Fueling the right food before and after your running sessions is critical for peak performance. If you’re a gluten-free runner, this post is for you! Here, you’ll find out what foods are gluten-free list and what ingredients you should avoid.
Gluten is a type of protein contained in wheat, rye, and barley. Almost every processed food includes gluten since it’s cheap and holds food together well.
Products that contain this protein such as bread, bagels, and pasta have long been a great source to fuel sportsmen since they contain easy carbs and other essential nutrients, including B vitamins and fibre. These elements help athletes achieve peak performance and recover after high-intensity workouts.
Nowadays, more and more people go gluten-free for health or diet reasons. It means that they have to consume quality carbs from other sources, otherwise, they can end up under fueled and fatigued, even if they take the best caffeine pills.
Fortunately, there are plenty of high-carb, gluten-free foods! With a little planning, runners can turn these products into delicious meals.
Keep reading to learn what foods are gluten-free and which ones are better to avoid.
Food and Ingredients to Avoid When You Go Gluten-Free
It’s challenging to completely avoid gluten since it’s found in lots of common products and ingredients that can be added to foods, however, you should know the main sources of gluten, here they are:
- Wheat and wheat-based foods like wheat flour, wheat bran, durum, spelt, semolina and kamut
- Brewer’s yeast
The next products may include gluten added to them, so you should be very careful if you want to have these products in your diet.
- Pasta – all wheat-based pasta.
- Bread – all wheat-based bread.
- Cereals – unless labeled gluten-free.
- Snacks – candies, crackers, muesli bars, pre-packaged foods, flavored chips and popcorn, roasted nuts, pretzels.
- Baked foods – cakes, muffins, cookies, pizza, pastries, and bread crumbs.
- Sauces – soy sauce, hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, salad dressings, marinades.
- Beverages – flavored alcoholic beverages, beer.
- Other eats – couscous, broth – unless labeled gluten-free.
Remember that gluten is commonly added to boxed and canned foods. Besides, there is a group of products and ingredients that we call “gluten-free foods to avoid”. It means that technically they don’t contain gluten, however, they are always contaminated and never safe unless marked as “Certified Gluten-Free”. Here is a list of such foods:
- Peanut butter
- Modified food starch
- Natural/artificial flavor
- Blue cheese, or other moldy cheeses
- MSG (monosodium glutamate)
We often get asked, “Are food colorings gluten-free?” Generally, color additives are derived from dyes and chemicals, that’s why they are free from gluten and food allergens.
To sum up, if you want to succeed with a gluten-free diet, you should double-check ingredient labels since gluten is often included in products that you wouldn’t expect.
Gluten-Free Choices for Runners
As we mentioned above, runners have to load up with enough carbs, which it isn’t a problem when you consume gluten, but if you eliminate gluten from your ration, things become trickier. You need to figure out carb-rich foods that will work best for you and fuel any workout.
We’ve selected only the best, naturally gluten-free options:
- Greek yogurt
- Fruits and vegetables
- White and sweet potatoes
- Brown rice, brown rice cakes, brown rice pasta
- Quinoa, quinoa pasta
- Soba noodles
- Certified gluten-free oats
- Beans and lentils
Pre-Workout Snack Ideas
These gluten-free, powerhouse snacks will increase your energy level and give your body the needed boost, and actually, they make the best gluten-free foods for breakfast.
- A brown rice cake topped with 1 tbsp of all-natural nut butter and ½ banana.
- ½ cup of oatmeal with ½ cup of berries
- A small sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon and 2 tbsp of low-fat cottage cheese.
Post-Workout Snack Ideas
Proteins and carbohydrates are the nutrients that your body needs for post-run muscle recovery. Here are some gluten-free, delicious, and healthy carb-protein combos:
- Vegetable salad and 1 cup of cooked quinoa.
- Quinoa topped with ¼ cup of beans or 2 ounces of chicken – it’s a great source of protein after an intense workout.
- A cup of brown rice pasta with vegetables and 3-4 ounces of 90% lean ground turkey or beef.
- A cup of non-fat or low-fat plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup of gluten-free granola.
Obviously, a gluten-free diet is quite restricting, but, fortunately, there are plenty of healthy food options that are delicious and healthy. Though rememer, you have to eat lots of whole, single-ingredient foods such as fruit, veggies, and other lean protein sources. They’ll not only keep your stomach happy but also make you healthier. Gluten-free foods may reduce inflammation, ease digestive symptoms, help you lose weight, and even boost energy levels.