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Nutrition for Athletes

30 Best Foods for Runners (and what they provide)


1.  Almonds - Vitamin E (reduces muscle damage), magnesium, iron, calcium

2. Bagels - Provide muscle fueling carbs

3. Bananas - carbs, potassium, Vitamin B6

4. Beans - Protein, iron, fiber, carbs, folic acid

5. Breakfast cereal - carbs, vitamins, fiber, minerals

6. Broccoli - Vitamins C, K, (bone builder), folate, phyto-chems

7. Brown rice - carbs and anitoxidants

8. Canola oil - Monounsaturated fat, Omega-3

9. Chocolate - same phytochemicals as red wine

10. Clams - Protein, iron, zinc

11. Fig Bars - carbs

12. Flax - alpha-linolenic acid, boosting immunity, blood flow, and endurance

13. Ginger root - anti-inflammatory, reduces joint and muscle pain

14. Kiwi - Vitamin C and potassium

15. Oatmeal - Carbs and iron, reduces cholesterol

16. 1 % milk - calcium (bone mineral formation, muscle contraction)

17. Oranges - Vitamin C, folate, pectin

18. Pasta - carbs, folate

19. Peanut Butter - Vitamin E, anti-oxidants

20. Pretzels - carbs, salt helps retain fluid intake before and after running

21. Raisins - carbs, low fat, potassium, iron

22. Salmon - Omega-3, immune booster, protein, Vitamin B12

23. Spinach - POWER FOOD! Carotenes, calcium, iron, prevents muscle damage

24. Steak - iron

25. Strawberries - POWER FOOD! Ellagic acid (powerful anti-oxidant) Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, folate

26. Sweet potatoes - carbs, fiber, carotenes

27. Sweet red peppers - More Vitamin C than oranges, carotenes

28. Tofu - Best non-meat protein, Vitamin B's

29. Whole grain bread - carbs, Vitamin B's

30. Yogurt - muscles fueling carbs, protein, calcium (purchase "live and active cultures" to boos immunity.  Greek yogurt provides 23 grams of protein per 8 oz. serving (as much as steak)!!!

(31. Nacho's - when shared with a parent after a long meet, builds memories!)


Source:  Runner's World, 10 Reports, 2008

High Carb Meals 2-4 hours prior to competition or workout


1. Cold or hot cereal with fruit and low fat milk

2. French toast or pancakes

3. Toast with jam, honey, or yogurt

4. Breakfast burrito

5. Bagel or English muffin with jelly, peanut butter, bananas, and juice

6. Pasta or cheese ravioli, French bread or breadsticks, steamed veggies, fruit

7. Grilled chicken sandwich, baked potato, yogurt

8. Turkey sub, baked chips, yogurt

9. Thick crust veggie pizza

10. Baked or grilled lean beef, chicken, turkey, or fish; steamed rice; roll; beans; yogurt and juice

High Carb Snacks prior to competition or workout


1. Fruit smoothies - mango, bananas, berries, and yogurt

2. Dried fruit and pretzels

3. Fresh fruit or 100 % juice

4. Graham crackers

5. Low fat yogurt, fat-free frozen yogurt (like Go-Gurt), gelato, or sorbet

6. Power Bar - Energy bar, gel, blasts, bites

Recovery foods after competition or workout


1. Pretzels dipped in peanut butter

2. Turkey sandwich

3. 2 Rice cakes with low fat cheese

4. 2 oz. string cheese with an apple

5. 1 cup of yogurt

6. 10 oz. low-fat chocolate milk

7. Power Bar - Energy bar, gel, blasts, bites

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