Category Archives: Nutrition

5 Fall Superfoods for Runners

We all know that to run our best, we have to eat the best. The cooler temperatures no longer ask for a fresh smoothie or a colorful tropical salad. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up on our healthy habits and fresh, delicious foods as the temperatures drop.

These amazing superfoods are the living proof that we don’t have to sacrifice color, flavor and nutrients this Fall. And the best part, you can find them in the garden, in your local farmer’s market or grocery store.



This satisfying fruit is delicious when eaten raw or baked into a dish. Apples are high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber (4 grams of dietary fiber per serving) and, according to a recent study, also contain an antioxidant that may protect against muscle injuries, particularly those caused by downhill running.

They make a deliciously healthy post-run compote or can be paired with cranberries for an Apple Cranberry Pie.

Brussels sprouts


Along with other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates, which destroy cancer-causing agents. In addition, these veggies are a great source of vitamin K, folate and iron.

Even though they have a bitter taste, these veggies taste divine when made the correct way. You can lightly steam them or cut them half, toss in olive oil, and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. They make great side dishes!

Sweet potatoes


These veggies are more nutritionally dense than their white-potato counterparts: they are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of iron and they contain more potassium than bananas. A recent study showed that eating sweet-potato extract for a week boosted levels of antioxidants and lowered markers of muscle damage after a hard run.

Instead of boiling, try roasting them. They’ll taste even better, and you may preserve more nutrients than boiling.



This slightly sour fruit is rich in anthocyanidins, which help keep cholesterol levels healthy and, according to a study from the University of Texas at Austin, reduce post-run soreness. In addition, pomegranates are a good source of vitamin C and folate.

The juice provides a tangy base for marinades and post-run smoothies, and the seeds can be sprinkled over salads or yogurt.



Pumpkin is THE food of the season and can be used for much more than jack-o’-lanterns! Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, which is the nutrient responsible for giving pumpkin its antioxidants and rich orange color. You’re also getting other minerals, including potassium and calcium, and high quantity of fiber in exchange for fairly low calories.

Its sweet taste and moist texture make it ideal for pies, cakes, and even pudding!

5 Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight

You started running months ago, yet every time you hop on the scale, you feel frustrated with the numbers! Sounds familiar?

Running is a great way to stay in shape and increase your fitness levels. But running and weight loss don’t always go hand-in-hand. So, you might be wondering: what am I doing wrong?

Start by avoiding these common mistakes that can sabotage your efforts to drop a few pounds. There might be a few things on this list that surprise you!

Setting Unrealistic Goals


People often think that a significant weight loss is a consequence of training. Take “The Biggest Loser” as an example: even though the show inspires people to lose weight, it also sets them up for very unrealistic weight loss expectations.

Set a pound to two pounds per week as a realistic goal. But avoid getting too preoccupied with singular scale readouts. Instead, watch for progress over the long haul, and remember to have ways other than the number on the scale to measure your progress, such as how your clothes are fitting or the number of inches you’ve lost.

Overestimating the Calories Burned

It’s true that running burns more calories than nearly any other activity! But you can easily overspend your calorie deficit with a post-run snack.

By understanding about how many calories you burn during your runs, you’ll have a better idea of how to approach that post-run hunger. Very generally, the average man burns 124 calories per mile and the average woman burns 105, which means that a five-miler can burn 525 to 620 calories. If you want a more accurate approach, try using a heart rate monitor, during your runs.

Sports Fuel Overdose


Some runners assume that because they’re running, they’re supposed to refuel before the training is over. Sports drinks, gels and bars might be important tools in a runner’s training arsenal, but when overused they might compromise your weight loss efforts. Not only are they high in calories, but they also have very little nutritional benefit and they won’t keep you full.

Just water should be fine, if you’re running for less than 60 minutes. Go longer and you should consume 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour of exercise.

Not Fueling Postrun

After longer or tougher workouts, your muscles are hungry, but you might not be. This could help your weight loss, but it actually works the other way around: when your body settles in and realizes its glycogen stores are low, you’ll feel much hungrier.

Even if you don’t have enough appetite after a tougher run, try to refuel within an hour after completing your workout. Keep this snack to fewer than 200 calories.

Not Readjusting Calorie Needs


The lower your weight, the less calories you will need to maintain it. So if you keep consuming the same amount of calories, you’ll probably hit a weight loss plateau.

To continue on losing weight, you have to gradually reduce your calorie intake. First, determine how many calories you need each day with a daily caloric expenditure calculator. Then, create a deficit of approximately 500 calories per day, if your goal is to lose a pound a week.

