FOCUS on Festive Foods for Runners - She Runs Eats Performs

Episode 80

Published on:

9th Dec 2021

FOCUS on Festive Foods

FOCUS ON ... Festive Foods

We are going to fast forward to Christmas Day and chat about ENJOYING a traditional Christmas meal, getting the BALANCE right knowing that we are getting lots of amazing as well as delicious nutrients.

During our last episode, E79 Running through Christmas we talked about some simple tips and practices to apply to your food and drink choices over the full festive period, and how to realistically plan and manage your exercise and running over the holiday period.

Today, we’ll talk about the wonderful seasonal foods which tend to be included as part of a traditional Christmas meal and showcase their nutritional value.

Today we’ll share with you our suggestions for:

1.    A balanced Festive Plate

2.    An 80:20 approach! A little of what you fancy!

3.    Socialising (in a healthy way) with friends and family

Read the full article here



 What food to include on your Festive Plate

Christmas is a celebration, so enjoying traditional festive foods is part of that celebration, so we personally think we all should embrace that. Many of the festive foods at this time of the year are full of nutritional value so we should embrace that too. Festive over-eating and the tendency to have extra large portions may lead to weight gain, feeling bloated and sluggish after we’ve eaten which may have a knock-on effect on our energy next day and on our next training run.

The easiest thing we can do is follow everyday plate balance at every mealtime – which is ¼ plate of protein, ¼ plate carbohydrates and ½ plate of non-root veggies. We think on Christmas Day portions may be a little bit bigger but it’s key to get all 3 elements on your plate in proportion.


 Protein Choices for your Festive Plate


 Carbohydrate Choices for your Festive Plate


 Christmas Vegetables Choices for your Festive Plate


 How do you have an 80:20 approach around food and drink at Christmas?


Socialising in a Healthy Way



 1.    A traditional Christmas meal has all the ingredients for a healthy plate

·      Turkey is lean and protein rich and supplies tryptophan an essential amino acid which is a precursor for serotonin and melatonin

·      The main source of carbohydrates on the festive plate are root vegetables e.g. carrots, parsnips and potatoes. You may also consider beetroot, sweet potatoes and celeriac

·      Our favourite traditional non root vegetables are brussels sprouts and spiced red cabbage

·      Add seasonal ingredients such as chestnuts, walnuts, sage and cranberries to your recipes

2.    Follow an EVERYDAY PLATE BALANCE of ¼ plate protein, ¼ plate carbohydrates, ½ plate non root vegetables for your Festive Meals unless you are following a moderate or hard training plan.

3.    Set your personal boundaries around what/when and how much you choose to eat and drink over the festive period.

4.    Plan when you will return to your food and running plan.

5.    When choosing food and drinks – ask yourself – will this make me feel good today, tomorrow and next week!

6.    Enjoy celebrating with festive foods and drinks when you are spending time with family and friends – as far as possible follow an 80:20 approach.

Related Topics:

Running Through Christmas

Nutrition Basics for ALL Runners

Food For Winter Running


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and

advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact

your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.

Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.

We are excited to be able to share our expertise, experience and short cuts with you. We hope you'll join us again. If you'd like to know more about us and She Runs Eats Performs please check out our TRAILER.

If you're ready to make learn more about how you may introduce easy nutrition into your running and training plan join our Easy Nutrition For Healthy Runners Online Programme for short videos, recipes, downloads and LIVE training and Q&A.

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If you’d like help from Karen and Aileen to design a personalised sports nutrition plan for your running - please contact them at

Happy Running!

Aileen and Karen 


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About the Podcast

She Runs Eats Performs
for mid-life female runners of all abilities
Are you confused about the science around nutrition for runners? Listen in to learn about the WHY, HOW, WHAT, and WHEN of eating to fuel your running performance.

We are here to help you translate sports nutritional science, into easy to apply tips and plans, helping you enjoy peak running performance. We focus on the FEMALE FACTORS every mid-life woman needs to know to be a healthy runner.

About your host

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Aileen Smith

Nutritionists, Educators, Podcasters, Runners and Friends

We have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living. She Runs Eats Performs for female runners of all abilities who are looking for simple ways to improve their running performance and their health with nutrition and lifestyle.
We enjoy sharing our nutritional expertise, reviewing the latest sports science and most of all helping you to take easy action so you can enjoy your running life to the full.
We are here to help you achieve great health and good shape whilst staying injury-free with easy-to-understand sports nutritional concepts and easy-to-implement tips and plans.

Aileen and Karen are BANT and CNHC Registered Nutritional Therapists.