I am not a nutritionist by trade nor an expert runner. However, I am a mom the exclusively breastfeeds and runs 5-6 miles a couple times a week. That translates to a huge calorie consumption. That is good for me if I do not want to gain weight, but insufficient calories can also affect the breastmilk. So I often ask myself two questions, “Am I eating enough to support running and breastfeeding?’ and “Am I eating healthy enough to produce quality milk for my baby?” I wanted to share my runner’s diet which I developed in response to those two questions. It is a diet that helps me have the energy for my work-outs, my children, and most importantly to produce healthy milk. I hope it can be of use to you as you make your own dietary choices.
My Runner’s Diet
I try to eat almost all organic and non-processed foods. If I find something in the store and I can’t understand one of the ingredients, I don’t buy it. I do not count calories or fat content. Honestly, I just look at the wholesomeness of the food, eat until I am full, and I snack in between meals if I am hungry.
Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese are a regular part of my diet and I have at least one serving of each a day. I may once in awhile drink a glass of milk but usually I make myself a “tea latte.” I try not to buy nor eat low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese, but prefer the full-fat versions just because I believe things are best the way they come naturally.
Proteins: I try to have a healthy rotation of poultry (chicken and turkey), red meats, and fish with poultry and fish being my most common protein. Red meat I have about once a week.
Caffeine: I avoid caffeine. I do love coffee and tea so I drink decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated teas but I do not use caffeine as the source of my energy while I am breastfeeding.
Grains: I hardly eat rice, and if I do it is brown rice. I am more likely to have quinoa or couscous with dinner. The most basic grain in my diet is Ezekiel bread, a sprouted grain bread. If sprouted grain isn’t available or too expensive, I will choose whole wheat but I make sure the list of ingredients doesn’t have corn syrup. I hardly ever eat white bread. Pastas I eat occasionally, but I make sure it is whole wheat or spouted grain pasta.
Sugars: I love sweets but I will satisfy my sweet tooth with a couple of graham crackers, yogurt with granola. Every once in awhile I will splurge and have something sinful!
Fruit: I have organic fruit regularly (kiwi’s, apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, avocados)
Vegetables: I have lots of vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, fennel, kale, carrots, peas, zucchini, broccoli, just to name a few).
My Most Common Meals
Breakfast Options: Plain yogurt with granola, Eggs with Spinach, Sprouted Grain Toast with butter and preserves, sprouted grain or whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, cottage cheese with blueberries.
Lunch Samples: Tuna sandwich on sprouted grain bread with raw carrots; turkey wrap with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes; whole grain mac n cheese with pureed carrots; salad with tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, parmesan cheese, avocado, beets.
Dinner Samples: Grilled chicken with green beans and fennel; turkey pie (ground turkey, cheese, spelt crust, salsa); Chard tacos with cheese, chicken, salsa, and corn tortillas; Pollock sauteed with scallions and kale with quinoa; turkey patties with grilled zucchini; pasta with pesto.
Snacks: Raw carrots, various fruits, yogurt, popcorn, granola bars, etc.
WHAT I RARELY EAT: White bread, fast food, processed or canned foods.
On a last note. I take my cues in any dietary changes from my baby. I monitor her weight gain, her diapers, and her moods. Is she gaining sufficient weight? Does she seem satisfied after she eats? Does she have enough wet and soiled diapers. So far, the answer is yes to all those questions.
Finally, I HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!!!
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