On a Runner's Plate at Christmas - She Runs Eats Performs

Episode 124

Published on:

15th Dec 2022

On a Runner's Plate at Christmas

How do you manage your running performance and body composition when there are so many festive foods and drinks on offer?

There is a potential to overindulge at Christmas time, when what you really want to do is retain your healthy eating and training plan to maintain your running performance and/or body composition.

Maybe you have a race early in the new year and you don’t want to be “knocked off plan”? If so, then this episode is for you!

We will share our kitchen tips and plans for a healthy and active Christmas/holiday time to help inspire you to “stay on track”.



Introducing the topic and outlining WHY we have chosen this topic to discuss:

For many runners the festive season can bring with it FEAR….fear of making poor food choices leading to body composition and training becoming compromised. This may be an especially real fear (or at least a concern) for any runner having a race or event in the calendar early in the New Year. 

So, the principal aim of this episode is to try and alleviate the fear and potential anxiety around Christmas eating by giving some of our food (and drinks) ideas to help you stay on track.  


Thinking about ideas of how to keep family and guests happy when entertaining at Christmas time. Everyone has their own ideas around food and have their own food preferences. So what do you do to ensure everyone enjoys what you cook whilst still ensuring it is healthy, nutritious and will support YOUR run training?

·       Ensure there is lots of choice

·       Hide vegetables in a soup as a starter

·       Include a rainbow of vegetables alongside the main course

·       Have a sweet potato mash as well as traditional roast potatoes on the table

·       Include a vegetarian/vegan choice….just in case!!

·       Pair dessert with some Greek yogurt instead of cream

·       Have a cheese board OR a dessert….do you really need both??

·       Include mocktails, kombucha and WATER as alcohol alternatives 


Explaining what “Pigs in Blankets” are for those who do not know!!

Then delving into the running performance benefits of turkey including:

·       Supporting recovery following training

·       Supporting muscle protein synthesis

·       Supporting muscle repair and remodeling following exercise 


Looking at alternatives to turkey on Christmas Day including:

·       Lentil and Mushroom Loaf

·       ‘Rita’s’ Roast Beef

·       Mushroom and Quinoa Nut Roast


Considering some dessert highlights and WHEN to eat them to help support your run training.

Some desserts discussed include:

·       Mince Pies

·       Christmas Pudding

·       Trifle

·       Chocolate Mousse

BUT….remember portion size!!


Considering some alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that will be on Karen and Aileen’s Christmas tables this year:

Alcohol Beverages:

·       Bubbly

·       Wine

·       Port

Non-Alcoholic Beverages:

·       WATER

·       Kombucha

·       Mocktails including:

  • Sage Sour
  • Cranberry Crunch

Remember….you are in the driving seat regarding WHAT and HOW much you drink (and eat!!). Try not to succumb to pressure by others!!


Having fun discussing some gift ideas that any midlife female runner would LOVE to receive at Christmas time. 

These gift ideas are definitely a “would appreciate receiving” not a “need to have”.

Life is tough for so many people at the moment and we would not want to trivialise that. We believe in the motto:

“I have enough, I do enough, I am enough”

So, this gift list is just a bit of fun, but may give you some inspiration if you do want to buy a little gift for your running partner, buddy or friend…or indeed for yourself! Some of our ideas include:

·       Cushioned running socks

·       A gift voucher for running kit

·       Thermal and waterproof gloves/mitts

·       A gift voucher for a sports massage or a coaching session

·       Running poles – for those hills when trail running!!

·       Organic vegetable or recipe box

·       1:1 nutrition consultation/package 



  1. If you are at all concerned about overindulging at Christmas…just remember that you are in the driving seat…you are in control of the decisions you make
  2. Don’t be pressurized by others because at the end of the day….you are the one who is training…you are the one who want to “perform” at your best whether it is just as a casual runner or if you have races or running events in the calendar occurring early in the new Year
  3. Remember you can still achieve plate balance on Christmas Day and your food choices can still be nutritionally dense and support your training. 
  4. If you are partaking in alcohol then just remember to go for your Christmas Day run BEFORE you indulge and drink lots of water alongside the alcohol
  5. There are lots of delicious non-alcoholic drinks if that is your preference including Mocktails, Alcohol-free wine, gin, beer etc, so don’t be pressurized into drinking alcohol if you don’t want to!
  6. Finally….enjoy the day in whatever way gives YOU enjoyment rather than how other people think you should enjoy the day…BE STRONG…BE YOU!!


FOOD FOR...Winter Running

Running Through Christmas

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

if this is your first time your show and 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.

As a THANK YOU to you as one of our valued listeners, we have a special offer for you use COUPON CODE POD to get 33% discount off the full price which brings the price to £199.

If you’d like help from Karen and Aileen to design a personalised sports nutrition plan for your running - please contact us at hello@runnershealthhub.com

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

Profile picture for Aileen Smith

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.