7 Healthy Snacks for (Hungry) Runners

If you can’t get through the day without a snack, you’re not alone! For us runners, it’s very hard to stick with the three square meals plan without having midnight or mid-afternoon cravings.

Don’t be tempted to grab a bag of sweets or a cake on the way home from work, though. Runners need to fuel their bodies with healthy, nutritious foods before, during and after their runs. This nutrition strategy not only silences your grumbling stomach, but also improves your performance, boosts recovery and aids in weight loss.

From peaches to popcorn, we’ve got 7 runner-friendly snacks that can be eaten whenever hunger comes knocking:



Bananas are a favorite among runners. They are a great source of good carbs, vitamin B6 and potassium. The simple sugars and low amount of fiber make bananas especially easy to digest, which means they are a good snack before, during, or after workout.


This juicy fruit contains several key nutrients for the everyday runner. Peaches are rich in fiber, vitamin C and beta-carotene, a heart-protective antioxidant. They also provide a good amount of potassium, a mineral critical for regulating fluid and electrolyte levels, which makes them the perfect snack for rehydrating after a warm run.



Carrots are low-calorie but filling and contain carotene and vitamin A, which promote eye health and strong immune function. Not only are they good for your health, but they also help you lose weight! Eat them before dinner, so you can satisfy your hunger pangs and avoid overindulging during dinner.


Smoothies can be a nutritious and refreshing summer treat, that runners can have for breakfast, before a run, or as a refreshing, reenergizing, post-run drink.
Mix fruit, juice or soy milk for a healthful dose of fiber, vitamins C and A, plus potassium, fiber, and calcium.

Fruit Yogurt


Low in fat and fairly high in carbohydrates, yogurt is also a great source of protein, potassium and calcium. Its live and active cultures are good for the digestive system and makes yogurt a highly digestible pre-race snack.

Chocolate Milk

Cold chocolate milk tastes pretty refreshing after a summer run. It also provides protein, carbohydrates, B vitamins and calcium, making it a great recovery drink – for stronger muscles and bones.



Popcorn can be a healthy snack when you crave a salty food, as long as it’s not loaded with butter, oil, sugar, or loads of salt. Popcorn has very similar nutritional benefits to brown rice or whole wheat bread and since it is rich in fiber it will help you feel fuller longer.

4 Fresh and Nutritious Smoothie Recipes for Runners

After a long or hard run, the last thing you may feel like doing is eating a big hot meal, especially now that summer is finally here and the temperatures are rising. And what could be better than a cold, refreshing smoothie on a hot day?

Not only are they fresh, but also a source of nutrients and energy that all runners need to boost their performance and recovery.

Here are four healthy, delicious smoothies from some of our favorite sites around the web:

Sweet Spinach Smoothie
Found on Popsugar


Why is it good for you: This veggie-packed smoothie is a good source of protein, vitamin A and bone-building vitamin K, as well as an impressive amount of essential nutrients like manganese, potassium, and vitamin C.


2 cups spinach leaves, packed
1 ripe pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
15 green or red grapes
6 ounces fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped avocado
1 or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions: In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients until blended to the desired consistency.

Crunchy Coffee Fix
Found on Runner’s World


Why is it good for you: While coffee can speed your recovery, natural cocoa powder provides anti-inflammatory antioxidants for just a few calories. In addition, bananas are rich in potassium, that helps maintain fluid balance, and almonds contain healthy fats that help keep you full.


4 ounces chilled coffee
4 ounces fat-free milk
1 banana (preferably frozen), sliced
2 tablespoons whole almonds
2 teaspoons natural cocoa powder

Directions: Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Watermelon Smoothie
Found on About Health


Why is it good for you: Not only is this a very refreshing smoothie – which come in handy after a hot run – it is also surprisingly filling. Watermelon is best known for being rich in Lycopene – especially important for our cardiovascular health – but also for containing key vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fiber.


2 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup ice

Directions: In a blender, combine the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Cherry Vanilla Almond Smoothie
Found on Running to the Kitchen


Why is it good for you: Cherries are a superfruit! They have the highest antioxidant level of any fruit, reduce muscle inflammation and soreness, and are good for the heart. And the cherry on the top of the cake is: it tastes just like Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup water
¼ almond milk
1 cup pitted cherries
2 tbsp whole almonds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp vanilla protein powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
½ cup ice

Directions: Put all ingredients into blender and pulse for a “chewy” consistency. If you want it smooth, just use puree setting and blend longer.

Did your favorite smoothie make our list? Share its recipe, if it didn’t!

