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How to Eat Right When Out?


What you eat has a direct influence on your performance during the marathon. Eating healthy is very important, irrespective of your location. Sometimes, eating out is unavoidable, especially when you socialise with friends or family, colleagues, travel companions, etc. Also, as a runner, you might be travelling to a different place for the marathon or staying outside in a hotel. During this time, you can’t avoid eating out before or during the run. Home-cooked food is tailored according to your nutritional needs, but the real challenge lies in eating healthy when you are out.1,2

Five tips on eating healthy outside

Wondering on how to eat out yet enjoy your meals without being stressed about your performance levels? A few handy tips given below would guide you while you are dining out.1,2

1. Be menu savvy: Read the menu completely before ordering your food, so that you do not miss out on any of the healthy options. Some restaurants provide the number of calories contained in their foods and beverages either on their menus or their websites. Choose recipes with terms such as ‘baked’, ‘boiled’, ‘grilled’ or ‘steamed’ and avoid ‘deep fried’ recipes.

2. Say no to supersizing and alcohol: Many restaurants serve more food for one meal. Try to take control on the amount of food on your plate. Share it with your family, friends or take away if it is more, but never stuff yourself! Also, say no to alcohol. Alcohol affects your performance levels by causing dehydration and increase the risk of muscle cramps.

3. Sauce on the side please: Make sure you consume low amounts of sauces and toppings by keeping them on one side of your plate. Try not to pour them all over the food as you may lose control on the amount you consume.

4. Health on the go:

  • Choose plain chapattis over parathas and steamed rice over biryani. When choosing a main course of fish, meat or poultry, keep the portion size to medium.
  • Take sautéed, steamed vegetables or salads as side dishes instead of creamy and oily gravies. This will cut down the unnecessary fats.
  • Opt for vegetable/lean meat toppings when ordering pizzas and sandwiches.
  • Be mindful of the portions of desserts. A fruit platter can be a better option instead.

5. Miracle of fluids: Fill your glasses with water all the time to keep you hydrated throughout. Try to avoid carbonated and sweetened beverages. Choose non-sweetened beverages and fresh fruit juices or just stick to water instead.

As a runner, you understand how important it is to eat healthy; however, sometimes, eating out is unavoidable.
Enjoy your food and have fun while you go out, but do not forget the bigger picture – the marathon finish line!1-3

1. Australian Sports Commission. Eating out. Bruce, Australia: AIS Sports Nutrition; 2009.
2. Australian Institute of Sport. Current Concepts in Sports Nutrition. Bruce, Australia: Australian Institute of Sport; 2016.
3. Ishwar Singh M, Suman V. Effect of alcohol on sports performance and different body systems. International Journal of Applied Research. 2014; 1(1): 102-103.