At this time of year, it's tempting to turn to stodgy meals to stay warm. Here's how to tailor cold weather running nutrition and keep your waistline!
Start Cold Days With A Warm Breakfast
Whether you run in the mornings, or just need to fuel up for the day ahead, make the most of breakfast. It's the time of year for porridge! Oats contain the energy you need in the form of carbohydrates, but won't leave you with a sugar crash like boxed cereals and other manufactured, processed breakfast options. Other benefits of porridge oats include high fibre, low GI and great nutritional statistics. Choose the raw, natural, whole options rather than branded oats with added sugars. Just basic flaked oats are great.
Here's our favourite porridge recipe for busy runners:
- 50g porridge oats (raw weight)
- 1 small ripe banana
- Scoop (25-30g) protein powder (whey or a plant-based option such as flavoured brown rice or pea protein)
- 1 tsp nut butter (try almond, cashew or a seed butter rather than peanut butter)
Pre soak the oats overnight (this makes them easier to digest). In the morning, cook the oats by adding a little extra water (you can use milk but we don't think you need it). Half way through the cooking time, add in the banana (chopped or mashed). When the porridge has cooked to your desired consistency, stir in the protein powder and top with the nut or seed butter - it'll melt into a delicious pool!
What About The Rest Of The Day?
Cold sandwiches are not only unappealing in Winter months but they don't do much for your diet. Sandwiches (even home made ones) are devoid of nutrition, heavy on empty, useless carbohydrates, and your waistline's enemy. So try homemade soup instead! Batch cook your favourite (we love ham and vegetable, using really good quality ham from a local butcher) and then take it with you to school or work, in a thermos or in a container ready to reheat at lunchtime.
Rather than adding bread to your soup lunch, try one of these options - it might take a mental readjustment but it'll mean you don't have to readjust your belt to accommodate your bread-belly!
- eat soup with a side dish of hot rice or a jacket potato
- make homemade sweet potato wedges to eat with your soup
- add extra protein to your soup for greater staying power: top with a blob of greek yoghurt, quark or cottage cheese
A slow cooker (or crock pot) is a runner's secret weapon in the fight against winter weight gain. Check out our article on slow cooker recipes for some ideas to get your started. Share your recipes, snack ideas, breakfast favourites and other winter nutrition tips on our forums and Facebook pages. We love to learn from each other!