Do I Eat The Best Foods For Runners?


As runners, what we eat is a big deal.

Not only for our massive appetites and equally massive cravings but for our strength, endurance and recovery.

There are lots of foods recommended for runners but just because an article says we should eat it, doesn’t mean that we can or do.

As individuals, we are each unique.

Allergies, lifestyle choices, diet preferences, taste bud favorites and stubborn stomachs…

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the Runner’s World Best Foods For Runners article and break it down with you to see which foods from the article are currently in my diet on a regular basis.


Nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that many runners fall short on because there are so few good food sources of it.

I do not eat almonds. I am allergic to them and most other raw nuts which means there’s no trail mix in my life, no fancy snack bars, no almond milk in my coffee or almond meal in my pantry.

But I can eat peanut butter. Lots of peanut butter. Everyday.


My favorite snack lately and it’s so simple! Blueberries, banana slices and peanut butter.


The protein in eggs contains all the crucial amino acids your hard-working muscles need to promote recovery.

I recently did a post on the health benefits of organic eggs so I know they offer terrific nutrition.

I don’t love eggs like oh my goodness EGGS and go through phases where I don’t eat them for weeks (or months) and then come back to them on a regular basis.

Last week it was all about the three-ingredient pancake for breakfast.

This week it’s been vegetable omelets for lunch served with roasted Brussels sprouts, brown rice and avocado over spinach.


Sweet Potatoes

A 100-calorie sweet potato supplies more than 250 percent of the DV for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene and are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, manganese and copper.

I’ve got this one down. Sweet potatoes are a staple in my daily diet.

sweet potatoes

Roasted sweet potato wedges with chick peas, stir fry vegetables and avocado – my favorite quick and easy dinner.


Whole Grain Cereal With Protein

Look for whole-grain cereals that offer at least five grams of fiber and at least eight grams of protein.

I prefer oatmeal over a bowl of cereal.

I do have this whole grain cereal in my pantry though, maybe I should start eating it?

heritage flakes



Eat enough oranges and you may experience less muscle soreness after hard workouts such as downhill running.

When I can find the little cuties, I eat them. Otherwise, I do not eat oranges regularly at all.

Black Beans

One cup provides 30 percent of the DV for protein, almost 60 percent of the DV for fiber and 60 percent of the DV for folate, a B vitamin that plays a key role in heart health and circulation.

I eat a lot of beans but they aren’t always black.

organic beans

I get the most black beans into my diet when I am dining at The Cheesecake Factory or making my copy-cat version of my favorite salad at home.

Although I did finally try baking with black beans the other day!

black bean fudgy bites

Recipe soon! So fudgy…

Mixed Salad Greens

Choose mixed greens such as radicchio, butter leaf, curly endive, and mache. Each variety offers a unique blend of phytonutrients that research suggests may fend off age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. These phytonutrients also act as antioxidants, warding off muscle damage brought on by tough workouts.

Lately I buy spinach and that’s it. It’s easier on my stomach.


Besides being an excellent source of high-quality protein, salmon is one of the best food sources of omega-3 fats.

I do not like salmon and rarely consume any fish of any kind.

I add chia seeds to my oatmeal every day for the omega-3 fats instead.

chia seeds


Whole Grain Bread

Runners need at least three to six one-ounce servings of whole grains per day, and eating 100 percent whole-grain bread (as opposed to just whole-grain bread, which may contain some refined grains and flours) is an easy way to meet this requirement since one slice equals one serving.

Oatmeal every day, just about. Bread? Not really.

But I do love Ezekiel Bread – especially the Cinnamon Raisin and always have it in the house.

ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread

Frozen Stir-Fry Vegetables

Research shows that eating a combination of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C, may lessen muscle soreness after hard interval workouts by reducing the inflammation caused by free-radical damage.

My freezer is packed with frozen vegetables.


I love fresh vegetables but frozen are best in a pinch, don’t hurt my stomach and have a long shelf-life.

I stock up each week on a wide variety of frozen vegetables and often cook fresh and frozen together just to get the best of both worlds.

stir fry

Fresh roasted brussels sprouts – the rest of the veggies are frozen.

Whole Grain Pasta

Whole-grain versions are a must over refined pastas because they contain more fiber to fill you up, additional B vitamins that are crucial to energy metabolism, and disease-fighting compounds such as lignans.

I can’t recall the last time I ate pasta. I do buy whole grain though for my son.


Along with protein, chicken contains selenium, a trace element that helps protect muscles from the free-radical damage that can occur during exercise, and niacin, a B vitamin that helps regulate fat burning during a run.

