As I’m gearing up for the Honolulu Marathon, my meal plan has taken shape, too. Long runs make me so beyond starving that my marathon training usually equates to months of marathon eating. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s so freakin amazing. As a historically restrictive/borderline obsessive calorie tracker, the sky-high calorie burns from running feel like a free pass to Disneyland, in food form. Yes, please!
Naturally, though, you can’t realistically have your hard-earned cake and eat it, too. Or at least you can’t without repercussions. For me, staying light and lean makes running easier, so I have to strike a balance between my veracious appetite and what my body actually needs.
Here’s a quick snapshot of my proudly plant-based meal plan. Of course, every body is different, so this isn’t designed for anyone specifically – it’s just what I’ve found to work well for me, on and off of training season.
Meal 1: Pre-Run
I prefer to run in the mornings if at all possible so I don’t have to think about the impending run all day long. I like to have something light, so I usually eat 1/2 a banana for short runs. For long runs, I eat something like this – a piece of Dave’s Killer Bread or Ezekiel bread with powdered peanut butter (mixed with water, so it spreads thin) and a teensy bit of fruit. The fruit is important cause it gives me that burst of energy/wake-up to get out and run.
Meal 2: Breakfast
Best meal of the day, y’all! So, quick disclosure – if I do a long run, I do down a low-calorie protein shake right after. But most days I get to enjoy this beautiful cereal recipe from Engine 2 Kitchen . It’s packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, good fats, complex carbs and protein to boot. Here’s my breakdown:
1/4 cup Grape Nuts, 1/4 cup old fashion rolled oats, 1/4 cup Uncle Sam’s berry flakes
1 tbsp. chia seeds, 1 tbsp. flaxseed meal
1 small banan, sliced; 1 kiwi, sliced; 10 berries of any kind
1/2 cup plant milk (coconut, almond, flax milk – anything!)
Snacks are what I live for. Like, so seriously. I’m usually running around crazy, so for afternoon time I snack on something simple, like an apple with 1tbsp almond butter, carrots and 2 tbsp hummus, or a Larabar.
I LOVE having lunch at home, where I can whip up a gigantic salad packed with a zillion veggies and topped with nuts, seeds, 1/2 cup brown rice or noodles, and some baked tofu or tempeh. Or a similar wrap!
Yet, alas, I’m usually running from meeting to meeting or apartment to apartment, so bae and I often end up eating out. Thankfully, Hawaii has tons of lighter options, so it’s easy for me to find a healthy, plant-based meal on the go. My faves are definitely summer rolls with tofu from any Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, or a veggie delight sandwich from subway on multigrain flatbread – swap cheese for avocado, and with as much veggies as possible.
I love love love snacks. My favorites around nighttime usually include fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth. I love sweet berries drizzled with pbfit (powdered peanut butter mixed with water) or bananas and peanut butter, or apples and almond butter. YUM!
My dinner is literally the same almost every single night: grilled or sautéed veggies, brown rice or sweet potato, and a plant-based protein. My go-to’s are lentils, beans, tofu, or tempeh, but I sometimes spoil myself with a good mock meat.
Dessert is important, because i love myself. Lol. If I’m hungry after dinner, which I normally at if I work at night or had a long run that day, I indulge. I love a good vegan donut, some dark chocolate, or protein nice cream.