Salesianum Runners Nutrition Plan


Click HERE for sample meals

No one plans to fail, they merely fail to plan


Runners and Parents:

As a young runner, you will need to “fuel the furnace” and keep your body both fueled and refueled at all times for workouts and races. The importance of proper nutrition consistently is paramount to personal progress and health through out the season as well as year-round. Learning healthy nutritional habits will be an essential ingredient for lifelong success and wellbeing.


Overall, the nutritional composition proportions for an endurance athlete should be in the range of 20 percent fats, 20-25 percent proteins and 55-60 percent carbohydrates. Total calories should not be restricted in any way—you will need to eat consistently well. The amount of total daily calories will be according to your size, level of training and individual metabolic differences.


Nutrition habits will greatly affect daily training, race performances and, more importantly, overall health. A solid place to start is with the carbohydrates rule. Because runners constantly must "keep the furnace stoked" (you burn about 100 calories per mile run), shoot for a diet that is about 60 percent carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates, or carbs as endurance athletes like to call them, are the body's primary source of energy. A typical runner's engine runs hot enough to burn fats and protein as well, but the working body prefers to burn with carbs. Nutritionists divide carbohydrates into two camps — 1. simple carbohydrates and 2. complex carbohydrates.


All Carbohydrates are Not Alike


Simple carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are found in soft drinks, candy bars, and pastries. As a rule, simple carbohydrates aren't the best source of energy because they often bring along a high percentage of fat, like what you find in a dozen donuts, for example.

Simple carbohydrates can also contain a lot of sugar. If a food has large amounts of fat and sugar calories, then that particular source is unlikely to hold any significant amount of vitamins, minerals, or fiber. Nutritionists say that these kinds of foods hold "empty calories."

However, some foods with high sugar content do have plenty to offer in the way of minerals or vitamins. Certain fruits —such as bananas, oranges, apples, and raisins — break down into fructose (a natural fruit sugar) but are good carbohydrate sources. These kinds of fruits are better snack choices than empty calorie foods such as most candies.


Complex carbohydrates

Good sources of complex carbohydrates include grains, breads, vegetables, and beans. These foods take longer to convert to glucose (sugars) and are then stored as glycogen (stored dietary sugars) in the muscles or liver, to be used for energy when called upon during physical activity.  To keep up with the calories burned, a runner who weighs 150 pounds needs to take in somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000 calories per day. Keeping in mind that a runner burns about 100 calories per mile, obviously a professional marathoner training 100 miles per week has bigger needs than a young runner logging 25-60 miles per week.


Basic Plan of Attack

Look at your eating one day at a time, keeping that Food Pyramid in the back of your mind as a goal. Here are some ideas that might help:

* Think ahead. If you already know you’re having barbecue for dinner, choose non-meat foods for lunch. If you’re going to a party later, where there will probably be lots of junk food and sweets, skip that cookie you’re eyeing as an afternoon snack.

* Think back. Dinner is often your last chance of the day to pack in some needed nutrition. If you’re deciding what to eat, reflect on what you’ve already eaten that day. Did you get enough vegetables? Protein? Grains?

* Think about eating the rainbow. Getting those five daily servings of fruits and veggies can be hard. But these foods come in all sorts of colors, and the more colors you eat, the better nutrition you’re getting! Aim to “eat the rainbow” every day:

·         Blue/purple: blueberries, plums, raisins, purple grapes

·        Green: broccoli, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, green grapes, green apples, green beans, green peas, spinach

·        White, tan, and brown: potatoes, bananas, mushrooms, brown pears

·        Orange/yellow: carrots, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, sweet corn, yellow apples

·        Red: cherries, cranberries, red apples, tomatoes, strawberries, red/pink grapefruit, watermelon

Remember, you can get some of your fruit and veggie servings from 100% fruit juice and dried fruits, too!


Be Smarter Than Food Companies and Restaurants

* Don’t trust front labels. Foods that scream out “Low-Fat!” or “Sugar-Free!” can be misleading. For example, one package of cookies that’s “low-fat” might contain lots of extra sugar, while that same company might make a “low sugar” cookie that’s high in fat! The only way to know for sure is to read the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients list. Choose products that are healthy overall, and not just high or low in one particular thing. When it comes to fast-food places, do a little research on your own to see how your favorite restaurants add up. You can try these cool online tools:

* Explore the menu possibilities. When you’re at a restaurant, make sure you consider all your options, and don’t be afraid to ask the server if you can make substitutions. Consider salad instead of fries with your main dish. At fast food places, check out some of the healthier menu items now being offered. For instance, you may be able to order fruit and chocolate milk instead of French fries and soda.


