“Do you want to be healthy but also run your best? Do you struggle to fuel and run to your potential?”
More and more people are becoming runners and transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle which is not a surprise. Plant-based nutrition can benefit people’s health, the environment, animals and even improve their performance. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Position Statement, “A properly planned plant-based approach can not only benefit your health and the environment but may also give you an advantage as an endurance athlete.”
The only problem: eating properly as a plant-based athlete and a mother, wife, etc., is not easy. Not eating properly, mostly related to under fueling, can lead to disordered eating habits and irreversible hormone damage or loss of period (in females); it may increase the risk of heart disease and put people at risk for nutrient deficiencies. These are all things that will not help improve your running or make you feel your best.
As a Registered Dietitian that holds certifications in plant-based nutrition, nutrition coaching, and personal training, as well as a plant-based marathon runner herself for the past five years, Kayla Slater understands the frustration and confusion.
The following are Kayla’s five fueling tips for plant-based runners:
1. Eat a variety of plant-based foods – include a plant-based protein at each meal/snack
Eat various plant-based foods such as whole grains, vegetables including green leafy veggies, fruits, legumes/beans or other plant-based proteins, and seeds and nuts. Eating a variety of plant-based foods will help ensure getting all the nutrients one’s body needs. It enables the body to be healthy and have the energy to perform well in sports. “If you are worried about protein, try including a plant-based protein at each meal or snacks like adding beans to your smoothies or with salads, add beans, tofu, or quinoa.”
2. Eat every 3-4 hours to meet caloric needs
Plant-based foods are low calorie, nutrient-dense. That’s great, right?! Well, the answer is yes and no. Unfortunately, plant-based foods are low in calories, which means you need to eat a higher volume of food to meet the same amount of calories. For runners, especially males, their needs can be as high as 3,000-4,000 calories a day. In order to meet those needs, it is best to eat smoothies, include healthy fats, and eat small snacks or meals throughout the day.
3. Fuel pre/during/post runs
“Fueling runs will not only help you feel better but run better too!” Kayla recommends eating something light like a piece of fruit or bar 5-10 minutes before a run. For any runs over 60 minutes, eat 1-4 hours before the scheduled run. Try low GI, low fat, and fiber-like bagel, oats, or white rice.
What about during runs? Kayla recommends fueling with electrolytes and carbohydrates (about 30g) every 45-60 minutes. There are vegan and natural gels like HUMA, or try a whole food option like dates or pretzels.
4. Follow the plant-based performance plate guide
The plant-based performance plate guide was developed by Kayla using the Olympic Committee’s Athlete Plates and the Vegan Plate by Brenda Davis, RD, and the Power Plate by the Physicians Committee.
“There are three levels: easy, moderate, and hard. The plates correspond to what you want your meals to look like based on your training day. Many runners find it a simple way to know what to eat based on their training.”
5. Get guidance and support
As mentioned before, fueling one’s body correctly isn’t easy, and it’s not enough to only have willpower or motivation to persist. It helps to have guidance and accountability, especially when making a lifestyle change.
“I offer 1:1 coaching, group coaching, a membership, and a free group to provide you with the tools and knowledge to help you feel confident in your food choices and crush your runs! Seeing your success is my success!”
Want to know more about Kayla’s healthy tips?
Article Published by: Authority Sharks PR Contact: Info@AuthoritySharks.com