Running Nutrition:  Jogger's Easy Healthy Diet

Jogging burns calories, but still you need an easy healthy diet to get the full benefits of running. Without healthy eating guidelines, you will be missing key nutrients that will affect your jogging.

Do you eat before a run? What if you are running to lose weight, do you eat after a run? What is the best snack or meal after jogging? Many questions, fortunately the answers are simple.

Basics of Healthy Nutrition

easy healthy diet

Let’s start with the basics of healthy nutrition. Food is grouped into 3 categories: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Each is required to supply vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for good health.

Even fat contains essential fatty acids that you require. Every one of your body systems uses these nutrients. That is why people often complain of being hungry on a low fat diet even when they are getting plenty of calories. They are missing the essential fatty acids and so their body says they are hungry. In fact, they are starving themselves to the degree that these nutrients are missing.

You can also be missing essential fatty acids by failing to absorb them from the foods you eat. Hydrogenated fats and oils inhibit the absorption of nutrients. Making this manufactured fat #1 on our do not eat list. Recognize this ingredient on food ingredient labels as hydrogenated fat, or the label may say shortening.

Are there good and bad nutrients?

Nutrients are those compounds that feed the body and enhance body functions. These supply all the nourishment for your body. They come from  Mother Nature. Some are needed in higher quantities and some you require just trace amounts. So the answer to the question is that nutrients are all good.

The simpler the food, the more nutrients it has. For instance, fresh fruits and vegetables that are non-gmo are as simple as it gets. These pack in the vitamins and minerals in single serving sizes.

Compare that to processes foods. The more processed the food is, the more of its natural nutrients have been destroyed. Processed foods also add vitamins to replace those lost in processing. Since enriched foods only have key nutrients replaced and all trace nutrients are lost, this practice is ineffective in restoring the value of the food prior to processing.

Do fortified foods fit into an easy healthy diet?

Fortified foods have had vitamins or other nutrients added to them that would not normally be there or in greater amounts than naturally exist.

The most famous example of this is probably the addition of iodine to table salt to prevent iron deficiency. However, nowadays it has slipped into marketing schemes. Do you really need vitamin infused water? Or calcium added to your orange juice?

Before you answer that, you should know that the vitamins used in food manufacturing are not natural sourced in most cases. Instead, manufactured synthetic vitamins are used. Molecularly they seem to be an exact match to nature’s vitamins. That is as far as one can see in a microscope. However, the cells of your body use the vitamins. Do you think that your cells have not evolved far enough to notice a difference in efficacy?

There is another issue with these presumed "value added" foods. You are adding unknown variables into meeting your nutritional needs. Most of us have learned over the years what is the major nutrient of different foods. Like you probably know that orange juice is high in vitamin C.

When nutrients are added that would not normally be there, all that changes. You lose just that much control in your own diet. I do not considered these synthetic creations to be true nourishment.

To Eat Before A Run or Not?

The best rule of thumb here is to eat if you are hungry. If you run in the late afternoon, you may find you need a snack whereas you do not if you jog first thing in the morning. I enjoy running in the morning. Most times, I go jogging without breakfast, just a cup of coffee. Then again, when I awaken hungry, I eat light. Cottage cheese on multigrain bread about 15 minutes before setting out is part of an easy healthy diet.

If you want to lose weight running, the same rule holds true for your easy healthy diet. Eat when hungry. Avoid junk food. And only eat foods that contribute to overall nutrition and include metabolism boosting foods at every meal. You will probably find that one of the benefits of jogging is that you will also want to eat healthy, you just may notice that you want to eat your vegetables.

Should I Eat Right After My Jog?

Running or jogging are intense physical activities that will deplete your glycogen stores. Glycogen is the form of energy that your muscles use during long runs. Nutrition for running would have you eating immediately after a run to replace the levels and help you recover sooner too. This is a good practice for marathon training. But what if you are wanting to lose weight running?

Knowing that after periods of exercise your body still maintains a high metabolism rate for a period, you could wait 30 minutes or so before eating. This may act to accelerate your weight loss efforts, but do not take it to the extreme and fail to feed yourself.

An easy healthy diet must be one that you can actually follow. Limit or avoid completely, processed foods. This is particularly true for marathon nutrition, in order to remain healthy and strong. Concentrate the majority of your diet in the form of fruits and vegetables. Ensure you are eating protein and that you are getting healthy fats from your diet. Read more on this in healthy foods to eat.

What Is Your Favorite Pre-run snack?

Do you eat before you run? Do you eat right after jogging? What is your favorite snack or meal after jogging? Have you ever had to cut a run short because what you ate didn't sit well? Tell us your experiences with trying different things.

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