• Helen Phillips

Next Level Nutrition

Are you confused about what to eat? There's so much information around you don't know which way to turn. You're in a rush, never have time to shop let alone cook, so to grab the nearest energy bar or protein shake for nourishment.

Well slow right down ... those choices could be having a horrific effect on your running performance.

Check out these 8 foods that you should be eating regularly, that will put a spring in your step and power in your engine to help you train harder and more effective to propel you to a seasons best you never thought possible. Click the links for recipes.


Studies have shown that eating a high fat meal prior to exercise increases fat burning during exercise. Almonds have a high fat content, so eating a small handful before a long steady run could help your body to adapt to using fat as fuel. Almonds also contain magnesium and B vitamins which help our bodies convert food to energy, so a double nutty benefit!


Although they are fruits, avocados have a high fat content, with the majority being health-promoting monounsaturated fats. They are a good source of micro nutrients, which have been associated with cardiovascular benefits. With their high monounsaturated fat content eating avocados prior to exercise would lead to an increased rate of use of fat for fuel during training of lower intensity.

Check out my chilli with avocado salsa here.


Bananas are a firm favourite of runners, as they're a great source of carbohydrate, easy to transport and digest. They're a great source of potassium and research has shown that banana consumption can help keep blood potassium at higher levels after exercise, and it is believed this helps prevent muscle cramps.

Bananas are also very low in fat are a good source of fibre and fructose containing carbohydrates that help maintain the balance of “friendly bacteria” in the gut.

I eat tons of bananas and always before a race. Check out my recipe for Banana Pancakes, they're lush!


Blueberries are delicious and packed with antioxidants. Eating berries, including blueberries can help to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness and improve recovery due to their antioxidant properties.

Add berries to porridge or yoghurt, or snack on them as a mid afternoon treat.


Kale is also one of the healthiest vegetables, it's high in vitamins and minerals. The nutrients in kale offer protection from vitamin A deficiency, osteoporosis, iron-deficiency and anaemia. Kale also contains fibre which fills you up and helps keep your blood sugar level stable, avoiding any crashes later on.

Checkout my Squash, Kale and Chickpea Curry, spicy and delicious.


Oats are a complex carbohydrate with a high fibre content, so they provide a slow release of energy over a longer period of time, than compared to white bread. Eating carbohydrate a few hours before running will increase your bodys stores of carbohydrate which is used as energy to fuel your running.

I love Porridge, topped with nuts, seeds and blueberries for breakfast and if you're wanting to get more oats in your diet check out my recipe for Marathoner Muffins which use oats instead of flour to power your runs.


Both fresh and canned salmon have health benefits due to their high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to boost your mood and energy levels.

Check out my Salmon with Arabiata Sauce for an easy spicy salmon supper.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a great carbohydrate for runners. They are medium GI which means they release their energy slowly and are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Boil or roast sweet potato as you would a regular potato and serve as a tastier, healthier alternative to chips. Check out my Sweet Potato Fries here.

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