A nutritionist shares her recommendations for foods ideal for runners–all of which can be found at Trader Joe's.
Like any American woman who loves to cook, I’m a complete sucker for Trader Joe’s. Their packaging and messaging sucks me in and compels me to buy things that I don’t even know what to do with. (Canned brined jackfruit, anyone?) But aside from its few obscure items, Trader Joe’s has an insanely affordable variety of healthy options that are perfect for any runner. These are some of my favorites–and that means they are both runner- and nutritionist-approved.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
I’m a pretty good cook, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make a good cauliflower crust. I’ve tried several times, and I always end up with a sloppy mess that sticks to the pan. When Trader Joe’s came out with their version of cauliflower pizza, I jumped at the chance to try it. I meticulously followed the directions, and the end result was a thin and crispy crust that didn’t leave me feeling weighed down. It’s also completely gluten-free and a quick and easy post-run dinner.
When I was marathon training, I lived off these multi-grain waffles. Quite simply, they are just freezer waffles made with whole grains and a few simple ingredients. I absolutely loved them as a quick carb-filled breakfast before a long run. When I want something a little more substantial, I top them with peanut butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon and sliced apples.
Veggie Fried Rice
This is another Trader Joe’s staple that is perfect for runners. It’s a deliciously seasoned frozen rice blend that contains a decent amount of veggies. Although I love the idea of making fried rice from scratch, I don’t love the amount of time it takes. This frozen version is ready after a few minutes in the microwave, and it’s got ample carbs to fuel the toughest of runs. Definitely feel free to add some protein to this blend, like a scrambled egg, shredded chicken or shelled edamame.
Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Blend
I’ve seen this product all over the Internet and I’ve been dying to try it. It combines sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic, dried onion and sea salt flakes to create everything bagel seasoning. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I quickly started adding it to everything from scrambled eggs to avocado toast to rice bowls. This seasoning isn’t just good for runners–it’s great for pretty much anyone who likes a ton of flavor from a tiny bottle.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
The best part about being a runner, IMHO, is the ability to indulge in sweet treats without feeling guilty. It’s fuel, right?! These mini peanut butter cups are covered in antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, and they are individually wrapped for natural portion control. (That is, if you’re able to stop after eating just one…)
Oven-Baked Cheese Bites
I must admit that I prefer salty treats to sweets, which means I became instantly hooked after my first bite. These are made from 100 percent cheese, so they contain 15 grams of protein per serving. They also have a decent amount of sodium to replace what you lose in sweat. Who needs a protein shake when you can eat these bad boys?
Julienned Root Vegetables
If you’re going to eat peanut butter cups and cheese bites, you should probably partake in some vegetables. Because…balance. This frozen veggie mix contains a combination of starchy veggies like carrots, beets, parsnips and sweet potatoes, all sliced into thin strips. They’re seasoned with olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cracked pepper, garlic and herbs—just like mom would make. The end product is a bit crunchy, a bit savory and a bit sweet. They are perfectly healthy and ideal fuel for your tougher runs.