is a industry chemical commonly used in many products, which can interfere with hormone/cell signaling.
Keeping variety in one’s diet will help to ensure macro and micronutrient needs are met, although an athlete may want to consider supplementation as a key to fill in missing nutritional gaps. Click here to read supplement article!
Read more about Epic Nutrition Series here!
In good health –
Murray, M. (2005) Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY.