Winter foods to fuel outdoor running

Winter foods to fuel outdoor running

Switch up your healthy eating plans to stay fuelled for Winter running

The change in seasons means a change in foods (after all, who wants to eat salads when it’s blowing a gale outside?) Here’s how to choose healthy Winter meals and snacks that will give you energy without weighing you down.

Natural winter food ingredients

Nature knows best, and it’s fascinating to see how autumn and winter ingredients give us what our bodies need. Look at what’s in season: colourful squashes, hearty root vegetables, berries, apples, and plenty of rich dark green vegetables. These ingredients are a natural way to get plenty of valuable micronutrients (in particular, potassium, iron, calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin A).

Herbs and spices are a great way to flavour winter foods and add extra nutrition: turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, garlic can fight infection, and ginger is naturally warming.

The nutrients in seasonal winter foods are exactly what your body needs to stay energised and healthy with a strong immune system.

Healthy comfort foods for runners

Just as summer salads hydrate you, natural food at this time of year are warming and filling. That’s great news if outdoor running in winter leaves you feeling hungry.

With a bit of know-how, you can create nourishing, healthy meals that fill you up without extra calories. Now is a great time to dig out the slow cooker and casserole dish to create hearty stews and one-pot dishes packed with vegetables, wholegrains, beans, pulses, and protein.

Revisit your nutrition strategy for winter

Winter weather can spark off a change in appetite. If you’ve been feeling especially hungry, or if your current food intake isn’t supporting your running, it’s a good idea to revisit your nutrition plans.

Use a website like https://tdeecalculator.net/ to understand how many calories you need to maintain your weight. If you can, track your food intake for a few days to make sure you’re eating enough.

Then remember the basics of healthy eating: aim for an 80/20 split of natural, wholefoods and processed foods. Eat some protein with every meal. Try to get 5-8 servings of vegetables a day. And remember to balance your plate by filling half with vegetables, salad ingredients or fruits, quarter with protein, and quarter with carbohydrates.

Meal ideas for running in winter

Fuel up with hearty, warming meals based around vegetables, with some beans or pulses, wholegrains, and lean protein. Here are some popular ideas:

Soups (add beans, pulses, rice or pasta)

Casseroles (thicken with stock or passata)

Slow-cooker chili (with warming chili and cumin)

Curries (meat based, vegetarian or vegan to suit your diet)

Risotto and paella (easy one-pot rice dishes)

Roasted vegetable traybake (add chicken or chicken thighs)

Try this easy winter dinner

Chop and roast a variety of vegetables (bell peppers, onions, courgettes, squash, celery, aubergine or whatever you have lying around)

Stir partway through cooking and add garlic and herbs (rosemary and thyme work well).

Once roasted, transfer to an oven-proof serving dish and add a tin of passata or chopped tomatoes, and a can of cooked beans (any beans will do).

Return to the oven to warm through.

Plate up and top each serving with feta or goats cheese. Eat with crusty bread.

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