6 Essential Foods for Runners

Suppose you could only add 6 ingredients to your must-buy list. As a runner, which foods should you choose?

A runner’s diet is important not for only maintaining good health, but also to boost energy, aid the recovery and shed some extra pounds.

So, before your next trip to the grocery store, make sure you add these 6 essential foods to your list.



Salmon should be included in every diet. This fish is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fats, which improve nervous system functioning and boost heart health by creating more elastic blood vessels.

Salmon also has protein, vitamins A, B and D and several minerals that are vital to a balanced and healthy diet.

In addition, salmon is a very versatile fish. Just add some fresh herbs and bake, grill, or poach it to put a healthy and delicious meal on the table.


Bananas are among the best pre-workout foods for runners. They are an excellent source of carbs, with 0% fat, and are extremely high in potassium, which runners lose in sweat during exercise.

Bananas also help regulate muscle contraction, prevent cramping and are a “safe” pre-race food because they’re unlikely to cause gastrointestinal issues.

Whole Grain Pasta and Bread


Pasta and breads are a runner’s best friends, before and after big workouts. They contain easily digestible carbs that help you fuel your runs and are ideal to restock spent glycogen stores.

But not all pasta and breads are created equal. Whole-grain versions contain more fiber, which promotes satiety and digestive health, additional B vitamins that are crucial to energy metabolism, and disease-fighting compounds such as lignans.

Instead of white bread or any baked products made with white flour, opt for whole-grain breads, pasta, rolls, crackers, and cereal.


If you want to add some green to your plate, kale might be one of the most nutritious options. Kale is a great source of vitamins A, B6, C and K, as well as iron and calcium.

Kale is also known by its strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help runners to recover from low-grade inflammation resulting from exercise-induced muscle damage.

Sweet potatoes


A single sweet potato contains the always-important carbs and supplies more than 250 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, manganese and copper.

And you don’t need to do much to make them taste good. Cooked in the oven or even in the microwave, they always make a great side for dinner.


Eggs are nutritional powerhouses! With just one egg you’ll be able to satisfy about 10 percent of your daily protein needs and ingest all the crucial amino acids your muscles need to recover from intense workouts.

You’ll also get about 30 percent of the daily value for vitamin K, which is crucial for bone health.

Eggs can be eaten at any time of the day. Put your creativity to the test and try some healthy omelets and frittata recipes.

5 Healthy Thanksgiving Eating Tips

The holidays are a time to be merry with those we love, drink, eat and… gain a couple of extra pounds. Thanksgiving is no exception. In fact, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average person gains one pound over the holidays and never loses it. No one wants that!

On the holiday season, stay on track with your healthy lifestyle while enjoying your Thanksgiving with these 5 eating tips:

1. Be prepared for Thanksgiving

Keeping yourself from eating on Thanksgiving is an unhealthy and non effective tactic. If you want to avoid overeating, instead of going into your Thanksgiving meal on an empty stomach, start your day with a well-balanced breakfast.

Eating a healthy breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, helps you get nutrients in before a great meal and keeps your hunger satiated, by preventing a sugar crash.

Opt for healthy and filling options, such as oatmeal with fruit, eggs and toast or yogurt. If you’re thinking on hitting the road on Thanksgiving, check out our pre-run suggestions.

2. A Healthy Feast

5 Healthy Thanksgiving Eating Tips

Your Thanksgiving meal doesn’t have to be unhealthy to taste good. Go through your favorite dishes’ recipes and replace all unhealthy ingredients with tasteful and healthy options.

Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Turkey is a great source of lean protein, but when eating it you’ll probably want to skip the skin.
  • Opt for olive oil instead of vegetable oil.
  • For a more nutritious option, consider mashing sweet potatoes – the orange variety – instead of regular potatoes.
  • When it comes to sauces, gravy is the better option. Canned sauces and cranberry sauce are very high in sugar content.
  • If you’d like to indulge in an alcoholic beverage, red wine is the best option since it is full of antioxidants.

3. Prioritize seasonal foods

On Thanksgiving, there is so much to try on the table that it is tempting to have a bit of everything. To enjoy all your favorite seasonal foods you have to prioritize the foods you love the most and don’t normally get the chance to eat.

Put on your plate the foods you want most first and if they didn’t satiate your hunger completely, go for more afterwards.

4. Drink an after meal tea

After dinner, put the kettle on and make yourself and your guests a cup of tea. This might not be the first after meal drink on your mind, but certain teas like ginger, peppermint, dandelion and green tea are great to aid in digestion.

Plus, this is a pleasant way of spending time with your friends and family, after the big Thanksgiving feast.

