Eating Gluten-Free Before, During and After Your Workout.
By: Cait Simmons, The Gluten-Free Yogi
I am a gluten-free athlete and am often asked how I fuel up before a road race, triathlon, or hard workout. While the most common carbo-loading recipes contain wheat, there are plenty of alternative gluten-free recipes that include carbohydrates to fuel the body just as well (if not better). In fact, a few serious athletes have recently adopted the gluten-free diet and claim it has enhanced their performance, including #1 ranked tennis professional, Novak Djokovic (see his recent book, Serve to Win). For some, being gluten-free is an absolute necessity but for others, it’s actually a strategy for burning “cleaner fuel.”
Below are a few of my favorite gluten-free recipes for before, during and after a serious workout. They are all healthy and most importantly delicious. Enjoy!
Pre race dinner
Here are a few of my favorite recipes for the night before a big workout or race. They contain gluten-free carbs including GF pasta, GF pizza, potatoes, millet, quinoa and rice.
Note: While the focus is generally on carbs, it’s equally important to include protein in your pre-workout and post-workout meals to aid in muscle recovery.
- Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi. (Source: Cooking Light)
- Gluten-Free Roasted Vegetable Penne *Add beans or sausage to this dish for protein. (Source: Myrecipes.com)
- Gluten Free Spaghetti with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce *Add ground beef or turkey to this dish for protein. (Source: Runner’s World)
- Gluten-Free Herbed Turkey Burger with Roasted Potatoes. (Source: Yummly & The Gluten-Free Vegan)
- Gluten-Free Summertime Pizza. (Source: The Gluten-Free Yogi)
- Gluten-Free Millet Salad with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes *Serve with a protein and additional vegetable sides of your choice. (Source: Feed Me Phoebe)
- Gluten-Free Warm Brown Rice and Grilled Vegetable Salad *Serve with a protein and additional vegetable sides of your choice. (Source: Gluten Free Girl)
- Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Mint *Serve with a protein and additional vegetable sides of your choice. (Source: Thursday Night Dinner)
Pre race snack
Bananas – The timing of when you eat before physical activity completely depends on your metabolism and your own body’s quirks. I like to eat a banana 30 – 45 minutes before a long run or vigorous workout for some quick fuel.
During race fuel
Honey Stinger Gel & Chews - Stinger products are a healthier alternative to other energy gels, which often contain ingredients I can’t even pronounce. Stingers are sweetened with honey, a simple sugar that the body can process quickly when it needs immediate fuel during a long workout. They also taste great!
Post race recovery
Gluten-free bagel with organic peanut butter – It is usually impossible to find gluten-free options at the finish line of road races, triathlons or bike races. I recommend bringing a durable post-race meal (something that transports well and doesn’t need refrigeration) that can tide you over until you can get to a kitchen. A gluten-free bagel with peanut butter can give you the protein and carbohydrates necessary for recovery. My new favorite bagel is Udi’s gluten-free Mighty Bagel and I love to pair it with a packet of Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter.
While the above recipes and tips work for me, keep in mind that everybody is different. My recommendation would be to find out what works for you. Experiment with different snacks and meals and keep a food/workout journal to see how each made you feel before, during and after your workouts. If you’re a serious athlete, determine which meals work best well before a big event so that you’re not dealing with any unpleasant surprises come race day. Whether you’re a recreational athlete, a serious athlete or somewhere in between, being gluten-free is very do-able and can even, in some case, make you better than you were before.
Fuel on friends,
What are you favorite GF ways to fuel up for your work out?