If you've been on a break from running, here is what you should eat during the recovery process from illness or injury to stay healthy.

recovery

Want to know what to eat to get back on your feet? According to Melissa Wdowik, a registered dietitian nutritionist and assistant professor at Colorado State University, the calories you eat during recovery matter more than ever. Your body is trying to heal. She says, it’s “not the time to fill up on empty calories or foods that provide little vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.”

Here is what the experts recommend:

Protein

This nutrient aids muscle repair, tissue mending and collagen formation, in addition to being a key tool for fighting infection and maintaining fluid balance. Focus on meat, poultry, eggs, dairy (or fortified nondairy substitutes such as soy, coconut and almond milk), beans, lentils, soy and fish.

Fluids

You may want several cups of coffee or be craving a sugary drink, but water is your best option both during sickness and injury as well as recovery.

Vitamins

Essential in recovery, vitamins like C, A, D and B help regulate your physical functions and can be found in all whole foods.

  • Vitamin C in fruits and veggies
  • Vitamin A from dairy products and cereals
  • Vitamin D from fish, mushrooms and orange juice
  • Vitamin B from whole grains and lean meats