These pantry staples for runners are long shelf life foods that will improve performance and recovery.
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One of my favorite topics for runners is eating enough, as you probably know. While I think many people focus on the training aspects of running, I prefer to focus on fueling. Running and training is nothing without sufficient, adequate and proper fueling.
With fall marathon season here, it’s weird to not be experiencing the excitement leading up to races, like the Boston Marathon and Chicago marathon. But truthfully, these healthy pantry staples are great for runners to eat year round, and can be monumental leading up to the spring 2021 marathon season.
I love getting many of my pantry staples from Thrive Market! The prices are unbeatable and they have such a variety and selection – kinda like Trader Joe’s and costco in one!
These long shelf life foods are great for getting more bang for your buck, and always having runner-friendly food options available.
That being said, today I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite pantry staples for runners. This is another post in my spring sports nutrition collection. Don’t forget to check out the last one about all things race day nutrition before your next race.
Instead, these kitchen staples have a great home in the pantry and are foods that last a long time. Pantry staples make quick easy meals for athletes come together in a convenient fashion.
BUT, when I’m out of pantry staples, Freshly is my favorite delivery service because the meals are healthy and already prepped – all you have to do is heat them up!
As we all know, carbohydrates are a runner’s best friend and the instant fuel and energy for runners. Therefore, carbohydrates should make up the bulk of kitchen staples for runners.
Eating certain carbohydrates at distinct times can really help with reducing stomach pain during running and reducing stomach pain after running.
And, fortunately, many of these on the pantry list for runners are long shelf life foods, meaning you don’t have to replace them as often. You can buy them in bulk to save money and not worry about them going bad.
Buying in bulk is also one of my favorite tips to save money on groceries!
Favorite Carbohydrate Pantry Staples
- Dried Fruit
- Granola & Trail Mix (Although I prefer to make my own high protein granola)
- Maple Syrup
- Energy Bars (it’s hard to find energy bars high in CARBS, and low in PROTEIN)
Now, let’s break each one down a little further. All of these are great staples for meals for vegan runners!
Probably my most recommended pantry staple for runners.
Oats are so versatile and can be a blank canvas for toppings and flavor. Whether you like a bowl of hot oats, overnight oats, sweet potato baked oatmeal or vegan energy bites with oats, these are a must-have.
Full of complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron and beta-glucans (great for lowering cholesterol), these will help provide quick energy as well as longer lasting energy.
I always have raisins on hand because they are the easiest possible snack around. I also love dried mango and tart dried cherries, which you can get in bulk at Costco. And Sunmaid’s sour raisins are my favorite!
Tart cherries (and tart cherry juice) are great for runners and may help with muscle recovery and reducing inflammation from oxidative stress.
While there are many types of pasta on the market, I like the good old white and wheat pasta.
Pasta is the most basic pantry staples for runners, and as easy of a meal option as they come. It’s great for mixing with vegetables and can cook up quickly, when you’re
hangry hungry after a run.
If you choose pasta-alternatives or other protein pastas, be sure you’re still getting sufficient carbohydrates in your meal.
If you have more time, we love this veggie pasta bake in our house. Sometimes I make a few each week (and freeze one) to quickly reheat. Or, use egg noodles as a base in this easy egg noodle stir fry.
Granola & Trail Mix
The best easy snack for runners. You get the nutritional boost of oats, dried fruit, and healthy, inflammation-reducing unsaturated fats from nuts and seeds.
Maple syrup is a great carbohydrate and simple sugar source for runners. But, another reason it’s on the pantry list for runners is because it also has micronutrients, like zinc, iron, manganese, potassium and calcium.
I love buying this at Costco because you get a much larger size for your money. True maple syrup (and you want the real stuff) can be expensive, so this is one of my pantry staples for runners to buy in bulk.
Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes
Another no-brainer that this deserves on kitchen staples list. Sweet potatoes are bursting with complex carbs, which help to replenish those glycogen stores that runners deplete after long runs.
They also have ample beta carotene, an antioxidant and a precursor for Vitamin A, which can help with recovery and immunity. Additionally, they have Vitamin C, iron and potassium.
