Dietary Requirements

1. The perfect runner's diet

A food pyramid is a great way to visualize how much you should be eating of the essential food groups. The latest research from the United States suggests that the AU/UK's dietary guidelines set in 1991 need updating. Based on the latest science, here is a rough idea of what your healthy daily diet should include.

Fruit and vegetables

The Australian & UK governments recommended daily intake of five portions of fruit and vegetables is not enough for runners. Try to eat two 8og (3oz) portions of fruit and three 10g (4oz) portions of vegetables every day. This may seem similar to the AU/UK guidelines but the portions are larger. You can make everyone feel welcome at your table by creating a menu that reflects and respects these requirements.

Which vegetables?

You should include vegetables from each of the following five groups in your diet every week:

o Dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, and watercress - three portions a week. 
o Orange vegetables, such as carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes - two portions a week. 
o Three portions a week - Lentils, chickpeas, beans. 
o Starchy vegetables, like potatoes - 3 portions a week. 
o Other vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumber, and cauliflower - six portions a week.

See our vegetable slicers.

Lots of colors

By eating a colorful variety of fruit and vegetables, you will be able to enjoy a healthy selection of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Broccoli and bananas, for example, provide the potassium that is essential to balance the fluid levels in your body, while sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A to maintain healthy digestion.

Dairy

The calcium in dairy foods ensures that we have healthy bones, while the high protein content helps to repair tissue damage after a run. Aim to eat three portions of low-fat or fat-free dairy products every day. A-portion could be a 300ml serving of skimmed milk, two small pots of yogurt, or 40g cheese. Vegans can choose calcium-fortified fruit juices or soya milk. Foods containing probiotics, such as yogurts and fermented dairy products, promise to improve wellbeing by boosting healthy bacteria in your gut. -They have -also been shown to shorten a cold by as much as two days.

Fat

You should get roughly 25 percent of your daily calories from fat, but keep your intake of saturated fat to less than 10 percent, and avoid animal fats altogether. Aim to include six teaspoons of oil in a 2,000kcal diet. Half an avocado or 25 nuts counts as three teaspoons. Always read the label, and avoid processed foods that include the word 'hydrogenated' in the ingredients list.

Grains

Grains can be divided into two subgroups: whole and refined. Half of the grains you take should be whole grains. For a 2,000kcal diet, aim to eat six portions daily. One slice of bread, one small bowl of cereal and 255 of (dry) pasta, rice or oats all count as one portion. The unrefined versions of bread, rice, pasta, and porridge will provide you with slow-release energy, and the high-fiber content will keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer, making a guilty grab for a chocolate bar far less likely.

Meat and beans

The foods in this group are a great source of protein but they can be high in fat, so limit your intake to about 10g (5oz) daily as part of a 2,000kcal diet. One portion is equivalent to 25g lean meat, poultry or fish, one tablespoon of peanut butter, one egg, lentils or two tablespoons cooked beans.

Treats

Since it's an American invention, the food pyramid even takes into account your need for a treat every now and then. If your daily diet includes 2,000kcals, roughly 250 of these are discretionary, meaning you can use them how you like. For instance, you might want to eat more of one of the above groups or treat yourself to a bar of chocolate. A 300MI glass of beer is 200kcals, a glass of wine is about 100kcals whereas a Mars Bar is 230kcals. Don't use running as an excuse to indulge any more than this.