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Healthy Nutrition Tips For Runners

Runners need to eat healthily to fuel their workouts properly and help build stronger bodies. Develop these mindful and healthy eating habits to get the most out of the food — and the runs.

1. Eat Fresh Foods Only-Try to keep the fridge and pantry stocked with foods that make up a nutritious, heart-healthy diet, such as whole grains, fish, lean meats, vegetables, and fruits. They’ll provide essential nutrients, help fuel the workouts properly, and aid in the post-run recovery. Try to minimize the number of processed foods eaten.

2. Spread Meals Throughout Day-Throw the notion of three large meals a day out the window — it doesn’t work for runners. One needs more calories during the day than sedentary people, so it’s better to spread them out with a small meal every three to four hours. Eating mini-meals will help maintain energy levels throughout the day and keep one from feeling hungry all the time. It’ll also reduce the risk of overheating if one has had it before you’re feeling very hungry.

3. Cheat Wisely, Eat Well-We all know what happens if one doesn’t give in to their favorite foods: One day they’ll have a monster craving and end up overindulging. It’s better if one allows themselves small portions of the foods they love and does not force themselves to eat foods they really don’t like. In the long run, it will save calories, as they’ll feel more satisfied and be less likely to binge and eat mindlessly. Eating in moderation is the key. Try not to do entire “cheat days,” but a small amounts of high-fat or high-calorie foods are fine in small amounts.

4. Choose From Various Food Options-Try to not get into the habit of eating the same foods day after day. Pasta often becomes a staple of a runner’s diet, but there are lots of other healthful and interesting carb choices for runners, such as couscous, rice, or quinoa. Different fruits and vegetables supply different nutrients, so it’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables too. A good rule of thumb with fruits and vegetables is to eat a variety of different colors.

5. Add Small Protein Portions-Runners focus so much on consuming their carbs that their protein needs sometimes get forgotten. Protein is used for some energy and to repair tissue damaged during training. Protein should make up about 15% of daily intake. Runners, especially those training for long distances such as marathons, should consume .5 to .75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Good sources of protein are fish, lean meat, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, egg whites, low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, and some vegetables.

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