My Typical Daily Diet
Eating right doesnt have to be difficult or a chore to plan. I enjoy the process of cooking and usually only spend 30-45 minutes preparing dinner.
Theres no single best diet for runners, but this is what my typical daily diet looks like.
Breakfast and mid-morning snack
- Banana, coffee with whole milk, two whole eggs scrambled with mixed vegetables and cheese
- Handful of cashews and a serving of full fat Greek yogurt with honey
Lunch and mid-afternoon snack
- Peanut M& Ms or a few pieces of dark chocolate with almonds
Dinner and post-meal snack
- Chips and guacomole or pita chips and hummus
- Baked eggplant in olive oil, pan fried asparagus, ground beef with beans
- Bowl of ice cream
- 1-2 beers or glasses of wine
Damn I eat a lot. Ive never kept a food journal but I can see why it can be so valuable! Just by writing down my typical daily diet I see that I eat a lot of dairy. It doesnt bother me but it can cause stomach issues for some who are more sensitive to lactose be careful with all the cheese, milk, and ice cream.
Its also important to distinguish between typical meals during regular training and meals during heavy marathon training. The picture in this section is a marathon meal with a homemade pizza and black beans. During periods of heavy volume Ill try to add 2-3 more servings of carbohydrates per day.
Fat Free Salad Dressing
Most people opting for fat-free salad dressings do it because they think that these dressings are low in calories and can oomph the nutritional firepower they get from eating greens.
But that thinking might be erroneous. In fact, fat-free dressings may hinder the amount of nutrients your body absorbs from eating veggies, according to Molecular Nutrition & Food Research study.
Therefore, you are better off eating your salads without filling them up with all the fat and calories.
If you cannot have your salads without some kind of dressing, then make your own olive-oil based dressing or throw in a few slices of avocado.
At least, you will boost the nutritional value of your salads without adding any chemicals or artificial additives.
Best Foods For Runners
A runners or triathletes nutrition is often the limiting factor stopping them from shaving 10 to 20 seconds from their minute per mile speed or overcoming a distance plateau.
Although training is obviously important, theres a good chance youve already dedicated a lot of time to this aspect of your plan. However, when it comes to nutrition, it may be likely that you arent optimizing your nutrition as well as you could.
Remember, although carbs are clearly key to maximize glycogen stores and avoid running out of energy, all the other macro and micronutrients have a key role. Focusing on the following foods and food groups will give you a bullet-proof nutrition plan to take your performance to the next level.
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Highlights Of The Mediterranean Diet
Of course the Mediterranean diet is termed such because it is inspired by foods eaten in the Mediterranean mainly Spain, Greece and Italy such as olive oil and fish. It is known to be plant-heavy, as well, and emphasizes those fats . Unlike a typical diet in the United States, you wont find as much red meat for us, it definitely follows the adage of shopping the perimeter of the grocery store where youll find whole foods versus venturing into the aisles for boxes and cans.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes and healthy fats, says Katie Hake, RDN, a dietitian and personal trainer. It tends to be lower in animal proteins and processed foods.
Studies have found the Mediterranean diet to be a gold standard, specifically noting the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of many of the foods. It has been referred to as a heart-healthy diet, though the American Heart Association is careful to point out the diet isnt completely synonymous with its dietary recommendations . When compared to the traditional Western diet, however, they definitely recognize the health benefits.
Beans and lentils are a great source of fiber and are included in many dishes, notes Hake. Fish is a highlight, and is a great source of heart-healthy and brain-friendly fatty acids. The use of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can also contribute to heart health and decreased risk of disease.
Add To Your Trolley: Dark Chocolate
As a runner you deserve at least one indulgence especially one you can feel so good about. Chocolate contains potent antioxidants called flavonols that can boost heart health. In one study, a group of soccer players had lower blood pressure and total cholesterol levels, and less artery-clogging LDL cholesterol after just two weeks of eating chocolate daily. Other research suggests that the chocolate flavonols ease inflammation and help prevent blood substances from becoming sticky, which lowers the risk of potential blood clots.
Add to your diet:
Besides the obvious , you can add dark chocolate to trail mix, dip it in peanut butter or combine it with fruit for an even greater antioxidant punch. Just keep track of the calories. Need some help?
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Add To Your Trolley: Frozen Mixed Berries
The colourful compounds that make blueberries blue, blackberries deep purple, and raspberries a rich shade of red are called anthocyanins a powerful group of antioxidants that may help stave off Alzheimers disease and some cancers. Anthocyanins may also assist with postrun recovery and muscle repair. Not bad for a fruit group that contains a mere 60 calories or so per cup. And remember: Frozen berries are just as nutritious as fresh ones, but they keep far longer , making it easier to always have them ready to eat.
Add to your diet:
Frozen berries make a great base for a smoothie and theres no need to thaw them. Once thawed, eat them straight up or add to some vanilla yogurt with chopped nuts. Or liven up your hot or cold cereal with a big handful. You can also bake berries with a nutty topping of oatmeal, honey, and chopped almonds for a sweet treat after a long weekend run.
