How to Fuel your Engine: Plan Your Meals

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What we eat and feel energized is pretty personal to each one of us. Some feel good with the same type of meals while others feel quite differently. No matter what choices are, it is essential to eat a diet that provides all nutrients required to improve performance. Our body is like an engine, the amount and quality of food matters to achieve better output. Foods and choices might be different but there are few basic principles that are common among all runners.

Never skip a meal

It is not at all advisable to skip any meal. Rather you should have more number of meals in smaller quantities. Skipping a meal or dieting by reducing intake of food results in poor performance. If you want to run well, try eating a small meal every three hours or so.

Plan the meal

Now that we have advised you to have five or six small meals, it is essential that you plan the day and the meals. This decision cannot be for a single day. Hence plan for a week. See that the meals you decide are easy to prepare, good for digestion, not processed, and healthy.

Balance what you eat

The diet plan for the day must have the proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. For a dedicated athlete or someone following an endurance training program, the best distribution can be 50 to 60% carbohydrates, 20 to 30 % proteins, and 10 to 20 % fat. Eating a variety of foods will also balance minerals and vitamins.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Eating fresh food is extremely essential for all athletes or runners. Fresh fruits and vegetables are easy to pick, do not require any preparation time, and can provide abundant essential vitamins and minerals. Packed food is a big NO-NO.

Whole food must be a part

One must avoid processed food and food with refined sugar. Whole food is the best to improve digestion as well as provide the balance we need. Never take a shortcut and try to get nutrients from shakes or packed food.

Smile and have fun

Try and experiment with food so that you eat what you enjoy. Food that makes you smile helps build inner satisfaction besides contributing towards a balanced diet. This may take some time but you can definitely reach there.

Cheating sometimes is okay

Pizza, burger or some food not really recommended have to be avoided. But sometimes it is important to enjoy and take a break. So it is okay to have a cheat day or cheat meal. Well if you are putting so much effort into training, sometimes having something not so good on essentials but good on taste and satisfaction is okay.

Take home message

You need to plan your diet as an essential part of your overall training and fitness regimen. Hence you must devote some time to planning meals and preparing them to your liking. Avoid taking shortcuts and adding processed food to your diet.

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