In endurance training, including marathon training nutrition fruit can provide the carbohydrates that are key for energy and performance.
Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like bananas. Groucho Marx (1890-1977).
This quote always makes me laugh, but I was reminded of it recently when a marathoner in training asked me opinion on eating fruits, including if certain fruits were better than others. Here are my thoughts.
Fruit is almost entirely made of carbs, with minimal protein and fat. A standard serving of fruit provides 15 carbs (out of the hundreds needed in training). Fresh fruits also provide a good supply of fiber and water needed to keep the endurance athlete’s body healthy.
In marathon training nutrition fresh fruit can work well as part of your recovery snack (fiber is better after you run), along with some protein. Check out some of these
Another reason for the “appeal” of fresh fruits is that they contribute to your hydration. They don’t replace water and sports drinks, but they can help you reach your
daily fluid needs
Due to the convenience for marathon nutrition training fruit is easy to pack and keeps well without refrigeration. If your training group doesn’t offer fruit at the end of the run, suggest they do so or start packing your own. Fruit cups are also a convenient way to get your daily fruit servings, but most of us like them cold which takes more steps in preparation and packing. Choose fruits cups without added sugar.
Are there any marathon training nutrition fruit choices that are better than others? Not really. Each color group provides a different nutrient mix, so it is wise to choose a variety of colors of fruits during the week. Bananas are a nice source of potassium, but so are apricots, oranges, dried fruits, cherries, peaches, mangoes, melon and tomatoes. (Non-fruit sources of potassium include potatoes, squash, pumpkin, greens, and milk). Other fruits may not be as great a source of potassium, but are great sources of Vitamin C or A. You need all the nutrients, so again variety is the key.
Pesticides are another consideration in choosing the “best” marathon training nutrition fruit. According to the Environmental Working Group, the produce highest in pesticides includes peaches, apples, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, celery, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. The produce lowest in pesticides includes pineapples, mango, kiwi, bananas, papayas, onions, avocado, frozen sweet corn and peas, asparagus, cabbage, and broccoli. Choosing organic products removes pesticides as an issue.
Tip of the day: You must buy fruit to be able to eat fruit. At a minimum of five servings a day, you should be buying at least thirty-five servings of fruit for yourself weekly. Do it today...time flies.