Certain foods have gained a bad reputation but can be part of a favorable diet, specially for runners and other NEAT* people. Here are 5 foods that not only add variety to meals, but are great for vitamins and minerals.
Are they a high-fat snack that can make me fat? Nuts do contain fat, but mostly the good kind (monounsaturated). Fat is essential for our bodies, helping by keeping our temperature stable and protecting our organs. In addition, foods that contain fat keep us satisfied for longer and can help us control our appetite. Adding a handful of nuts to soups or salads, or having them as a snack between meals can be a way to include them in our diet, or how about a peanut butter and apple slices sandwich!
Are dairy products too high in fat and difficult to digest? Yes cheese is fatty, but it´s also a good source of protein, calcium and magnesium. Plus it tastes so good. Some dairy products, like yogurt, are easier to digest than others, and including milk as part of other dishes (smoothies, soups) can be a way to include them without having the digestion or particular milky-taste problems that turn some people away from these foods.
Just cut them out of the diet all together right, since they make me fat? No way! Potatoes can be a great source of slow-releasing energy, keeping runners going for longer (think about those ultra events!). It is best to avoid the fried stuff, and instead prefer baked potatoes with a source of protein (beans, tuna, cheese or egg); these combinations also reduce the glycaemic index of the potato which helps avoid energy crashes.
Is red meat full of saturated fat? Some cuts are, but you can try to go for the lean meat cuts, the ones where you can´t see so much white around or in the meat. Meat is also a source of protein, and vitamins from the B group, which along with iron (also in meat) are used by runners to improve endurance and tissue oxygenation and repair.
Cholesterol bombs? The cholesterol in eggs will not necessarily raise blood cholesterol levels. If eaten sporadically and in combination with plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, eggs provide protein and minerals. Plus, for ovo-lacto vegetarians they may be an important way to consume sufficient protein and fat.
*NEAT: non-exercise activity thermogenesis, will write about this next time.