October 15, 2021

6 Foods to Pick it Up!

Written by Dena Evans
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lentil-soupLooking for a way to invigorate your diet?  Try to swap out your go-to produce for these seasonal health heroes.

1) Lentils

During the colder months especially, lentils might appear in the hot case of your local supermarket in soup form, or in spreads and on salads in the summer.  Providing a hearty delivery of carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, lentils release energy slowly and in doing so, help blood sugar stay regulated.  In other words, lentils help avoid the spike and crash of more simple carbs.  Lentils also deliver vital nutrients, such as magnesium for heart health, and over one fourth of lentil calories come from protein – a great vegetarian source.

2) White Beans

White beans are better than black in several ways. First, white beans better facilitate digestion as they are packed with fiber. Next, this superfood is high in calcium, which is good news for your bones. Plus, thanks to their mild, go-with-anything savory flavor, white beans are a little more versatile, working with rice and soups as well as meat and vegetables.

3) Chocolate Milk

Once the province of kids and adults looking for a late night snack with a glass of 2% and a bottle of Hershey’s syrup, chocolate milk has happily (for many) fully entered the discussion as a legitimate recovery beverage.  With a mixture of slow acting and quick acting proteins found in cow’s milk, plenty of carbohydrates, and a solid cache of calcium, chocolate milk helps you feel like a kid again in more ways than one.  Don’t feel guilty, and drink up.

4) Butternut Squash butternut

An autumn staple, that is an excellent sources of vitamins A and C. These are key nutrients to keep your immune system in cold- and flu-fighting shape. Butternute squash has less than half the calories of other filling carbs like whole wheat pasta.

*Try roasting to get a caramelized sweet taste, or toss with oil in the oven for a savory dinner. If you really want to elevate the experience, mix with pomegranate seeds, chopped scallion, lemon zest, crushed pistachios and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

5) Walnuts

On your salad, in your cookies, on top of cereal - adding walnuts to your diet on a regular basis can provide a host of health benefits.  Walnuts, an anti-oxidant source of Omega 3 fatty acids, have been studied to have a positive affect on a wide variety of health issues, particularly cardiovascular performance and cholesterol levels.  Sure, walnuts have a fairly high caloric and fat content if consumed in copious amounts, but the health benefits of a few ounces per day go a very long way.

6) Apples apple2

Apples are high in fiber and low in calories (just about 95 per medium apple), and are a good source of vitamin C for immunity support. Fall is the ideal apple picking season, so perhaps you can truly enjoy the fruits of your labor. Pair your apple with some nut butter for a filling and nutritous snack. Or bake an apple pie and enjoy knowing that, it's not just butter and flakey crust you are enjoying. 



Last modified on November 17, 2021
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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