Food for Thought

Any runner will tell you that fueling the body and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to any successful running program. Whether you are training for your next big race or just running casually, you must fuel your body with the right foods prior to your run and following your run. Eating the right types of foods will help give you the energy you need to get through your runs while rebuilding certain muscles groups following your runs.

Many runners training on an empty stomach, consuming foods that cause dizziness, stomach aches or chronic headaches are making crucial running mistakes. Besides those common mistakes many runners “forget” to refuel their bodies following their workout. Whether running first thing in the morning or later in the day, it’s important that you eat the right foods.

Below you will find a list a great healthy and simple breakfast meals/snacks:

  1. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie: Blend 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, 1 cup soy or almond milk (which keep longer out of the fridge than regular milk), and a few ice cubes. (Add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein for an extra protein boost.) 
  2. Waffle PB & J-Which: Prepare 1 whole-grain toaster waffle and slice in half. Spread with 2 tablespoons nut butter and layer 2-3 sliced strawberries on top in place of the traditional jelly (to cut down on sugar).
  3. Savory Oatmeal and Eggs: Prepare as usual with milk or water, but add a pinch of salt and pepper instead of any cinnamon or sugar, and top with an over-easy or poached egg.
  4. Fruit Soup: Cold fresh fruit, and cold milk. Chop 1 cup of fruit of your choosing (peaches, plums, berries, and mango are delicious!) and combine in a container with ½-1 cup milk of choice. Keep chilled until ready to enjoy.
  5. Egg White Sandwich: Microwave 2 egg whites along with 1 handful spinach and a sprinkle of salt for 30-45 seconds. Place in a whole wheat English muffin or sandwich thin with 1 slice of cheddar cheese (optional). Wrap in foil so the cheese melts evenly, and enjoy whenever the craving hits!

Timing is everything when it comes to eating a meal or snack, especially for those of us who like to train in the afternoons post-work. Below this food chart, like the one I use, comes in handy!

Time Food Ideas Foods to Avoid
2 hours before

300- to 400-calorie meal containing carbs, protein, and healthy fats:

  • Cooked quinoa and grilled chicken
  • Whole wheat pasta with cheese and veggies
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with blueberries and sliced almonds
  • Wrap filled with grilled fish, avocado, and mango
Tons of fibrous veggies:

  • Broccoli, onions, beans

High-fat foods that are hard to digest:

  • Burgers, fries, ice cream
Time Food Ideas Foods to Avoid
1 hour before 150-calorie snack containing easily digestible carbs and a little protein:

  • Whole wheat toast with nut butter
  • Whole grain crackers and hummus
  • Small bowl of cereal
  • Half a fruit and nut bar
  • Cheese stick and carrots
Gas-producing fruits:

  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Melon
15 to 30 minutes before Small serving of easily digestible carbs:

  • Banana
  • Applesauce
  • A few saltine crackers
  • Raisins
Large serving of protein and carbs, and high-saturated fat and high-fiber foods:

  • Pasta
  • Bagel and cream cheese
  • Fried chicken
  • Granola bar (high in calories and fiber)

Just like pre-run meals or snacks,  post-run meals are just as important. Research shows that an ideal post-workout meal should be between 400-500 calories with 20-30 grams protein, and 50-65 grams carbs to help rebuild muscle. Recovery meals are key to any fit & healthy lifestyle along with any training program so make sure you are never “forget” to eat even if it’s just an 8 oz glass of low-fat chocolate milk!

Food for Thought

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