How my eating has changed & lost.

I have zero sense of direction.  Usually, when I am running trails that I don’t know very well, I am either with someone that does know them or I have my All Trails app open and I’m checking my tiny dot on the map every so often to see if I am on the right trail…

But on Saturday, I was way too distracted by our conversation and took these two on a few wrong turns, and we ended up very far from the trail we were planning on running.  Unfortunately, my phone didn’t have service at that point, so thankfully, Megan D found some bike tracks to follow to get us back to where we needed to be!

The red rocks and sand never get old to me.  10.23 miles total with about 1,000 ft of climbing.

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I need to learn the trails in St. George better!

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We got to the point where we needed a break from the sun, so we swam indoors instead.

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We were able to pick up Brooke on Sunday morning, and then we made it back up north in time for my nephew’s farewell.  He is going on a mission, and so he spoke in church before he starts on Thursday!

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Looking way too grown up these days.

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Afterward, his friends and our family went over to my sister’s house to eat and talk.  We had all of his favorite foods there…

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Including pizza bites!  My sister baked up 600 of them.  My nephew and his friends eat these by the handful.

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We relaxed there for a while too.

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We are all going to miss him way too much.

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I am NOT a dietician, and I have zero training in this… just sharing what has worked for me.

Andrew and I talked the other day in the car about how much our eating has changed in the last five years that we have known each other.  He eats more sweets because of me, and I eat more calorie-dense meals because of him.  I think that calorie-dense meals are something that helped me to get faster.  For years I thought that a salad a day and other pretty low-calorie type meals were enough to fuel, but it wasn’t.  2019 was by far my fastest year with PRs in every distance, and I think that eating more is a big part of that.   I am 100% positive that I could not have made it through the running that I did that year (and I’ve continued with it since) without changing my diet to more calorie-dense meals and snacks.

If I get one more email like this one below about a 1,200 calorie diet, I’m going to scream.  The diet culture in our world has made us believe that less is more with food, and it sure trained my brain to think like that for a while.  By sharing my journey of figuring this out, I hope to help change the idea that runners (or anyone) should be eating low-calorie meals all day.  I tried that.  I was injured often, lost my period for a while, was too tired to increase my mileage or speed, and coming nowhere near my potential.  Eating a low-calorie diet (aka fewer calories than what I was burning!) had me thinking about food ALL. OF. THE. TIME. which meant I didn’t have time to think about the really important things in life because I was planning out my every meal and feeling guilty for whatever I had already eaten.

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I do not count calories, macros, or anything at all, but I know the meals that make me feel good, provide me energy and help me to run and recover well.  I’ll still have salads now and then, but that’s because it sounds good, and it’s usually part of the meal and not my main meal.   I know we are all so different, so once again, this is what has worked for me, but my running friends have all agreed that they run faster, are injured way less often, and feel so much stronger when they are eating calorie & nutrient-dense meals and avoiding how the diet culture tells women to eat.

I eat everyday things to get in the fuel I need, and I would LOVE to hear what you do!  I would love if anyone could add in vegetarian, vegan, or allergy-friendly options in the comments too!

*Burgers.  I eat a lot of burgers made at home.  I’ll add things like avocado, kale, bacon, cheese, sautéed peppers/onions to the buns with my burger, and I usually have TJs sweet potato fries on the side.  Oh, and when you eat your burger with a bagel rather than a bun, it is even more delicious… especially if the bagel has cheese on it.

*I love Shalane’s recovery quinoa salad A LOT, and we make it often.  I add protein and avocado on top usually too.

*Breakfast burritos…. Tortilla, whole eggs, avocado, bacon, sautéed veggies like spinach and peppers, cheese, and potatoes.

*Burrito bowls… or the salads that I used to make on top of beans and rice with a tortilla to scoop it all up with.  A lot of our meals are on top of rice and beans or quinoa.  We will add roasted veggies to the top, a protein like a steak or chicken, avocado, and cheese.