Why Should Runners Try The 90/10 Diet
Many commercial diets present an all-or-nothing strategy, which often leads to extreme cravings, fluctuations in weight , and a low chance of successfully improving health and fitness.
Rather than trying to go all in, all the time, take a step back and try the 90/10, or 80/20, mindset with your nutrition.
Again, this is not to suggest you start calculating the percent of time you spend eating the right things, or junk foods.
The approach I endorse is that in which you ease up a bit on the food rules of right vs. wrong, healthy vs. unhealthy, clean vs dirty, or whatever categorical system of choice.
Fill up your 90% bucket with foods that nourish you and fuel your training, and use the 10& bucket to stay flexible and relaxed with your diet mentality.
The 10% of your favorite foods gives your brain a rest period and brings joy to your eating, which is equally as important for mental health, as Lanni Marchant, Canadian Record Holder discovered when she restricted her food intake in her 20s.
Without rest, we have no gains.
Without a break from drastic changes, we have no chance to check in with ourselves.
Approach changes to your diet as you would a new training schedule start with small changes first, and build on them to get to your goal.
Once you hit your stride with foods that give you energy, help you recover, and adequately fuel your health and training, take notice of what works for you.
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Carbs Needs Based On Training Intensity
Or, if you are a serious runner, determine your daily needs by assessing your training volume/intensity.
Use the guidelines below to guesstimate your general daily needs.
Just keep in mind that one gram of carbs contains four calories.
- Low to moderate intensity training45 to 60 minutes a day. 2 to 4 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.
- Moderate to somewhat intense endurance exercise60 to 120 minutes a day. 2.5 to 5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.
- High-intensity endurance exercise. Over three hours a day. 4 to 8 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.
These are suggestions taken from the 5th edition of the Manual for Professional.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chicago, IL 2012.
If you weigh 180 pounds and engage in relatively intense endurance exercise, running, and cross-training for at least one to two hours every day, then youd need something in the range of 450 to 900 grams of carbs each day.
Hydrate Drink Plenty Of Water
Water is essential to your body.
From lubricating joints to dissolving minerals to carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells.a runner MUST stay hydrated.
Ive seen different recommendations on the amount of water to drink each day but the rule I follow is:
Divide you body weight in half, and that is the number of ounces to drink daily.
So if you weigh 150lbs, you need to drink 75 fluid ounces of water every day.
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Importance Of Diet For Runners
If we looked at a pyramid of what matters most when it comes to our running performance a lot of people would be disappointed to realize that all the running supplements and recovery tools are near the top .
This pyramid is a great way to put where you spend your time in perspective.
What weve all come to learn is that every body works differently in regards to fueling and race day nutrition, but the one thing that all endurance athletes NEED GOOD QUALITY food the 75% of time theyre not training.
What Should Long Distance Runners Eat
The number of calories runners need depends a great deal on body size, speed and percentage of calories burned from carbs or fat.
I fully recommend working with someone to make those determinations, but you can use online calculators to get you starts.
However, as Ive stated previously with those calculators Id be eating enough to gain weight, not maintain and definitely not lose body fat.
- You dont want to have massive calorie deficits, which can lead to energy swings that make training harder
- You dont want a high volume of calories from sugary processed foods which cause inflammation
- You do need to plan ahead for meals to eat enough quality foods
I do NOT like to share what I eat because theres no guarantee it will work for you, but in Macros for Runners there is a sample day of eating from one runner and I will give you and idea of mine now.
In the following sections well breakdown each component of during a workout, carbs and protein.
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A Healthy Diet For Runners: Meal Plan
Lose weight fast with this slimming six-week diet plan
This 6-week healthy dietplan from Barbara Berkeley, MD and author of Refuse to Regain!, combines just the right mix of lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs to rev up your metabolism.
Each of the meals is coded by letter based on its calorie count:AA: 200 calories or lessA: 250-300 calF: 500-550 calG: Over 550 cal
Mix and match any meal in the same category whenever you’d like. Then choose three of our satisfying 100-cal snacks each day, and you’ll come to about 1,500 nutrition-packed calories a day. An added bonus: We’ve added meat-free menus and convenience foods, too. For more healthy snack ideas, check out these foods that burn fat.
The meal plan:Week 6
A few notes to help you on your way: Limit your drinks, whenever possible, to water, coffee, and tea. Drink skim milk toojust remember it has about 90 calories a cup.
Be sure to keep any salad dressings you eat under 25 calories per 2 Tbsp. We love these healthier dressing options:
– Walden Farms Honey Dijon and Balsamic Vinaigrette- Briannas Rich Santa Fe Blend- Hidden Valley Fat Free Ranch – Kraft CarbWell Lite Italian – Any of the salad spritzers
Green Tea Vs Sports Drinks
DRINK THIS: Green tea
NOT THAT!: Sports drinks
Fluid consumption is essential for everyone, but even more so for people headed out on runs over 30 minutes, as dehydration is one of the most likely contributors to fatigue. So when you’re thinking about hydrating, grab a cup of antioxidant-rich green tea over sans-antioxidants sports drinks. Antioxidants, like the catechins found in green tea, neutralize the increased concentration of DNA-damaging, cancer-causing free radicals that form in our bodies after a workout. Even better? Green tea can help increase endurance as well as your muscles’ capacity for fat burning, according to a study in American Journal of Physiology.
