While I talk a lot about food and easy recipes, I’ve never created an athletes grocery list, and after talking with many clients, it seems that these recommendations are needed and would be helpful.
I always recommend to have a variety of pantry staples for running, but in terms of a runners grocery list, let’s list some nutrient-dense options out for each category.
Scroll down for a printable grocery list for athletes.
This grocery list for athletes is broken down into carbs, fats, protein, snack foods and even convenience items I recommend in my cart, to make your athlete snacks easy to organize!
If you want to see what a sample day looks like with many of these options, check out what I ate on a 20 mile run day.
You’ll want to have a variety of foods from each food group available, and the extent of what you buy may depend on several questions and life situations.
You’ll want to consider:
Those are just some questions to ask when coming up with a grocery list for athletes.
Carbohydrate intake is often the foundation of an athlete’s diet, and I always recommend loading up your pantry with easy carbohydrate staples.
I get most of my carbohydrate-based stables from Thrive Market. As a member, you save more money, and it’s easy to just schedule deliveries when you’re close to running out.
Thrive Market is kind of like a blend between Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s – unique items at a low cost. It’s amazing.
Some of my favorite high carb foods for runners are:
Having these foods readily available and stocked will make high carb snacks for athletes easy and attainable. Some great carb snacks include:
I can usually also make my breakfast based on many of these staples.
Here are some more ideas for Breakfast for Athletes on the go.
This runners grocery list includes both meat based and plant-based protein options so shop accordingly! If you follow a vegan diet for running, there are still plenty of meal options and ways to meet your needs for protein for athletes.
Similarly, nutritional yeast is a great option for vegan runners because of its nutritional profile.
I like seeing my athletes have a high protein grocery list because we want adequate protein at each meal and snack.
Like any athlete, runners should be getting protein at every meal, spread evenly throughout the day. The focus on protein should happen after a workout as opposed to before a workout.
More on the difference between pre workout and post workout nutrition. Some of my favorite protein snacks are pre made energy bites.
While there’s no best protein for athletes, it’s so important to get a variety of foods to ensure a distribution of the amino acids, especially leucine. Leucine is an important one, specifically, for athletes because it can help with muscle building and reducing breakdown, among other things.
See more about leucine for athletes here!
As mentioned above, nuts and seeds are great sources of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Also,
If you want to try making your own peanut butter, try this cinnamon salted peanut butter. So easy!
Did you know my college nickname was snacks? And for good reason. I was (and still am!) always snacking on something.
Snacks are the perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between meals and keep you from getting too hungry. Furthermore, they provide additional opportunities throughout the day to get nutrients in.
It’s really difficult to meet your nutrient needs as an athlete through just three square meals, so consider these opportunities.
As I discuss in my marathon training, when you’re in training, you have to think about your energy and “slices of the pie.”
When your training increases, that’s going to take up a larger portion of the pie. That means there are fewer of other portions, so you want to streamline or make it as easy as can be.
That may look like:
All of these things can make your life easier and reduce the amount of time spent on other things.
I also really love Sun Basket – their directions are easy to follow, and the food is delicious.
For lack of a better term, these foods don’t necessarily fall into the above categories, though they are technically carbohydrates. They are less nutrient-dense, though I would argue, still important and maybe even essential to help meet energy needs.
Plus, they generally improve quality of life and convenience is a big factor!
Some of my favorites include:
You’ll want to include some of your favorites too.
Repeat after me – eating sweets regularly reduces the feeling of out of control eating and binge eating.
Sometimes, supplements for runners are necessary.
What are some of your favorite grocery foods?