*Sandwiches in between hearty pieces of bread!  My current favorite sandwiches are grilled chicken with pesto and mozzarella cheese on a panini maker or a grilled cheese on sourdough bread with bacon, guac, and tomatoes.

*Pasta with things like homemade Alfredo, turkey trot meatballs, pasta primavera, pink sauce pasta, carbonara, my mom’s lasagna, or this summer skillet lasagna.  Garlic bread is a must with all of these.

*Enchiladas are always a win at our house with some rice and beans on the side.

*Jen’s Pad Thai is fantastic.

*Sheet pan nachos!

*My favorite easy TJ’s meals.

*Curry curry curry over lots of sticky rice.

*Soups (my top 10 favorites are here) with some bread (and if the soup is in a bread bowl, I am in heaven).

And my favorite snacks have to be Shalane’s superhero muffins and more ideas in this post!


I would love to hear from you about some of your favorite calorie and nutrient-dense meals that help you and your running to feel fabulous!

How has your eating changed over the years if it has?

Ever gotten lost on a run?  Howd you find your way back?

What was the best part of your weekend?

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600 pizza bites?! That’s an obscene amount haha. But I also get how teenage boys eat a ton of them.

I love making a big salad. I’ll put those copy cat Chick fil A nuggets from Costco in the toaster oven then chop up my salad which has romaine, spinach, and a mix of veggies that I have on hand (carrots, celery, red bell pepper and cucumbers are favorites), then add some cheese and buffalo sauce too it. Plus I have it in a mixing bowl to add in all the veggies haha. Once I learned to add in all the things to salads it became a game changer for me since they’re filling then


Hahah my sister’s grocery bill is going to really change when he is gone, he and his friends eat so so much. Your salad sounds AMAZING and those nuggets are just the best. Mixing bowls are the way to go… my brother in law still uses them to eat his cereal ha. Have a beautiful day, Maureen!


Hi Janae ! It’s been a while since i left my last comment. But today, i had to agree with you on the food topic.
I am vegetarian (not for health reasons, only because i love too much animals and they just deserve to live their own life).
But i totally agree with the fact that it is not good for anybody, and for runners of course, to focus on low calories food.
Our body absolutely need calories to work well, and even more when we run ou move, whatever the sport.
And, the pleasure of eating is important too !
As i said, i am vegetarian, but i love lo eat. And in spite of what people think, there are lots of gooood veggies things !
(I eat lots of “healthy” and homemade meals, but i also eat burgers, pizzas, hot dogs, burritos, etc… Every meal can be turned in a vegetarian mode. I love to search for new recipes every day, and there are a lot).
Just to sum up : i love food ! ?
Have a beautiful day Janae !


Ingrid! It’s so good to hear from you! Thank you so much for sharing with us, I love learning more about you all. I need to come over for your homemade meals, they all sound so so good. I love food too! Thank you so much friend, keep in touch!


I totally agree that changing eating helps improve our running! For years I was injured all the time- I know it’s because I was trying to diet and limit calories. Now that I listen to my body and fuel it better, I’m rarely injured.

Some of my favorite calorie dense meals/snacks are burrito bowls, salmon and roasted potatoes/veggies, smoothies with all the good add-ins, egg cups with breakfast with spinach/cheese/sometimes bacon, and lattes with whole milk. Plus not denying foods helps me. I used to not let myself buy certain foods because they were “bad”. Not labeling foods good or bad and listening to my body makes me happier and healthier.


AMEN! I am so glad that eating more has helped your body to feel better and run better. Reading your favorites made me want them all right now. I need to try out the egg cups! Keep listening to your body and I totally agree, I am so much happier by not labeling foods. Have a beautiful day!