Whole Wheat Bread & Baking Essentials
This almond flour banana muffins recipe are great energy-rich snacks and easy to grab and go and take for a post-workout snack or to the office.
Some of these contain carbohydrates too, but have a larger proportion of protein. Usually, when we’re hungry and need food quick, we turn to carbohydrates.
And they may satisfy that initial hunger, but often times, we need more substantial energy, in the form of protein and/or fat.
So, keeping these kitchen staples on hand will be a life saver.
Favorite Protein Pantry Staples
- Protein Powder (I love Vega because it includes tart cherry and probiotics in its blend) and Garden of Life for a plant based blend.
- Kodiak cakes (protein pancakes)
- Canned tuna and salmon
- Peanut butter
- Lentils & legumes
- Chickpea pasta
I’m a sucker for pancakes, and Kodiak Cakes makes it easy to make them quickly (not just reserved for Saturdays). They also use whey protein powder to up the protein content in pancakes, making them a more well-balanced meal option.
Still, great to add fruit, seeds, and nuts/nut butter for a more complete meal.
This is one of my favorite post long run meals. Plus, they contain carbohydrates too.
Canned salmon and tuna
One of the quickest sources of protein and healthy fats. I love to buy the bulk cans of canned salmon at Costco, and they usually last a few months.
When I need a quick snack or meal, I just pop some on bread or an english muffin for a sandwich, or have some with crackers and hummus.
If you want to disguise the taste a little more, form them into salmon patties!
Quinoa can be bland on its own, so I always like to cook it in chicken broth or coconut milk. I also love a good cheesy quinoa.
Quinoa is great for a quick salad optoin, quinoa mango salad, or mixing with legumes, canned beans or canned tuna. Plus, it’s a complete protein (meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that our body can’t make) with 8 grams of protein per cup (cooked).
Quinoa is another one of my favorite pantry staples and long shelf life foods. Buying it in bulk saves alot of money!
If you’re a regular reader, this is not surprising. I don’t go a day without peanut butter.
I often involve it in multiple meals and snacks every day. It’s an easy source of protein and unsaturated fats (great for reducing inflammation after long runs), and also provides magnesium and zinc.
The Kirkland brand of peanut butter is my favorite. Not only is it just peanuts and salt, it is the ultimate creamy peanut butter.
And I’ve tried ALOT of peanut butters. Plus, the size alone is unbeatable.
Or, if you prefer making your own peanut butter, this homemade salted peanut butter is a game changer.
Lentils and Canned Beans
Legumes, lentils and beans represent ways to add plant-based protein to your lifestyle! Canned beans are certainly one of the pantry staples because they cook in minutes and can be added to anything (pasta, rice, salads, soups).
I prefer canned beans (rather than dry beans) on the pantry list for runners because they cook much quicker, and usually, time is of the essence!
Love having this on hand as an alternative (with more protein) to regular pasta.
We like to mix them together and add some frozen vegetables and cheese in for a quick meal!
If we were talking about fridge essentials, I would also add eggs (the most versatile ingredient there is, in my opinion) and yogurt. And for freezer essentials, frozen vegetables are a staple in our house.
- Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds – These are easy toppings for salads, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods and more. Extra unsaturated fats, iron, calcium, protein and other micronutrients.
- Coffee – There is some research showing that caffeine may be an ergogenic aid in regards to sports performance, but it is on an individual basis (as we all react differently and may be sensitive to different amounts).
- Olive Oil or Avocado Oil – Avocado oil is great for high heat cooking, but both options are great sources of unsaturated fats.
- Electrolytes – Electrolytes are vital for runners, especially in warm weather running. We lose electrolytes through sweat, so it’s important to replenish them for optimal performance. They help with the exchange of nutrients and waste products between cells, fluid balance, blood pressure, regulating pH and more. You can find them in packets or in bulk.
Well, there you have it. Those are some of my most-used pantry staples and what’s on my pantry list for runners.
Curious to hear what’s on yours!
What are your favorite pre/post run pantry staples?