If you’re a runner who wants to make sure you are eating right before, during and after a race, Spectrum Health dietitian Kristi Veltkamp has two words for you: whole foods.

“You don’t need to buy pricey supplements,” she said. “Whole foods are the best way.”

Veltkamp and Spectrum Health Culinary Medicine chef Elizabeth Suvedi recently hosted a cooking class and workshop for the Amway River Bank Run Road Warriors.

They focused on protein and carbohydrates and how they are readily available in the form of whole foods.

Complex carbohydrates—plentiful in whole grains, fruits and vegetables—are great for athletes, Veltkamp said. But don’t confuse them with the simple carbs like those found in a white bread, sodas and French fries.

And don’t think that all your protein must come from meat, Veltkamp added. Edamame, beans, chickpeas and nuts are great options. Keep in mind that one cup of edamame contains a whopping 18 grams of protein.

Here are a few other options for a nutrient-rich diet:

  • The nitrates found in celery, leafy greens and beets convert to nitric oxide in the body, which increases blood flow and improves aerobic endurance.
  • Vitamin D regulates the way your body responds to inflammation. Foods high in Vitamin D are fatty fish, egg yolks and fortified dairy products.
  • Foods high in omega 3, including salmon, tuna, walnuts and chia seeds, support brain health and reduce inflammation.
  • Consuming fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins C, E and A reduce the imbalances in the body caused by exhaustive exercise. These include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocado, broccoli, berries, citrus, tomatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes.
  • Herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon and rosemary contain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

“I hope people leave here inspired and wanting to cook,” Suvedi said as the group prepared Moroccan-spiced salmon, chicken salad with apples and raisins, coconut pecan date rolls, purple cabbage and edamame salad and several other dishes. Then they sat down to enjoy them.

The recipes are available here.

As Suvedi prepped the dishes, she queried runners about their training leading up to race day.

“After I run I feel so good,” Suvedi said. “I feel like I have accomplished something big.”