If you are an energy bar junkie, or planning on starting a healthy running diet, there are some important nutritional considerations you should make.

While energy bars and other types of fortified foods get you the right amount of calories, and taking the right supplements makes sure that you get the right vitamins and minerals, leaving actual food out of your diet sacrifices ideal health for efficiency.

Eating the right foods actually improves your performance

Your body needs all the naturally occurring fats, starches, oils, fibres, and even colours from what you eat. These nutrients from food improve and maintain the way your body works. Leaving actual food out of your diet completely will reduce the efficacy of the calories you do take in and thus your physical performance – especially over time.

Go nutty!

Nuts and seeds are full of all the right amounts of protein, fibres, essential fats and oils, and nutrients that act as antioxidants. Eating seeds as a regular part of your diet has been shown to help regulate body weight and keep you healthier. If you are running for weight loss, you should definitely think of adding seeds and nuts to your diet.

Get creative with colour

Eat fruits and vegetables with a wide range of colour. Different colour pigments, in many fruits and vegetables, correlate with the vitamins and nutrients they have in them. An easy way to do this is by having fruit salad for breakfast, and adding a garden salad to your evening meal. Adding colour to your running diet will also make your meals look more delicious!

Fish frenzy

Add fish to your diet to get the omega-3 that your body, as a runner, really needs. Omega-3 is important to reducing inflammation and soreness in your muscles from running.

The key to running nutrition: get it straight from nature

If you are not vegan, milk, spreads, yoghurts, and cheeses made from animal products is a better choice. Dairy, both in the form of milk and its products (cheese, yoghurt, etc.), contains proteins that are essential for healthy muscles. When it comes to fruit and vegetables choose to eat them with the skin on. Eat whole-wheat grains and its products (bread, pastas, etc.) instead of processed grains.