5 Healthy Eating Tips For Runners This Winter
It’s cold, damp and dark, but you need to put in the running miles. Here are five healthy eating suggestions which will keep you up and running throughout Winter.
Make Time For Breakfast
Changes in daylight and temperature can often throw your sleep patterns and routine into disarray. Don’t let breakfast suffer. It’s important to start the day with a nutritious meal, particularly when you’re a runner. Choose a good combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats, and plenty of fluids.
Here’s what we’re enjoying at the moment:
– 50g oats (dry weight) cooked in water
– handful frozen berries (great for extra fibre, vitamins and anti-oxidants)
– 4 egg whites or a scoop of protein powder
– top with 2 teaspoons nut butter, seed butter (like tahini or sunflower butter), coconut oil (it’s solid at room temperature), nuts or seeds.
Enjoy with a black coffee and a large glass of water for a great start to the day!
Eat The Rainbow
Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to vegetables and fruits. This is a great time of year to try out new side dishes, salads and veggie accompaniments to meals. A wide variety of colours on your plate means you’ll be taking in a good range of vitamins and micronutrients from your food, which will help boost your immune system for better running performance. Take a cue from mother nature and see what’s in season. Squashes are great for runners: a good source of carbohydrates along with vitamins, fibre and micronutrients. Rhubarb and Bramley apples make great healthy desserts for us runners (enjoy with a bit of greek yoghurt and raw honey). Kale, brussels sprouts and other leafy and cruciferous greens are just about the healthiest vegetables you can eat. Why not set yourself the challenge of buying one “new to you” vegetable every time you shop?
Drink More Water
As runners, we need to drink more water than the average person, to rehydrate after training, to nourish our cells and to help the body rid itself of toxins which build up during training. But when it’s cold, drinking water can feel like a chore. Here are some great tips which work for the running4women team:
– drink one full glass of water when you wake up, one full glass before bed and one full glass during any regular “dead time” in your day (feeding the kids, paying bills online, preparing dinner, washing up)
– carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go and make sure you’ve drunk it before you get home
– find a herbal tea you love! You can enjoy it hot or cold (adding herbal tea bags to cold water makes it much more enjoyable to drink)
– add lemon, cucumber or fresh herbs to cold water for a tasty treat
At this time of year, there’s temptation everywhere, from Christmas lunches, to extra alcohol, not to mention buffet and canape food. We’re all for enjoying ourselves (and showing off your runner’s physique in a party dress!) but there’s a balance to be found. Here’s what helps us:
– limit gravy, sauces, dips and toppings
– have some alcohol-free parties (if you feel you need an excuse to turn down drinks, offer to be the designated driver)
– eat mindfully (do you really want that extra side dish? do you really need that second or third helping? will that bread or sauce add anything to the meal?)
Make The Most Of Festive Food
Christmas food can actually be extremely healthy for runners. It’s often the accompaniments and the cooking methods which turn these healthy foods into diet disasters. Turkey meat is a fantastic low fat source of protein (so important for runners) and full of iron. Just don’t drown it in gravy, stuffing or bread sauce. We often have more vegetables at Christmas meals than with other meals, so load your plate up. Just ensure that they’re not covered in butter, creamy sauces or gravy.