Before we get into it – this article is not about any sort of dieting methods and losing weight.
It is more about providing you with tips on what to eat and drink being a runner to make sure that you keep strong and healthy.
If you know me at all, you are aware of how much I love food!
So, let’s get cracking!
More Running – More Food!
That’s the beautiful part about running. You need to fuel your body which means – more running your do, more nutrients you need! Running will naturally make you more hungry as your body is pretty good at telling you when it needs more fuel.
But what is the best nutrition for runners? Eating more fast food is probably not the best solution.. It might feel good and you might think that, just because you are running, you will get rid of those calories just in one run. However…
It’s not just about calories!
Having spent my childhood and teenage yeas in the countryside and eating homegrown food, I have never been a big fan of fast food, even now. But it has become a habit in a lot of households and does contribute to a lot of health issues.
Firstly, my advice is to cook more. Home cooked food is so much better for you, especially if it is organic. I find it fascinating when I hear people say it’s not worth it and organic food is way too expensive. Yet, they can spend 40 dollars on one meal alone in a restaurant… Seems silly to me.
As I have said in my previous articles – moderation and variety is the key to a good nutrition.
Us – runners, just need more of it!
Guess what? Carbs are NOT bad!
Runners need carbs! Especially if you have a race/long run coming up. Loading up on carbs a day before is essential and will actually improve your performance. You will have more energy and strength!
And carbs are not just pasta, you know. Although pasta is amazing! I actually make my own (inspired after several trips to Italy).
I tend to alternate between pasta, buckwheat, brown rice, beans, whole grains, potatoes. By the way, there are SO MANY ways to cook potatoes, lots of truly amazing recipes which I am sure I will share with you at some point!
Right, beetroot! (Yes, also contains carbohydrates)
Beetroot is amazing if you like it. It has so many good nutrients in it like vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, inorganic nitrates which is why it’s a runner’s friend! It is actually used to boost physical performance especially in endurance running!
Protein is probably the most important nutrient for runners. Running wears our body out more, it’s a fact! That is why it is so important to repair it.
This is where proteins help us by being essential for growth, repair and maintenance of our bodies as they are full of amino acids.
According to British Nutrition Foundation: ”Protein provides the body with approximately 10 to 15% of its dietary energy and it is the second most abundant compound in the body, following water.”
I am not going to name all the protein foods in this article, but the main ones that I use in my diet are chicken, turkey, lamb, lots of fish and mainly – eggs! Love eggs!
Protein shakes and snacks usefulness..
The first thing you might think, when hearing about sports nutrition, is having lots of protein shakes and bars.
Yes, they will help you build muscle, I am no denying that. But I will be completely honest with you…
1. I have tried many and still haven’t found the one that I actually can drink without gagging by the time I get half-way through the cup. If your protein powder is super sweet and tastes like a chocolate milkshake – it is full of crap. Excuse my french..
2. Protein shakes and snacks ARE NOT meals and should never replace a meal. They are just a dietary supplement.
3. Most protein powders are high in added sugars and highly processed- not great for you blood sugar level or general health at all.
4. Protein powders have not been around for that long and the world is still learning about the effect it leaves on our bodies and health long term.
5. I suggest getting your protein intake from REAL FOOD. That is the best way! And it tastes good! I am not saying to never have a protein shake or snacks. I have them once in a while myself. But try not to build them into your daily meal plan.
Antioxidants all the way!
Health experts always talk about how important antioxidants are to fight the free radicals that damage your cells and just age you (from your skin to your heart).
Free radicals are found anywhere in the environment, chemicals, rays of sun and smoke.
Runners spend a lot of time outdoors and get exposed to these free radicals which is why it is important to include plenty of foods that are rich in antioxidants in your diet.
Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells from these harmful effects free radicals have on you and they are found on most of brightly coloured vegetables and fruits. Below are just few examples that I include in my diet as well.
>spinach and other dark greens
>peppers and tomatoes
>blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries
Look after your body!
If you don’t look after your body – no one will!
I sound like a mum, right?
Try to eat organic (I actually grow vegetables myself) – feed your body with good stuff!
Eat more when running a lot!
Be mindful of how much processed food you are eating!
Cook and bake! There are so many different recipes – get a cook book 🙂 Home made food is always better for you!
It is also worth to get an allergies test. You might be eating something that is harming your health without you even knowing.
We only get one body during our life – take care of it!