Great post, thanks for all the useful food suggestions. I find fuelling to be hardest part of my running, never feel like I have it right so appreciate hearing what other runners eat. Would you consider doing an example day of food for you? I know that is tricky territory as everyone is different and it can be triggering for some so I understand if not. I find them so useful to read though as I am never sure how much I should eat as I don’t generally have the biggest appetite despite running, or am often too busy with the kids to fix myself something to eat etc. Have a great day and thanks again for the content, yours is the only blog I read daily x


Oh I have definitely gotten lost more than once running! lots of running this weekend and our trail crew got soaked yesterday because it was pouring from start to finish. And I fell in the mud lol. The coffee after was soo good. Also, I rinsed out like streams of muddy water from my socks after hee hee. And then coming home to Jason and River post run plus a hot shower was awesome.

Thanks for sharing. I have definitely gotten better with my eating habits. I love wraps and burritos and I just made 4 lb of home made chilli. I love avocados grapes and cheese. I basically eat what I want. It wasn’t always this way. I have learned to appreciate my body for what it can do. And I definitely do not count calories now. And I love earnest ice’s a local ice cream place that makes a london fog flavour I love.

Have a great Monday Janae!


Best part of the weekend – going to an Indians game on Saturday and watching them come from behind to win!
Random question – when you lie down on the sidewalk after a run, do you ever have people stop and ask if you’re ok? Every time I try to sit in the ditch after a run, drivers will stop to see if I’m alright. I’m grateful they want to make sure I’m ok, but it makes me not want to sit and catch my breath, so it’s not often that I do sit down. I’m out in the country too, so runners are a rare sight out where I am.
Food – I wouldn’t call tilapia “calorie dense” but it’s one of our favorite things to make. It’s quick, easy, and has tons of flavor. There are a lot of recipes out there, but we like to just season the filets with different spices (especially garlic powder and paprika), pan fry in some olive oil, top with pico and devour.


I try to stay within a calorie deficit while eating intuitively. I really need to loose a bit and at 56 it’s difficult. I also think you should not deprive yourself and eat what you crave. Say thing that I also stay away from foods that make me feel crappy.


Great post!!
First of all, congratulations to your nephew!! It still seems crazy that he’s this age. The kids are all growing up so fast! And yes, Skye is looking much older lately.
I’ve gotten lost on a run a couple of times. It’s such a weird feeling thinking where the heck am I?? I just used my maps app on my phone to get me back. The last time it happened I was down in the La Jolla area, and I think I was just so distracted by the incredible ocean view. Ha ha
I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell her that food is fuel! It’s not a punishment. All those years of restricting calories and fat, not fully enjoying the big family road trip breakfast stop and just eating toast… Thank goodness I learned what healthy and fit really are. Thank you!
We love burrito bowls, sheet pan nachos, Shalane’s quinoa salad, pasta, and yes… Lots of protein and veggies over rice. Oh and lots of eggs too, for breakfast and sometimes for dinner. We have a cousin (hubby’s cousin’s daughter) living with us this summer, and she works at an Acai bowl place…. So good! It’s become my favorite treat this summer so far. I love it with the granola and shredded coconut.
Hope you have a good Monday and start to the new week! ?


600 pizza bites!!!!!! :)
I completely agree about the food. Diet culture and what’s healthy in general is super messed up in the media. I also have never felt stronger than when I’m eating good food, eating when I’m hungry and focusing on proteins, healthy fats, lots of veggies etc. I also still LOVE salads, but they don’t fill me up. :)
The older I get the more simple foods I like. My favorite snack right now is a piece of toast (like a good thick sourdough), mayo, tomato slices, a hard boiled egg sliced on top and chives. It is SO GOOD and lately I’ve been prewashing tons of veggies and fruits and leaving them in bowls in the fridge for me and the kids to snack on.
Turkey trot meatballs and superhero muffins too.
And pizza bites.
Actually I love all food. :)


My weekly mileage is generally pretty low these days (15 miles a week or so), so I don’t have to worry too much about getting enough calories in! I quit counting calories years ago – I guess you could say I eat intuitively, but basically I just eat what I like until I’m full, haha! I’m vegan, and have to agree with Ingrid above – there are SO MANY good veggie based meals, and I never feel like I’m missing out!

