What Runners Eat

ImageI wrote this guest post for my blog-friend Jess, at Pugrunaholic. A couple days ago, I reblogged it on my page so my readers could check out the article and Jess’ page…. But, alas, a few of my friends who subscribe via email said they couldn’t read it. Not sure why but here’s the article:

Recently, Runner’s World magazine proposed a list of the 15 foods that runners should eat every week.  

The RW list includes Almonds, Eggs, Sweet potatoes, Whole grain cereal with protein, Oranges, Black beans, Mixed salad greens, Salmon, Whole grain bread, Frozen stir-fry vegetables, Whole grain pasta, Chicken, Frozen mixed berries, Dark chocolate and Low fat yoghurt

I looked back on grocery lists that I have made on my weekly treks to Trader Joes and have found my own weekly list contains most of these items, except salmon, I rarely buy salmon. I might be the only fish eater who doesn’t go goo-goo ga-ga over salmon. At a restaurant, I can order a nice Salmon steak but when I have to cook, salmon is not my go-to protein. Then yesterday, I was listening to Chef Mario Batali and he said that if salmon is overcooked, it leaves an aftertaste, and I had my little epiphany. Ahhh! Overcooking, that must be it! So since then, I’ve been thinking maybe I’ll give salmon another fry (fry, instead of try, get it? J)

So, back to the foods Runners World proposed for the weekly grocery list. Based on some of the food research I have done otherwise, there are a few items I would not recommend. For example, I know runners need carbs for energy but I don’t think we need to eat pasta. We consume so much wheat in so many other ways that when we cook, we should probably try to get other grains in the mix. I like oranges as much as the next guy but there are other, better sources of Vitamin C.  And, I think variety makes everything that much more fun. And cooking and eating and running and living should ALL be fun!

My saladSo, I am going to put my little spin on things and give you a list of foods to eat every week if you want to RUNWRIGHT.

  1. Unsalted nut mix – Cashews, Walnuts and Almonds, I concur with almonds but the benefits of walnuts are unparalleled and I just really love cashews. I have been on a low-sodium rampage for a while so I recommend you buy unsalted and then if you really miss the salt, sprinkle a little sea salt for flavor.
  2. Eggs. Eggs are a perfect food, especially if you cook them in a healthy way, like poached or make a sunny side up in a non-stick pan so you don’t have to add more than a drop of olive oil.
  3. Butternut Squash. I LOVE to prepare a medley of butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots – Dice so they are about 1 inch cubes, toss with a little olive oil and herbs and roast in the oven until they are crisp.
  4. Quinoa. 2013 was dubbed the international year for quinoa and runners can adopt quinoa as their new food because it has a phytonutrient that helps prevent inflammation that we are susceptible to after long runs. Quinoa also has a bunch of important nutrients, including Omega 3,
  5. Sweet peppers. Red Sweet Peppers are one of the best Vitamin C sources – better than oranges – and can be added to any savory dish for a little texture and flavor.
  6. Red Beans, or Black beans or Garbanzo Beans or String beans. Beans. Lots of Beans. Any kind of beans. Beans are excellent protein sources, they are cheaper than animal protein, we can prepare them in healthier ways than most animal protein sources and plant-based protein is more easily accessible to us than meat protein. Disclaimer: Some people have trouble digesting beans and are plagued with gassy episodes that last for hours after. However, there are a few natural digestive enzymes that you can buy over-the-counter. Some of my vegetarian friends take a tablet called Beano when they eat not just beans, but any complex carbohydrates. Personally, I don’t have any issues so when they are opening up their bottle of beano, I am already snacking on appetizers.
  7. Ginger. Ginger has a lot of medicinal properties but you can eat it purely for it’s digestive properties – helps with gassy situations mentioned in bean cuisine, above.
  8. Salad greens – I love kale and spinach, raw  and cooked. I like to make kale salads or buy frozen spinach and mix a little into EVERYthing – pasta, stir fries, sauces, eggs, quinoa salad, everything.
  9. Salmon. I am putting salmon on my list because it is wildly popular with my friends and my doctor recommends it and I am willing to give salmon another try. Get the wild-caught variety because there is a whole host of research and disturbing news about farm raising methods so I say avoid that if you can.
  10. Broccoli. Eating broccoli is one of the best things you can do for your health. Cooked broccoli has some particular nutrients that combine with bile acids in our digestive tract to help lower cholesterol
  11. Blueberries. Buy them fresh or frozen. Just buy them. Buy extra when they are on sale and freeze them. They make for excellent healthy treats or night-time snacking.
  12. Dark chocolate. The darker the better. Helps boost heart health. And it tastes great.
  13. Greek yoghurt. Greek yoghurt, mixed with toasted oats, a handful of fresh blueberries and chopped almonds is an excellent breakfast idea.
  14. Mushrooms. Good source of all B vitamins, copper, selenium and potassium (which most people don’t get enough of). Eating mushrooms help to boost your immunity, helps with production of red blood cells, and protects against cell damage – damage from normal aging process as well as from running. Also, they say mushrooms are the only natural plant-based food item that gives you vitamin D.
  15. Garlic. Helps regulate blood pressure and boosts immunity. Also helps to remedy respiratory problems. Have a problem breathing while you’re running? Try adding some garlic to your daily diet. It also has great anti-inflammatory properties, which is helpful for runners and other athletes.
  16. Avocado. Great for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. It is high in fat, but healthy fat, the kind found in olive oil. And it tastes delicious. Add slices to your favorite salad, sandwich, stir fry, atop a steak or with a soup. The possibilities are endless.

Check out my blog. I’ll be posting a follow-up piece showing tasty recipes that feature the foods presented in the list above.

All in a bid to Eat Right, Live Right, RUN WRIGHT.

Karen is an Engineer, Runner and Writer in New York City. Follow her blog at https://runwright.net/

Disclaimer: The information presented above is based on my own research and from things I have read from different sources online, in magazines and in books. I am not a medical practitioner or nutritionist, just a runner who wants to eat the best and tastiest foods that I can.

Consult your doctor before you make any drastic changes in your diet, alter your medications or begin any exercise regimen.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. sarahdudek80 says:

    These are great. Thanks!


    1. runwright says:

      Glad you like it. Meal pics coming soon


  2. Laura says:

    I love this post! Eating as a runner requires so much thought and prep!


    1. runwright says:

      Thanks, Laura. Yes, you can eat anything and run around but when you want to train for events, food has to be a fundamental part of the plan.


  3. Mummy Wright says:

    Food is fundamental- Runner or not. Much of our illness are caused by not having a healthy diet. The right Food can also cure some illnesses. So, continue to Eat Right and naturally, Run Wright.


    1. runwright says:

      You’re right (and Wright), Mummy. Hippocrates would agree with you. He said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”


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