I do not eat chicken. I aim for protein from plant-based sources, dairy and eggs and add Nutritional Yeast to many foods for the B Vitamin thing.

nutritional yeast


Frozen Mixed Berries

Frozen berries are just as nutritious as fresh, but they keep far longer making it easier to always have them ready to eat.

I have learned to adore frozen berries and eat them every single morning with oatmeal, yogurt and sometimes blend them at night with bananas to make soft serve.

very cherry berry blend


Dark Chocolate

Research suggests that the chocolate flavonols ease inflammation and help prevent blood substances from becoming sticky, which lowers the risk of potential blood clots.

No problem here.

100 cal dark chocolate

Low-Fat Yogurt

Besides being a good source of protein and calcium, low-fat yogurt with live cultures provides the healthy bacteria your digestive tract needs to function optimally. This good bacteria may also have anti-inflammatory powers that can offer some relief to arthritis suffers.

There’s always greek yogurt in my post-run oatmeal (and frozen berries making it all so pretty pink).

oatmeal in a jar

But what I find so interesting about this description is where it says anti-inflammatory.

For some people, dairy IS an inflammatory so consuming those good bacterias via yogurt is not the greatest option.

This is the perfect example of eating what works for you, not necessarily what works for others, even if the others are runners.


How many of these foods do you eat regularly?

Do you have food allergies?

Three things in your freezer right now?


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  1. says

    I’ve been pretty much living off eggs and sweet potatoes lately:)Its really interesting to read about what are supposed to be the “best” foods because there are so many factors to take into consideration. I think the key is to eat foods with a good balance on nutrients along with treats in moderation. You also need to enjoy the food you are eating, or you won’t stick with it or will end up eating tons of junk instead!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…A Whole30 Review From Two Perspectives (#WIAW)My Profile

    • says

      I don’t notice chia seeds. I just add them to the oatmeal and it bulks up the bowl. I haven’t tried chia puddings and stuff like that though, eating them in bulk isn’t exactly appealing to me. I wish Whole Foods would be a little cheaper on the good stuff! I do know they run sales and specials but it’s tough to keep up with sometimes.

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  2. says

    Pretty sure I eat about 1/4 of the things on this list… that makes me a healthy runner, right? 😉 Just kidding, I know there are tons of lists like these out there that Runner’s World and similar magazines produce but I think it’s possible to be healthy outside of these lists too. As long as we’re eating a balanced diet, that’s all that matters! I do keep a giant stash of frozen veggies though. The best.
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…The Work-Life BalanceMy Profile

  3. says

    I also have an on again off again relationship with eggs. I go through phases. As far as frozen veggies go, for some reason we don’t have the greatest selection up here in Canada. It’s like all peas and carrots and corn. There are a few bags of over-priced specialty blends but they’re few and far between. I usually just buy fresh. Boo.
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: Stay With MeMy Profile

  4. says

    I eat most of these pretty regularly, but I do have one big beef with the list — where are the bananas?! They’re seriously the perfect food for runners and athletes and… everyone 😆 I always have some on hand and stashed in my freezer… along with plenty of frozen veggies and berries. I kind of panic when I notice myself getting low in neither.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. brownie batter breakfast bake .My Profile

  5. Frank says

    I eat 11 of them on a regular basis.

    As far as I know, I do not have any food allergies.

    Frozen mussels, ice cream, frozen berries.

  6. says

    Only four of these are staples in my diet: almonds/almond butter, low-fat dairy, beans [not black, though, because there super hard to find] and chocolate – a no-brainer. However, like you, I get a lot of the nutrients they mention from other foods:fresh instead of frozen vegetables, chia, nutritional yeast, … Also, grab an issue of another magazine and it will list different foods 🙂 . It’s all about knowing our personal “superfoods”.
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…Love is in the truffles [Healthy Vegan Marzipan Truffles]My Profile

  7. says

    I actually DO eat most of these….Except yogurt. I go in a yogurt phase about 1 time a year. And i’m with you on eggs. I do like them, but I go in phases with them too. I don’t really eat meat, so the chicken is a ‘no’ too. I eat a variety of beans too, not just black. (I can’t wait to hear your black bean brownies turned out! I might have to try them again and use your recipe…) I’ve been eating a lot more oranges lately, so that’s good! haha. And we just mentioned the other day that we should start eating salmon once a week, but I’ll have to try it and see how it makes me feel before I incorporate it once a week…
    Nikki@will run for pizza recently posted…Last weeks workouts and training has started.My Profile