Packed with slow-release carbohydrates, porridge is a fantastic pre-run breakfast, giving you a long-lasting power supply to fuel your runs. Sprinkle over some of these healthy toppings and you’ve not only got an extra source of fuel, but an extra kick of nutritional goodness!
An easy-to-digest carbohydrate, bananas offer a fast energy boost – perfect before a run. Containing around 105 calories and 27g carbohydrates each, bananas are easy to digest and will give you a great dose of fuel. Research conducted at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in the US found that performance during intense exercise was just as good when cyclists consumed bananas as it was when they consumed sports drinks. What’s more, as a natural sweetener they’ll give your porridge an extra kick and taste great as they caramelise into the creamy oats… Yum!
Chia seeds offer a good source of protein, calcium, potassium and iron. Described in Christopher McDougall’s book, Born To Run, as a dietary staple of the Tarahunara Indians, it’s unsurprising that these seeds are thought to be one of the best superfoods for runners. Containing alpha-linolenic acid, a form of Omega-3 fatty acid, and an antioxidant essential to energy production, they’re great for keeping energy levels elevated. High in fibre, they’ll leave you fuller for longer, whilst supporting healthy digestion. They’re rich in antioxidants too, helping to protect the body from free radicals.
A simple carbohydrate, honey offers a great source of energy. Made up of around 70% – 80% natural unrefined sugars, it’s easily absorbed by the body and is ideal for maintaining stamina during a long run. Supporting the body’s glycogen stores in the same way that artificial energy gels do, studies have found that honey is as effective as glucose (found in energy drinks and gels) as a sporting fuel. They’ll sweeten up your porridge too for a delicious pre-run breakfast!
Packed full of protein and healthy fats that help lower cholesterol, nuts are the perfect health-boosting porridge topper. High in protein they’ll support muscle recovery after a run and the high potassium content found in certain nuts (such as pistachios) will also keep the body’s muscle tissue in top condition. The Omega-3 fats found in nuts (such as walnuts) will also help to reduce inflammation by producing natural anti-inflammatory compounds – important for promoting the natural recovery and healing process after a run. They’ll bulk up your breakfast – and give it a tasty crunch too!
A sprinkle of flaxseed will give your porridge extra bite and a delicious nutty favour. Flaxseed is also a good source of fibre, protein and potassium and is high in Omega-3. A diet high in Omega-3 not only has a bundle of potential health benefits such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, but will help to reduce inflammation which is vital for maintaining a runner’s healthy joints.