Today's Real Foodie inspiration comes from runner and triathlete, Kristen Chang, of Real Food For Fuel.
As a runner and triathlete, fueling properly throughout the day and during workouts is an essential aspect of my training regime. While studying nutrition throughout college, I slowly began to connect the dots in terms of how great of an effect my daily food choices made on my ability to complete workouts optimally, recover quickly, and just sustain the energy levels I needed to achieve my goals.
This connection between food and athletic performance became even more real for me when I decided to adapt a plant-based (mostly vegan) lifestyle in March 2013. I began to cut out many processed foods from my diet and emphasize fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins and unrefined grains. My energy levels simply soared and I became leaner, fitter and stronger overall. I've never looked back!
A real foods diet is important for athletes not only to ensure they're getting the correct balance of macro-nutrients to support their training, but to optimize vitamin, minerals and antioxidants within those calories. By focusing on the quality of food, rather than overall quantity, improvements in energy, recovery, stamina and performance will be found. After all the hard work that is put into workouts, why compromise your efforts by eating junk?
My general diet philosophy these days is "every food has a purpose," and I try to remember this when I choose what to eat each day. Eating with a purpose, real food for fuel, everything in moderation: three general guidelines that I abide by to make eating simpler yet healthier. These apply to athletes, adults, teenagers and babies alike!
And check out Kristen’s Homemade Energy Fuel: Sweet Potato & PB Banana Mash-Up. Kristen said she was enjoying one from her Little Green Pouch as she sent it to us! She says it is “Kid friendly, but delicious for adults on the go too,” and that she is “totally looking forward to using these pouches to pack real-food fuel for my longer bike rides this spring and summer. The pouch should fit well into the back of my cycling jersey. It's like a portable picnic lunch!”
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