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Good Food Choice for Runners

Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

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Registered Dietitian

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Several years ago, I spent several months training for the Montreal half marathon, which takes place every year in September. With my background in sports nutrition, I was readily able to adapt my meals and snacks to my workout schedule. I’m well aware that not everyone has such a background. However, there are great resources out there to help seasoned pros and novices alike tweak their meal plans to their training routine. As a runner, it’s your responsibility to keep an eye out for that important information!

Why?Simply because the food you eat can give you a jump start. Eating the right things at the right time can help your physical performance and the way you feel during your runs. When you feel good, you enjoy what you do that much more! What you eat after running will also help your body recovering, repairing muscle tissue and refuel your muscles for your next run.

Here are some basic rules to follow when you run:

BEFORE—Snack high in carbohydrates, low in fat and fibre and containing some protein (1-2 hours before the race) + hydration

  • Cereal or oatmeal + milk + banana
  • Homemade cereal bar + fruit compote
  • English muffin + peanut butter + honey

DURING—Hydration (water if the activity is shorter than an hour)

AFTER—Snack high in carbohydrates with some protein (within 30 minutes after the end of your physical activity) + hydration

  • Chocolate milk
  • Greek yogurt + fruit + honey or syrup
  • Muffins or granola bar + fruit juice
  • Milk smoothie + fruit

The most important thing is to find a snack that works for YOU before you set out on your run. It might take a few tries before you get it head on, but fret not, your perfect snack is out there. Before an important race or competition, always opt for foods that you know your stomach can handle, so as to avoid any upsets down the line.

Quick recipe for a post-race snack:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) Fresh blueberries or thawed frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup (250 ml) Oikos plain 2% yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. (30 ml) Honey
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) Toasted oats
  • Place the blueberries in a medium-size bowl and garnish with yogurt, honey and toasted oats. The blueberries, honey and oats provide your body with carbohydrates, while the yogurt provides it with a smaller amount of carbs and a good quantity of protein. Enjoy your run and bon appétit!

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