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What should you really be eating? Funny, we were asking ourselves the same question! So runners in our office submitted their daily eats (along with their heights, weights and running goals) to sports dietician Lauren Antonucci, who offered up some quick fixes to take their meals from solid to stellar.
Erin Ream: The Speedy Racer
Longtime runner ERIN REAM has two big half marathons coming up. For the first, she’d like to run sub-1:35 and close to 1:30 for the second. Coming off of an injury last year, it’s been a while since the 28-year-old has trained hard. Now she runs almost every day and lifts weights twice a week.
Premade French toast with eggs and cherries
Lauren’s notes: Before a workout, try a higher carb, lower protein/fat option, such as 1 or 2 pancakes or waffles (frozen works) with banana and honey, plus 8–12 oz. water.
Coffee with a little cream, water
Ran for 92 minutes. During run: 1.5 scoops of Skratch Labs drink mix and 1 Gu
Lauren’s notes: Great on-the-run fueling and post-run smoothie! Both are well timed and much appreciated by your hard-working muscles.
Smoothie with peanut butter, soy milk, banana and honey
Lauren’s notes: Delete peanut butter and add cup of berries. You would benefit from more carbs and fluid right after your run, but not the fat.
Peppermint tea and water, bowl of cherries
Lauren’s notes: Decrease cherries to ½ cup and add a bit of protein, such as low-fat cheese or yogurt, to keep you full.
Vegetarian Asian noodle dish with zucchini and two mini fried spring rolls, a cup of Tom Kha mushroom soup, water
Lauren’s notes: Add tofu or other protein to lunch—and try to forgo the fried spring rolls most days!
Add a healthy mid-afternoon snack, such as a tablespoon of peanut butter on a banana. This will help curb hunger until it’s time to make dinner and give you time to prepare a balanced meal.
Chicken sandwich, small salad with creamy dressing, 8 oz. chocolate milk, water
Lauren’s notes: Add beans and cooked vegetables to your dinner in lieu of the bread and salad with creamy dressing to provide more nutrition with fewer calories and less fat. If you need to eat something while preparing dinner, make it fruit or veggies—or whatever you know you personally tend to be lacking.
By incorporating these changes, you should not only note an improvement in your recovery and, thus, training gains, but you’ll also be able to easily lose a few pounds, which will help you achieve your half-marathon time goals.
Nicki Miller: The Health Conscious Runner
In her early 40s, NICKI MILLER is getting back into running after a few months off from exercise during breast cancer treatments. She’s running four days a week for about 20 total miles and cross-training once a week. She’d like to lose a few pounds.
16 oz. homemade smoothie with blood orange, banana, carrot, Swiss chard, parsley, strawberries and flaxseed
Lauren’s notes: I love your breakfast smoothie! Add protein, such as Greek yogurt, pure whey protein powder or non–food colored, pasteurized egg whites (from a carton). If you want to shave a few calories, skip the banana.
12 oz. half-caff. coffee with vanilla creamer and organic fruit and nut bar
Large salad of field greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and chickpeas, with a serving of pita chips
Lauren’s notes: Add more protein to your salad (another serving of beans, 1 egg, 1/2 cup cottage cheese or 3 oz. chicken or fish) plus a few other brightly colored veggies (think beets, carrots, red peppers) for more antioxidants and fiber.
½ cup cashews
Lauren’s notes: Decrease to 1/4 cup cashews and add a complex carb to fuel your afternoon run. Try a slice of whole-grain bread with almond butter and honey or a sweet potato with cinnamon.
4-mile tempo run. Post-run: sugar-free electrolyte tablet with 20 oz. water
Salmon kabob with vegetables, 1 slice of Italian bread and a sloe gin fizz
Lauren’s notes: Again, add a complex carb, such as wheat berries, faro, beans, lentils, rather than the bread.
Throughout the day
8 glasses of water
I am impressed with both your post–cancer treatment running goals and your intake of nutrient-dense foods. You consumed at least five servings of fruits, six of veggies, plus anti-inflammatory salmon, flax and nuts. I would recommend that you continue to focus on high-quality nutrition and training, not weight loss, as your weight is in a good range, and let your good nutrition and training take care of any weight you feel you want to lose.
Bridget Durkin: The Restaurant Runner
It’s been a couple of years since 30-year-old BRIDGET DURKIN’s last half marathon, but she’s been running consistently every other day for a couple of months. Single and living in the city, she often finds herself eating out.
Starbucks grande iced coffee with half-n-half and 1 packet of sugar, vanilla almond biscotti
Lauren’s notes: Choose a healthy to-go option, like the yogurt parfait or egg-white wrap for a more balanced start to your day.
Chili’s sour cream chicken enchilada platter with corn and black bean salsa, rice and black beans
Lauren’s notes: Beef or chicken chili (the stew) would be a better choice—and try to add a side salad or vegetable.
6 Oreo Cookies
Lauren’s notes: Enjoy a few Oreos (2 or 3 max) after a healthy snack, like a serving of fruit, 1/4 cup hummus with raw vegetables or turkey jerky.
4-mile run and 20 min. strength training
Indian takeout yellow vegetable curry with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli and jasmine rice (half the restaurant serving)
Lauren’s notes: If you are going to do takeout, incorporate beans, lentils, whole grains, and lean protein like chicken or fish. Next time try Indian dal and a veggie dish.
Throughout the day
9 glasses of water
When I calculate your daily protein needs (to support training and muscle recovery), and compare it to your protein intake, you fall quite short. I highly recommend including a protein-rich food at least three times each day. If you are busy and eating out often, simply try to make your on-the-go choices a bit more healthy. Ideally you could make a large pot of chili on the weekend and bring it to work for lunch during the week. Cooking even twice a week will improve your nutritional profile tremendously.