Weight-Loss Week: Best Eating Routines For Runners

Every day this week, we're looking a short number of ways to get back to your ideal weight. We're covering simple changes to your running; everyday exercise tweaks; and loads of realistic eating rules that you can live by.

Best Eating Routines For Runners

Make breakfast an imperative: Don't sabotage your diet by restricting food intake during the day, especially in the morning. Your body expects calories during the day. If you eat too little for breakfast and lunch, you'll over-stimulate your appetite later and you'll crave calories (often from fat) that night.

Count the carbs: Sure, you need a full supply of carbohydrate energy before a big race, but many runners take in too many high-calorie carbohydrate foods day in and day out, notes nutritionist Dr Janet Walberg Rankin. "They eat bagels for breakfast, pasta for lunch, and rice for dinner," she says. Her advice is to concentrate more on fruit and vegetables, and also to eat lean meats to guarantee a good supply of high-quality iron.

Get some protein power: Dieticians recommend eating protein (yoghurt, eggs, meat, cheese, chicken, skimmed milk) during the day, and carbs (pasta, rice, potatoes) at night, for maximum energy and weight management. Protein keeps you alert, and produces a greater sense of satiety, so you'll feel less hungry. Carbs at night help you relax and prepare for a good night's sleep, while providing fuel for your next day's training.

Find creative substitutes: When you prepare meals, modify the recipes to decrease fat and calories. Substitute chicken stock for oils, and when a recipe calls for cheese, use smaller amounts of a stronger variety, such as Parmesan.

Go hot or cold: Foods that are hot or cold will satisfy your hunger better than foods at room temperature. Some good examples include soup, hot cereal, frozen yoghurt and iced tea. These foods also take longer to eat or drink, which slows your rate of consumption and helps you to further reduce your calorie intake.

Keep a private reserve: Fill plastic bags with carrots, celery, dry cereal, pretzels and your other favourite low-fat snacks. Make a habit of carrying a bag or two with you for those desperate moments when you're considering a bucket of buttered popcorn at the cinema (1000kcal), a large bag of wine gums (750kcal), or a pre-work Danish pastry (400kcal).

Try new foods: If you have any special food needs, or are simply looking for new and lower-calorie alternatives, check out a local health food shop. People who are lactose intolerant can substitute soymilk for normal milk, and even find fat-free ice cream alternatives.

Nibble away: Rather than getting three square meals, eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your energy level high. Stock up with mini-meal staples such as dried fruit and nuts, pretzels, cereal, yoghurt, fruit and natural peanut butter.

Day One: Running Off The Pounds | Day Two: Best Exercise Options | Day Three: Best Eating Routines For Runners | Day Four: Simple Ways To Count Your Calories | Day Five: Weight-Loss Week: Enjoy Your Food (that's what it's for)