Be Snack Smart

Maybe your meals are always very healthy, but when it comes to snack time, you find it hard to eat smart. See Snack List*

Stock up on bundles of energy prior to your workout by including a nutritious snack. Eating before exercise, as opposed to exercising in the fasting state, has been shown to improve performance and is a great way to boost stamina and endurance.

The purpose of a pre-workout snack is to:

·        Help prevent a low blood sugar which can wreck havoc on your energy level resulting in light-headedness and loss of concentration.

·        Top up your muscle and liver carbohydrate stores to provide lasting energy for the duration of your workout, and

·        Prevent hunger during your workout


Pre-workout Snack Guidelines

Food preferences for pre-workout snacks will vary depending on the individual, type of exercise and level of intensity. For example, endurance athletes can often eat more during a long slow cycle when their heart rate is lower, than while running or training at a higher heart rate. Experiment with the following guidelines to help determine an appropriate snack for you.

Choose a snack that:

  • Contains a sufficient amount of fluid to maintain hydration.
  • Is low in fat and fiber to facilitate gastric emptying and minimize GI distress.
  • Is high in carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, rice, pasta, and cereals to maintain blood glucose levels, and maximize carbohydrate stores.
  • Contains some protein for staying power throughout your workout.
  • Is low in simple sugars such as candy. They can send your blood sugar level shooting down, leading to a severe drop in energy.

The more time you allow between eating and exercise, the larger the quantity of food you will be able to eat. Allow more digestion time before intense exercise than before low-level activity. Your muscles require more blood during intense exercise, and therefore less blood will be available to your stomach to help with digestion. If you have a finicky stomach, try a liquid snack prior to your workout. Liquid snacks such as smoothies or sports drinks tend to leave the stomach faster than solid foods do and will be easier to digest. Choosing the appropriate snacks will be dependant on the individual. Some people have a tough time digesting anything solid prior to a workout while and others can munch on an energy bar during intense activity such as running.

“Fridge Page”

Keep on or near your refrigerator for a simple reminder


Some suggested snacks to keep on hand for before workouts (1-2 hours) and in general --




Animal Crackers




Crackers (low-fat)


Dried Fruit


Crackers (low-fat)


Dried Fruit

Energy Bars

Fig Bars


Fruit Roll-Ups


Graham Crackers


Melon Slices


Graham Crackers


Melon Slices

Nutri-grain bar/cereal bars






Vanilla Wafers

Yougurt (lowfat)




Staying hydrated

􀂃 As a runner, you will need approximately 12-14 cups (96- 112 oz) or more water a day, and more on hot days.

􀂃 Keep a water bottle with you through the day at school during the season and use it.

􀂃 Drink water, not sports drinks, through the day.

􀂃 Sports drinks are used only shortly before (15-45 minutes) or immediately following exercise.

􀂃 Have 20-32 ounces of a sports drink (or at least water) available when you are finished with any workout. It is very important to get the fluids, carbs and electrolytes replaced as soon as possible as it is critical to get it in during your critical 0-60 minute “post-workout window.”




Before a regular school day or after a morning workout or race--never skip this meal! You should be consuming at least 600 calories and up to 1000 calories at breakfast (depending on your size and training level).

Some Breakfast Suggestions:

Hot or Cold Whole Grain cereals, Milk/Soy Milk, Eggs, Yogurt, Fruit, Fruit Juices

Breads/ (toast) Waffles Pancakes




Suggestions for dealing with the limited school cafeteria food choices---

Bring your own lunch* (suggestions below)

Avoid fried foods (any type of non-baked chips included)

Avoid candy

Avoid sodas

*Bag lunch suggestions

Just to note, the toughest part of bag lunching it is that you are limited to the choices you have at home so--- go out and buy what you need for the week over the weekend and “stock up” on what you need for the week for lunches.

Sandwiches—include a lean meats/meat cuts and cheese of your choice or nut butter and preserves, whole grain bread or tortillas/wraps, veggies and condiments/dressings

Sides— pasta salads, rice, potatoes, breads, other carbohydrate choices of fruits and veggies

Drinks—Water, milk, soy milk, 100 % fruit juices

Dessert—see all choices in snack list



Have a fulfilling dinner, enjoy a full meal with a variety of meats, grains and vegetables. It is essential to emphasize the carbohydrates (whole grains, pastas and vegetables and being certain to get proteins (lean red meats at least twice weekly for iron content purposes). Sit down and take the time to enjoy your evening meal with your family (this can be the biggest challenge!)


Suggested Foods List for Athletes

This shopping list is may help you when determining what foods to pick up when you go shopping.



• Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (Lunch, Dinner)

• Tuna (water packed) (Lunch)

• Fish (salmon, sea bass, halibut) (Lunch, Dinner)

• Shrimp (Dinner)

• Extra Lean Ground Beef or Ground Round (92-96%) (Lunch, Dinner)

• Egg Whites or Eggs (Breakfast)

• Ribeye Steaks or Roast (Dinner)

• Top Round Steaks or Roast (aka Stew Meat, London Broil, Stir Fry) (Dinner)

• Top Sirloin (aka Sirloin Top Butt) (Dinner)

• Beef Tenderloin (aka Filet, Filet Mignon) (Dinner)

• Top Loin (NY Strip Steak) (Dinner)

• Flank Steak (Stir Fry, Fajita) (Dinner)

• Eye of Round (Cube Meat, Bottom Round , 96% Lean Ground Round) (Dinner)

• Ground turkey, Turkey Breast Slices or cutlets (Lunch, Dinner)

• Deli cuts (Lunch)

• Dry beans and peas (Lunch, Dinner)

• Frozen burritos (Lunch)


Complex Carbohydrates

• Oatmeal (Old Fashioned or Quick Oats) (Breakfast)

• Sweet Potatoes (Yams) (Dinner)

• Beans (pinto, black, kidney) (Lunch, Dinner)

• Oat Bran Cereal (Lunch)

• Brown Rice (Lunch, Dinner)

• Farina (Cream of Wheat) (Lunch)

• Multigrain Hot Cereal (Breakfast)

• Whole grain cereals (Shredded Wheat, Special K, Smart Start) (Breakfast, Snack)

• Pasta (Lunch, Dinner)

• Rice (white, jasmine, basmati, Arborio, wild) (Lunch, Dinner)

• Potatoes (red, baking, new) (Lunch, Dinner)

• Sandwich breads, bagels, pita bread, English muffins (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Soft corn tortillas, low fat flour tortillas (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Low fat, low sodium crackers (Snack)

• Plain cereal, dry or cooked (Breakfast)

• Rice, pasta (Lunch, Dinner)

• Lowfat/Non-fat crackers (Saltines, Wheat Thins, Ritz, or Triskets) (Snack, Lunch)

• Tostitos chips (oven-baked) (Snack, Lunch)

• Pretzels (Snack, Lunch)


Fiber-filled Produce

• Green Leafy Lettuce (Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Romaine, Spinach) (Lunch, Dinner)

• Broccoli (Lunch, Dinner)

• Asparagus (Lunch, Dinner)

• String Beans (Lunch, Dinner)

• Bell Peppers (Lunch, Dinner)

• Brussels Sprouts (Lunch, Dinner)

• Cauliflower (Lunch, Dinner)

• Celery (Lunch, Dinner)

Other Produce & Fruits (Fresh and or Frozen)

• Cucumber (Lunch, Dinner)

• Green or Red Pepper (Lunch, Dinner)

• Onions (Lunch, Dinner)

• Garlic (Lunch, Dinner)

• Tomatoes (Lunch, Dinner)

• Zucchini (Lunch, Dinner)

• Fruit (if acceptable on diet): bananas, apples, grapefruit, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Lemons or Limes (Lunch, Dinner)

• Fresh juices (orange, pineapple, grapefruit, apple) (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Fresh fruit (oranges, apples, bananas, grapes) (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Tomato and V-8 juices (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Frozen vegetables (corn, peas) (Lunch, Dinner)


Healthy Fats

• Pure/Natural Style Peanut Butter (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Canola Oil, Virgin olive oil (Lunch, Dinner)

• Nuts (peanuts, almonds) (Snack, Lunch, Dinner)

• Flaxseed Oil (Lunch, Dinner)


Dairy & Eggs

• Low-fat cottage cheese (Breakfast, Lunch, Snack)

• Eggs/Egg Substitutes (Breakfast, Lunch)

• Non-Fat Milk (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Smart Balance (Margarine) (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

• Non-fat yogurts (Breakfast, Lunch, Snack)

• Non-fat cheeses (cream, cheddar, mozzarella) (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



• Water

• Gatorade, PowerAde

• Propel


Condiments & Misc.

• Low-fat Mayonnaise/Miracle Whip

• Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

• Reduced Sodium Teriyaki Sauce

• Balsamic Vinegar

• Salsa

• Chili powder

• Mrs. Dash Seasoning

• Steak Sauce

• Pure Maple Syrup

• Chili Paste

• Mustard

• Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc)

• Low Sodium beef or chicken broth

• Plain or reduced sodium tomatoes sauce, puree, paste

• Low or non-fat salad dressings (Italian, French, Ranch or other favorites)

• Salsa (all kinds)

• Spices (garlic and basil in oil, oregano, black pepper, Italian seasoning, thyme)

Michael Lo Sapio,
Jan 7, 2011, 7:17 AM