Staying healthy while training for a summer or fall race doesn’t require runners to spend a fortune on supplements, shakes and sugary energy bars to fuel runs and recover quickly. You don’t have to drop a paycheck at specialty stores on bizarre ingredients, either. Look no further than your local farmers’ market plentiful produce bursting with flavor and nutrition!
A bonus benefit of shopping at the farmers’ market: You’re buying directly from the producers, meaning your dollars are going directly into the local economy.
What are health-focused runners shopping for at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market this month?
It’s a summer classic and a wonderful seasonal addition to the runner’s diet! Deep red watermelon contains plenty of lycopene, important for heart health. It’s loaded with vitamin C, which is important to the growth and repair of tissue throughout our bodies, including cartilage and bone. Look for a yellow, flat spot on the bottom of the melon that indicates that the fruit has been on the ground ripening and will be juicy and ready to eat. A riper melon will also have more beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to vitamin A, important for the runner’s immune system.
You may read headlines declaring expensive, exotic berries as “superfoods,” but look no further than the local farmers’ market for a very accessible, affordable and tasty berry LOADED with benefits: The humble but mighty blackberry. The deep purple hue of these berries is a great indicator of the powerful nutrients within them, including anthocyanin that protects us from oxidative stress. Like watermelon, blackberries contain plenty of vitamin C and other antioxidants, making them excellent recovery food for runners.
Lycopene, vitamin C and more antioxidants—there a lot of goodness packed into fresh summer tomatoes! They’re delicious raw on salads and sandwiches, but try roasting your tomatoes to bring out an amazing concentrated sweetness! Refrigerating tomatoes will stop the ripening process, so store your under-ripe tomatoes on the counter.
Like oats and wheat, corn is a whole grain. There’s a misconception that corn is full of sugar and contains no nutritional benefit. Fresh, local, organic corn on the cob actually offers plenty of B vitamins, like folate for hearth health, and fiber. Highly processed corn syrup or corn oil? Not so much. For a fresh and delicious summer side, combine fresh-off-the-cob kernels with scallions (a highly nutritious, locally available onion), chopped bell pepper (yep, also available at the market!), sliced tomato and a drained and rinsed can of beans. Dress it with rice vinegar, a swizzle of quality olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, then allow it to sit in the fridge at least a couple hours for the flavors to meld.
What visit to the farmers’ market would be complete without picking up a bunch of fresh, crisp leafy greens? Beautiful cabbages, kale and Swiss chard fill the markets this month, and with plenty of vitamins, minerals (like calcium) and fiber, they should fill the healthy runner’s plate, too.
The information provided in this post should not be used for diagnosing or treating a medical problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care.
Learn more from Lauren
Training for a fall full or half marathon? Join Lauren and other runners September 14th at Charm City Run Timonium for a nutrition talk covering the most common questions regarding fueling for long distance races.
About the Author: Lauren Shafer, Empowered Eating Expert
Lauren is a certified Health Coach who helps busy Baltimoreans articulate their health + wellness goals, and make measurable, sustainable diet and lifestyle changes for lasting transformation. Though she would never be described as athletic in her youth, Lauren started running as an adult, begrudgingly at first, until she discovered she actually enjoyed it. Now an 8-time marathoner and 3-time ultra-marathoner, you’ll frequently find Lauren running on roads and trails with her husband John and dog Osita.