EAT THIS: Grass-fed Beef
NOT THAT!: Conventional grain-fed Beef
EAT THIS: Steel-cut oatmeal
NOT THAT!: Sugary cereal
Oatmeal is a high-fiber, low-glycemic food, which, according to a study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, is the perfect type of meal to eat before running to improve your endurance. The study determined that people who ate a low-glycemic meal like oatmeal three hours before a run had over a 7 percent increase in time to exhaustion compared to those who consumed a high-glycemic meal such as sugary cereal. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, in running terms, that could mean adding an extra mile to your workout.
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A Runners Guide To Diet Technique & Safety
When it comes to losing weight and staying in shape, running is one of the most effective options available. Running or jogging are forms of cardiovascular exercise that work and strengthen the heart. This not only helps to reduce a persons weight and body fat, but it also reduces the risk of heart disease and related illnesses such as heart attacks or strokes. Before starting to run for good health, however, a person must know how to do it properly in order to get the maximum benefits out of their cardiovascular exercise routine. Beginning runners will need to learn about the type of diets that work best for joggers, safety issues to avoid injuries, and proper running techniques.
Food For Runners 1: Chicken Breast
Hello chicken lovers! I got some great news for you.
Grilled, skinless chicken breast is aw5esome for weight loss because of its protein and calorie content.
Having chicken breast for lunch or dinner, without skin or breading, can help you consume fewer calories and help feel fuller for longer as well.
In fact, a 3-ounce portion of boneless, skinless chicken breast or one-half of a chicken breast contains roughly 140 calories, 25 grams of high quality protein.
Nevertheless, make sure to steer clear of fried chicken, chicken strips, and chicken nuggets because these are full-choke with calories and unhealthy fats, and will definitely compromise your weight loss efforts.
Plus, do your best to only consume free-roaming, organic chicken because this is a better option than those cooped up in factory farms.
I also prefer the taste of the organic kind.
But thats up to you and your personal preference.
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Nature Made Calcium Supplements
Calcium is an important part of any persons diet because it adds strength to our bones. Using a supplement can be an easy way to add this to your diet, especially if youre not into dairy products for health reasons or lifestyle preferences. While yogurt can be a great source of calcium, these supplements work just as well.
What To Eat During A Long Run
On easy runs lasting less than an hour: Most people can get by with drinking water and no foodyour body should have enough glycogen stored up to get you through.
On runs lasting longer than an hour: Bring some form of nutrition along to keep you energized and aid in recovery. For most runners, this means taking along snacks rich in carbohydrates, such as energy gels, chews and fruits. Here are some general guidelines:
- Most runners will want to limit their intake of carbohydrates to 3060 grams per hour. Sixty grams per hour is the maximum amount that most peoples bodies can process and eating more than this may cause an upset stomach.
- Aim for about 200300 calories per hour. With 1 gram of carbohydrates equaling 4 calories, aim for no more than about 240 calories of carbs per hour. .
For runs that last several hours or more: Consider mixing in some fat that will help you feel satiated and provide a break from all the gels and chews. Things like energy bars, nuts, beef jerky and PB& J sandwiches can be a good choice. Also, listen to your cravings. Your body does a surprisingly good job of telling you what it needs. If youre consistently doing long endurance runs, a small amount of protein may help speed your recovery.
Remember to aim for 200300 calories per hour. Many pre-packaged energy gels, bars and chews come in portion sizes that make this simple to do.
Video: What to Eat During a Run
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Super Foods For Runners
What you eat before, during and after each run significantly impacts your running performance and overall health, so you should think of diet as a major piece of your training arsenal.
Failing to address your nutritional needs will lead to mediocre performance, injury, and burnout.
To ensure your diet is up to the task, today Im going to share a list of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.
Theyre high in quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats as well as antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Keep Your Carb Intake Up And On Track
About 50% to 70% of your diet should be carbohydrates.
Resist the urge to jump on the low-carb bandwagon because you need them for energy if youre a runner or someone who does regular cardio exercise, Patton says. Carbs fuel the body with glycogen. This fuel is then stored in your muscles, which helps them perform. Not having enough carbs or cutting carbs out of your diet completely will make you feel fatigued and sluggish.
If you run about one hour per day, you should aim to eat about five to seven grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of your body weight, For endurance runners who train one to three hours per day, six to ten grams of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight is needed Patton recommends.
Heres how to calculate how many carbs you need:
- First, convert your weight from pounds to kilograms by dividing your weight by 2.2.
- Then, multiply that number by recommended grams of carb 5-10.
- So if you weigh 150 pounds, thats 150 ÷ 2.2 = 68 kilograms. And then 68 kilograms x 7 = 476 grams of carbs needed.
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