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The 6 Best Proteins Pastas Recommended By Runners

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Athletes need protein for repairing and building muscle, fueling the body, and helping facilitate recovery.

Ideally, a runner will get about 9 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. A 150-pound athlete should eat between 75-135 grams of protein daily. One problem some runners encounter when trying to get in an adequate amount of protein is that meat sources do not always agree with a runner’s gastrointestinal system as they train hard.

This is one of many reasons why runners often turn to other protein sources, such as protein pasta.

Is Protein Pasta Good for Runners?

Protein pasta is excellent for runners.

Most runners tend to focus on the amount of carbohydrates they should consume and neglect protein. The simple fact is that most athletes, particularly runners, do not eat enough protein to fulfill the dietary recommendations.

Add to that athletes who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, and you can see the need for non-meat protein sources.

Protein Pasta vs. Regular Pasta

Protein pasta is high in fiber, lower in carbs, and high in protein. Protein pasta also offers more complete nutritional value than regular pasta. Why not sneak in some extra nutrition where and when you can?

Many protein pasta options have a very similar pasta taste to what you are looking for. This is especially true if you use tomato sauce, as some herbs and spices will nicely complement the pasta.

Our 6 Protein Pasta Recommendations

We have some excellent recommendations to try instead of white pasta in your next pasta recipe.

As you have come to expect, you can count on us to steer you toward some great-tasting pasta brands in each category.

1. Ancient Grains Pasta

Ancient grains include quinoa and chia paste. El Dorado makes a gluten-free ancient grain spaghetti that is nutritious and delicious.

El Dorado pasta

2. Chickpea Pasta

Chickpeas are a legume that can be made into delicious, gluten-free pasta. Available on Amazon and in many grocery stores, an excellent brand to try is Banza chickpea pasta.

Banza Chickpea Pasta

Banza chickpea pasta

3. Edamame Pasta

Made from edamame beans, this pasta option has 6 times the fiber and half the carbs of traditional pasta. Try The Only Bean edamame pasta.

The Only Bean Edamame Pasta

The Only Bean edamame pasta

4. Fava Bean Pasta

Another bean-based, low-carb, high-protein option we love is made by Explore Cuisine.

Explore Cuisine Organic Fava Bean Fusilli

Explore Cuisine organic chickpea fusili

5. Lentil Pasta

Made from either red or green lentils, lentil pasta is higher in protein and fiber than wheat pasta. It has a firm texture when cooked and a slightly nutty taste.

A brand to try is Barilla red lentil rotini, which is crafted from red lentil flour.

Barilla Red Lentil Rotini Pasta

Barilla red lentil rotini pasta

6. Yellow Pea Pasta

Another excellent option is pasta made from pea protein. A brand to try is ZenB plant-based pasta.

ZenB Plant-Based Pasta

ZENB plant-based penne pasta

What Protein Pasta is Best Before a Long Distance Run?

Before running a half marathon, marathon, or other long-distance run, you will want to carb load. Although you do need to be careful not to eat something new right before or on race day, we do have some suggestions you should try out and consider.

Just remember to give the new pasta a test run the night before long run.

Barilla Protein+ (Plus): This pasta is an excellent plant-based protein option that is made from peas, lentils and chickpeas. It is available in many different noodles, such as rotini and elbow noodles.

BARILLA Protein+ (Plus) Rotini Pasta

BARILLA Protein+ (Plus) rotini pasta

There are many other excellent protein pasta options (see the above-mentioned variety) that can help you carb load without raising your blood sugar too high!

What are the Benefits of Eating Pasta for Runners?

  • Calories: Pasta is relatively high in calories which distance runners in particular need when deep in a heavy training cycle.
  • Carbohydrates: Pasta is rich in complex carbohydrates which is excellent fuel for running.
  • Digestibility: Pasta is very easy to digest which can help runners avoid gastrointestinal distress.
  • Low Fat: Pasta is a low-fat food that many runners follow, especially leading up to race day.
  • Taste: Whether you enjoy your pasta dishes with marinara, meat sauce, Alfredo sauce, or something else, pasta is delicious.
  • Weight Management: Another reason that athletes (and others) try to eat more protein (such as high-protein pasta) is because pasta leaves you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. This makes protein good for weight loss.

Best Ways to Enjoy Pasta

  • Alfredo: Alfredo is a heavy, rich white sauce made from heavy cream, butter and parmesan cheese.
  • Butter and Seasoning: A simple way to enjoy pasta is lightly buttered with just a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Marinara Sauce: Tomato sauce made with onions, garlic and seasoning, marinara is often referred to as spaghetti sauce. This can be enjoyed with or without meat.
  • Pesto: Mix up fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan and the result is a delicious sauce called pesto.

Other Excellent Sources of Protein for Runners

Natural protein sources for runners
Natural protein sources for runners; source: sukhis.com

While protein pasta is delicious and can certainly be a great way to add protein to your diet, there are other excellent food sources of protein.

  • Dairy: High-protein dairy items include cottage cheese, greek yogurt and milk.
  • Grains: There are grains like quinoa and wild rice that add protein to a diet.
  • Legumes: Enjoy beans and lentils to get extra protein.
  • Meat: Although all meat has protein, it is best to stick to lean items such as chicken, fish or lean cuts of pork and beef.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts and pistachios are all great, high-protein nuts.
  • Vegetables: Some high-protein veggies are spinach, broccoli, edamame, asparagus and Brussels sprouts.

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