It’s the day before your race or long run and you know you’re going to need a few extra carbs. The first meal that pops into your head is spaghetti. The problem is you’re tired of spaghetti or maybe that tomato sauce isn’t sitting so well in your stomach on your run. So, what other options do you have? Not all carb filled meals have to center around pasta and bread. There are actually tons of other grains, vegetables, and fruits that are carb heavy and will help you power through that long hard run or race. Below are 5 of my favorite carb loaded meals for those days when I know I’m going to need some extra energy.
This is one of my favorite easy, vegetarian, carb loaded dinners. Not only do you get carbs from the sweet potato, but also from the quinoa and black beans. This dinner or lunch is a wonderful balance of both healthy carbs and a good amount of protein. In case beans don’t sit well with you before a race, try the Cilantro Lime Shrimp Quinoa Bowls instead. Even though they don’t have the sweet potato you will still get plenty of carbs from the quinoa.
While the sweet potato is often thought of as being healthier than a regular potato, those white spuds we all grew up on still have plenty of benefits. Not only are they packed with 38 grams of carbs, but full of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. As long you aren’t consuming them in the form of french fries or drowning in butter and sour cream, they can be a great choice for runners. I love adding shredded chicken, broccoli, and cheese to mine, then twice baking them for a delicious dinner!
If you are one of those people who refuses to eat any type of potato other than a sweet potato, no fear, I have you covered with these BBQ Chicken Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes. Topped with shredded chicken, your favorite barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, and a little cheese, they are a fun and delicious way to turn that sweet potato into a full meal.
In case you prefer breakfast for dinner, “brinner”, these Strawberry Quinoa Pancakes are an excellent choice and one of my favorite pancake recipes. Pancakes are great before a race or long run because they are loaded with quick digesting carbs. These pancakes definitely fit the bill, but by adding quinoa to them you will also be getting some protein which will help them stick with you longer. I would suggest serving these with scrambled eggs for a complete meal.
Pizza doesn’t just have to be set aside as a celebratory meal after your race or long run. You can actually make some good quality, healthy pizzas that aren’t dripping in grease, fatty meats, and layer upon layers of cheese. This Grilled Cherry, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Pizza is a great choice because it uses lighter goat cheese. You will still get the carbs you need from the crust, but without the bloated heavy feeling you get after eating a few slices of pepperoni pizza. Because this pizza is vegetarian I would suggest grilling some chicken to have with it. Having a balance of carbs and protein is important for performing well.
So as you can see, there are many other options other than that gigantic bowl of pasta or eating a loaf of bread before your big run (which I don’t recommend doing). Not only do these meals taste delicious, but they are a good balance of carbs and protein to help you perform your best during your next race or while you’re out on that long weekend run! Enjoy!