Monday, August 17, 2015

Potatoes: A Great Food for Runners!

Running and pasta are like Bert & Ernie, Yin & Yang, Lavern & Shirley, Thelma & Louise. That's all well and fine. Pasta is a great source of carbs for fueling your runs, but did you know that thepotato is a nutritious source of  carbohydrates, even more than rice or pasta? Yep, this often shunned veggie has gotten a bad wrap in the whole anti-carb movement. Like many foods, it's how you prepare it that makes or breaks the nutritional value of the spud. Cover it with butter, melted cheese, and bacon bits and you've created "food porn." Bake it and top it with a dollop of Greek yogurt and voilĂ , nutritious yumminess! Sport nutritionist Nancy Clark supports the spud too.  She shares that this super veggie is a great source of Vitamin C (gives 1/2 of your daily needs) and provides the potassium you'd lose in three hours of sweaty exercise. It's cousin the sweet potato provides even more health benefits!  A standard potato (like you'd get with a restaurant meal) contains around 200 calories. That's about the same as most sports bars. The spud makes a great pre-and post-run snack as well as a part of a meal. Pre-baked spuds that are sliced and refrigerated make great snacks before or after a run.  In her book, NancyClark's Food Guide for Marathoners, she gives some great ideas for potato toppers such as low-fat salad dressing; low-fat sour cream, chopped onion, and low-fat shredded cheddar cheese; cottage cheese and garlic powder; milk mashed into the potato; plain yogurt (I like using the Greek yogurt. It's very similar to sour cream); flavored vinegars; soy sauce; steamed veggies like broccoli; chopped jalapeno peppers; lentils or lentil soup (I like topping it with veggie chili or black beans); applesauce.  Worried about the potato being high on the Glycemic Index? Valid concern, but did you know that when you pair the spud with certain foods, it actually lowers its GI? Adding healthy fats to your spud such as olive oil, sour cream or avocados, will lower the GI. Increasing the acidity by adding vinegar, citrus or salsa lowers the GI of the spud too. Eating the potato with the skin on increased the fiber slowing digestion and lowering the GI. Oddly enough, cooking the potato, then cooling it before you eat it, lowers the GI. So, give the spud a try!!

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