5. Work up that appetite

Even though this is not a true eating tip, it is probably the most important one.

If you go a little too far on Thanksgiving, do an extra workout later or the next day. And you don’t have to hit the gym to burn calories. Instead, go for a walk with friends and family, or play outside with the kids!

What to Eat Before Your Run

Do you usually feel out of energy when you run? Before you lace up and get out there, it’s important to fuel your training with the perfect ingredients for optimal performance.

These simple tips will help you energize and get the most out of your workouts!

When to eat

What to eat before a run

When you begin your run, you shouldn’t feel neither hungry nor stuffed. In fact, eating before a run can cause cramping and not eating at all can lead to low energy levels while working out.

In general, after eating a big meal, you should wait 2 to 4 hours before running, and 30 minutes to 2 hours, if you just had a small snack. This is approximately the amount of time needed to fully digest your food.


What to eat before a run

What to eat before a run

There’s no ideal meal you should eat before hitting the road. Whether you’re a beginner or an athlete, you should always trial what works best for you. But when it comes to fueling up for a run, carbs are perfect allies.

For energy boosting meals before a run, choose something:

  • high in carbohydrates
  • that includes fluids
  • lower in fat, fiber, and protein
  • that has a reasonably high glycemic index score (GI). High-GI foods are absorbed faster and less strain is placed on the gut.

It might sound complicated, but it isn’t. Check out the chart below to learn what you can eat before get out of the door:

  • 2 hours before: 300- to 400-calorie meal containing carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Examples: cooked quinoa and grilled chicken; peanut butter and jelly sandwich; greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and granola; or a cheese and veggie omelet with toast.
  • 1 hour before: 150-calorie snack containing easily digestible carbs and a little protein. Examples: whole wheat toast with nut butter; banana and small handful of cashews; or a small bowl of cereal.
  • 15 to 30 minutes before: small serving of easily digestible carbs. Examples: half a banana; applesauce; or raisins.


Which foods should be avoided

In addition to high-carb meals, you should always eat familiar foods, that you tolerate well and don’t feel too ‘heavy’ in your stomach.

Therefore, you must avoid rich, very fatty, spicy, or high-fiber foods, alcohol and drinking too much caffeine. These foods are well known causes of gastrointestinal distresses such as diarrhea and bowel upsets.

Want to add more tips to the list? Share your experience and comments below.

Join a CSA and up your nutritional game with local produce

Eating right can be a challenge.  Even if you’re doing a pretty good job of watching your calories and focusing on the good stuff, certain parts of an optimal running diet — especially vegetables — can fall through the cracks.

Some of us just aren’t big veggie fans to begin with and others are just caught in the same old frozen rut (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, repeat).  Either way, it can be tough to keep vegetables interesting when you’re always cooking up the same old stuff.

Joining a CSA can help you turn the day’s veggies from a so-so side dish into the highlight of your meal.  When you’re part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), you basically buy a “share” of one or more local farms.  You pay a weekly or monthly fee and as they harvest their crops,  you get an allotted amount of super-fresh, seasonally-appropriate produce, often dropped right on your doorstep.

CSAs will often deal in vegetables and other goodies that you might not even think of at the grocery store — think beets, gourds, or okra.  When great recipes and meal ideas are just a Google search away, having a variety of starter ingredients showing up in your kitchen on a regular basis can really expand your culinary horizons.

Mastering your recovery

You train hard.  But when it comes to getting stronger and faster, it turns out that  how you go about recovering after workouts can be just as important as the work you invest in the first place.  Recovering smart can help you get the most out of your training, squeezing more strength and speed out of every mile you log.

Here are four ways to recover (smarter).

Eat right.  Especially when a big motivator for a lot of runners is losing weight, it can be tempting to look at nutrition mainly in terms of calories taken in and calories burned off.  But how much you eat is only part of the equation.  What you eat is really the name of the game.  Making solid nutrition a priority can be the difference between being a weekend warrior and a serious high-performing athlete.  “Fueling Up: What to Eat Before, During, and After a Run” is a post we published last year that lays out some very specific foods you can eat  throughout your day to give your body what it needs to (A) perform well during your run and (B) rebuild properly afterwards.  The short version? Carbs before, protein after.

Ease in.  Motivational quotes and inspirational sayings aside, your body really doesn’t care to “hit the ground running.”  Warming up slowly and following a steady build-up in intensity will reduce shock on your body, allowing your muscles to focus on getting productively stronger rather than simply recovering from the unexpectedly intense paces you just put them through.  “Post-Run Recovery Tips” on gives some good strategies for easing in, including building up to your workout pace over 4 to 5 minutes and mixing up workouts between (for example) hilly and flat runs to avoid over-stressing the same muscles again and again.

