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5 Foods Perfect for Gluten Free Diet for Athletes

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Dietary needs are certainly something to take into consideration in your daily life and in your fitness plan, and this detail can extend beyond the general notion of what’s deemed to be healthy and what’s labeled as junk food. An example of an important issue to think about for your nutritional needs is if you experience a poor reaction to gluten. Those with Celiac disease (an autoimmune disease where gluten damages the small intestine) and individuals with a gluten sensitivity (individuals who experience GI issues, headaches, “brain fog”, joint pain and other medical issues after ingesting gluten) should avoid gluten.  Needless to say, for these individuals, gluten not only effects their daily life, but can hinder their running too.

However, you don’t need gluten to get the necessary carbohydrates needed to fuel your runs.  Here are 5 foods that will fuel a gluten-free runner.

Gluten-free versions of gluten-containing products

That’s right! You can still eat foods that seem like they would need to be banished from your dietary plans, if you alter those foods accordingly. Pasta, as an example, can be a part of your dinner.  Instead of being made from traditional wheat flour, it can be made from rice flour or another gluten-free flour.  Be sure to look on the box to make sure it’s a gluten-free version. If you follow those guidelines and do your research on the products and recipes that can lead to gluten-free versions of foods, you could still have some form of your favorite dishes throughout your week.


Unless you have a personal allergy or something similar, I can’t think of a diet that wouldn’t benefit from adding fruits to it. They’re natural, loaded with nutritional benefits, and they can tasty pretty yummy, too! A gluten-free diet is no different with this fruits-can-be-a-bonus quality, particularly since fruit can contain such a high level of carbs—something you need to be sure to add into your diet if you need to nix the gluten products. Fruits can be used for a quick snack—just grab some strawberries for a TV-watching snack—or be added to recipes to give some variety to your meals. However, it’s still worth looking on the packaging of dried fruits to make sure that they’re gluten-free. Otherwise, you might end up with a food product that managed to get some gluten residue from a wheat product from a factory or company that produces both products.


This is another easy-to-find and multiple-use product that can be added to your diet to make sure you’re getting the carbs you’re losing via a gluten-free lifestyle. Better still, potatoes have a number of nutritional benefits beyond carbs, like Vitamin C and fiber. They can be baked, mashed, and put in casseroles, among other things, so it’s a product that can give enough diversity to your weekly meal plans to keep you from getting bored. One day, you could have gluten-free potato soup. The next, maybe make that gluten-free casserole.  Potatoes are a versatile ingredient, and they can help to give you the energy you need to successfully finish your morning run.


Also beneficial to your diet, beans can be a great source of carbs in order to make up for the ones lost when going gluten-free. In addition to those carbs, beans contain protein and iron, both of which are beneficial for runners. And, once again, this is an ingredient that can be utilized in more than one way to add variety to your day-to-day food intake. You can make a bean salad on Monday, then have baked beans on Tuesday, and follow up on Wednesday with a rice and bean casserole. Whatever way you’re blending beans in with your meals and snacks for your lunch at the office, they’re a wonderful source of carbs and other nutrients.


This is a great substitute for the carbs you’ll lose with a gluten-free diet, and as an added bonus, it has protein. By bringing both of these aspects into your diet, quinoa is definitely worth adding to your meals throughout your week. Like the previous few items on this list, you can incorporate quinoa into many recipes such as quinoa chili, quinoa and vegetable salad, and quinoa with chicken.

Final Word

So there you have it – 5 gluten-free foods that are sure to fuel your next run! With a bit of research, you can get all of the nutrients, especially carbohydrates, you need through avenues beyond gluten-containing products, and fuel your runs just as well as those who eat gluten.  It does require some planning, but it’s worth the taking the time to learn your way around a gluten-free diet to create a healthier you.



Fitzgerald, M. (2015, May 21). Will a Gluten-Free Diet Make You a Faster Runner? Competitor. Retrieved from https://running.competitor.com/2015/05/nutrition/will-a-gluten-free-diet-make-you-a-faster-runner_128543

Main, E. (2013, October 28). The 9 Best Gluten-Free Foods for Runners. Rodale’s Organic Life. Retrieved from https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/best-foods-runners

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