Racing is hard work, and sometimes it sends your appetite spinning out of control. Try this 2,200-calorie, highly nutritious, energy-boosting daylong menu for women runners by Olympic marathoner Kara Goucher, author of Kara Goucher’s Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons.
This menu’s macronutrient breakdown is 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 20% fat, which is optimal for runners. The rationale? Carbohydrates are your muscles’ primary fuel source during running. They are also rate-limited nutrients, meaning you can only store approximately 1,800 calories of carbohydrates in the form of muscle glycogen. A high-carbohydrate diet can actually increase that glycogen storage capability, boost energy levels, and improve your running performance.
Kashi Go Lean Crunch with skim milk
Why: 1 serving contains 8 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber.
Kefir, 1 cup
Why: This is a probiotic-rich liquid yogurt, and has been shown to improve immune function, which can be compromised in distance runners.
Dried cranberries or cherries, 1⁄4 cup
Why: Excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants. Runners are prone to upper respiratory tract infections more than other athletes; food sources of vitamin C can be protective.
VIDEO: Kara Goucher’s Advice for Runners
Low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 cup
Why: This is a higher-protein yogurt — 10 to 16 grams of protein per cup versus 5 to 6 grams in most types. Women are prone to not getting enough protein due to greater incidence of vegetarianism.
Soya granules mixed into the yogurt, 1⁄8 cup serving
Why: 11 grams of soy protein and 50 calories. Excellent source of vegetarian protein.
Sandwich of whole wheat bread, 2 slices; or 1 whole wheat wrap
Grilled chicken, turkey, or fish, 3 ounces
Whole-grain mustard and/or reduced-fat salad dressing
Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sprouts
Why: Full of fiber, vitamins C and A, and lycopene. Stuffing sandwiches with vegetables bulks up the entree without bulking up the calories, which appeals to calorie-counting women runners.
Purple seedless grapes, 1 cup
Why: High in vitamin C and a cardio-protective antioxidant called resveritrol.
Why: Broth-based soup is a nutritious, low-calorie food that adds a lot of fiber and vitamins C and A to your diet.
Iced unsweetened green tea
Why: Good source of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant with antiviral activity, good for boosting immune function.
Mix of raw vegetables (radishes, carrots, celery, pepper strips)
Hummus, 1/2 cup
Why: You get 6 grams of plant protein, fiber, and vitamin E, a potent cell-protecting antioxidant.
Grilled chicken or fish, 4 ounces
Mango salsa, 1⁄2 cup
Why: Mango is rich in vitamin C.
Steamed broccoli, 11⁄2 cups
Why: Contains diindolylmethane, a potent anticancer chemical.
1 medium sweet potato with brown sugar or maple syrup, 2 tablespoons
Why: Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber. Beta-carotene and vitamin C protect cell membranes.
Skim milk, 1 cup
Why: 8 grams of high-quality absorbable protein, 300 milligrams of calcium, and a good source of vitamin D.
Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich
To Add Extra Calories
Midmorning snack: Instead of low-fat Greek yogurt, use full-fat yogurt and mix in 1⁄4 cup of dried blueberries.
Afternoon snack: Add 1 cup trail mix (a mixture of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, dried fruit).
Breakfast and lunch: Use 2% milk instead of skim.
To Reduce Calories
Midmorning snack: Skip the soya granules.
Afternoon snack: Skip the hummus.
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