Cool down.  You just worked your tail off, blew the doors off of your last run, and generally nailed your workout — surely you’ve earned a flop down onto the couch to catch your breath, right? No matter how much you may have earned it, resist the urge.  Just like your body doesn’t like going from 0 to 60 at a moment’s notice, it doesn’t like slamming on the brakes like that, either.  There’s a reason your Bluefin programs include a cooldown at the end of each workout.  “5 Ways to Cool Down After a Workout” from stresses the importance of gradually tapering off your workout and stretching out afterwards, pointing out that screeching to a halt after intense training can lead to muscle cramps and big fluctuations in blood pressure.  A few minutes of walking and a good solid stretch can make all the difference.

Sleep well.  One of the most counterproductive things you can do is try to train while depriving yourself of sleep.  Those solid hours of shuteye are not only when your body reenergizes to prepare for the day ahead, but it’s also when it does a lot of the basic recovery work needed to rebuild tired muscles after a hard workout.  As much as it might up your street-cred at the office, charging along on no sleep with a big mug full of coffee isn’t hero stuff — it’s hurting your training.  How Running Affects Sleep (and Vice Versa) from Running Research News  has some very detailed information about the science behind sleep for runners that more than makes the case for getting a good night’s rest.  The good news is that getting enough exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve sleep quality, so running hard and sleeping well are absolutely compatible and even complementary.

Managing your recovery is critical to anyone who wants to take their running performance to the next level.  What do you do to bounce back between runs?

Four game-changing superfoods you should try this weekend

The more you focus on being fit and improving your performance, the more you start to pick up on how certain foods make you feel.  The good stuff tastes better and makes you feel like a million bucks.  The bad stuff drags you down and makes you feel like somebody put sugar in your gas tank.  Either way, the point is that being in tune with your body means giving it the right fuel.

Here are four game-changing superfoods that can help you take your performance to a whole new level.

Cruciferous vegetables.  Yesterday we posted on our Facebook wall an article from WebMD about the impressive benefits of cruciferous vegetables (a fancy term for veggies in the cabbage family — think broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and, you know…cabbage).  It’s definitely worth clicking through for the full article but basically eating cruciferous vegetables is a great way to cut your risk of cancer and take in a ton of  vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid.

How to make it happen?  As a general rule, the less you cook veggies like these, the better they’ll be.  Mushy broccoli can turn your stomach, but the stuff looks a lot more appealing when it’s next to some (also awesome) cauliflower and celery on a veggie tray.  Cook sparingly or try them raw to get your daily fill.     

Antioxidants.  Your body uses antioxidants to help you recover — whether that’s from a long hard run or from an injury or illness.  As this post from The Running Bug points out, you don’t need to overdo it with antioxidants (especially in the form of supplements), but it is good to work them into your daily diet as a runner.

How to make it happen?  Grapes, berries, and nuts are all antioxidant-rich foods that can be easily worked into your day, one snack baggie at a time.  Reach for these instead of junkier foods when you are looking to kill a little hunger between meals and feel the benefits after your next hard workout.

Chia seeds.  When Fitbie published their list of superfoods for endurance runners, chia seeds made the cut.  A tough-to-beat combination of carbs, protein, fiber, and omega-3s make chia seeds an optimal food for runners.  It’s a shame that most of us know them best for growing hilarious green hair on ceramic heads (ch-ch-ch-chia!).

How to make it happen?  You can toss a handful of chia seeds into pretty much anything — think stews, smoothies, cold drinks, you name it.  Mix them in and knock it back.  There isn’t a whole lot of taste, but they can really leave you feeling tremendous.

Chocolate milk.  You may have been seeing more of this lately as chocolate milk is becoming increasingly popular as a post-workout recovery drink.  This post from Fitness points out some of the benefits of cooling down after training with a glass of chocolate milk, which include rehydrating and providing a ton of carbohydrates and protein.  The bottom line is that it’s more natural than a sports drink and more substantive than water alone.

How to make it happen?  This is an easy one — it’s chocolate milk!  Unleash your inner kid and have a glass.  You probably don’t want to down a bunch immediately after working out but let yourself cool down and indulge.  For most of us, nonfat is the way to go.

We hope you saw something on this list worth trying.  You really will be amazed at how much the right fuel can impact your performance whether you’re training or just going about your day.  Let us know if you have any go-to foods that leave you feeling like you could take on the world!