Breakfast is always carb-based – oatmeal, a bagel and peanut butter, or cereal. Lunch is usually leftovers or a smaller snack like crackers and hummus or chickpea salad, because I always eat a big dinner. For dinners, I love to cook and I love to try new recipes, so we have lots of different things, but some favorites are roasted cauliflower and black bean tacos, scrambled tofu, all kinds of soups and chilis, and variations on the grain, green, and bean bowl concept (usually a roasted vegetable, beans or tofu, and rice, with a yummy sauce). And I have some sort of dessert every night!


Yesterday i tried a vegan option of this recipe of “Easy Coconut Shrimp Curry”
with “tofu shrimp” i found in an online shop.
It was a huge success !


Oooh, that’s a great idea! I think our Whole Foods may have this shrimp – I will have to try this! Thanks for the tip!r


Hi Rachel !
I’m French so i’m not sure you can be delivered in the US, even more as it is fresh food. The online shop is, but i’m sure you can find US online stores that sell it ?
The brand is “Lord of tofu”.
(To be honest, i’m not 100% sure you will have the taste of shrimps. I am vegetarian for almost 20 years so i am not able to say if something taste like meat or fish. But the meal with grilled tofu-shrimps was delicious).
Have a great day Rachel :)


where in the world do you find vegan shrimp? I have never seen this anywhere, but I would be interested in trying it. My family loves shrimp but I don’t eat fish so I’d love to make something that I can eat and they will enjoy too! any recommendations on brands that make it would be great! <3


Hi Lindsay ! I think i made a mistake with names. The above answer was for you :)


Hey Janae!! Many congratulations to your nephew– that’s a huge accomplishment and I wish the best for him over his journey the next two years. I’m sure you guys will miss him like crazy!

One of the best things I did recently is to hide my scale– I used to be so upset on days when I weighed over my desired range, when really it was probably just water retention or something similar. Why torture myself like that? The only thing I need to focus on is practicing good, healthy nutrition and moving my body.


Thanks Janae for this post. Food and my relationship with it is something I have struggled with for years. I look at old pictures of myself (very thin, but still thought I needed to lose more weight) and old workouts (minimum of 1 hour per day, very few rest days, etc) and really wonder how I physically got through those days. I was not eating enough and overexercising. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why it was SO hard for me to get faster. Truth is, I wasn’t fuelling my body and allowing my body to rest. I think pregnancy and postpartum/breastfeeding has really helped me increase my calories, even though at times I don’t always choosing the most nutrient dense options. I also find it really helpful to see a super fast runner and mother like yourself eat REAL food that’s not just a salad every single day. You really are a role model! I’m a first time mom with a 4 month old trying to figure everything out and you and this blog are super inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story with us, it has definitely helped me :)


Emily! Thank you so much for sharing this with me. Congrats on your first little one and I hope you are sleeping! I am with you… pregnancy/postpartum/breastfeeding really helped me to learn how important it is to eat enough food too. You are doing amazing, I am cheering for you. It really is incredible what our bodies CAN DO! What our bodies look like is the least interesting thing about us:) I hope you are having a beautiful day!


I was going to comment as well regarding motherhood and breastfeeding. Im exclusively breastfeeding my 4.5 month old and have trouble keeping up with my caloric needs with just walking. Do you struggle at all with the extra nourishment you need from breastfeeding in addition to running?


Aloha Janae! I really focus on fiber and protein at every meal these days. This has really helped me with not only weight maintenance but also building muscle. Learning more about the importance of both has really been eye opening for me!
Congratulations to your nephew, your family must be so proud!


Amanda, I LOVE this. You are doing amazing. Thank you friend, I hope you are having a beautiful day!


I love this post so much. When I started eating more carbs at every meal (yes, I got sucked into the idea that I needed to be on a lower carb diet…) I noticed that I was WAY more satisfied and my runs got much stronger!!! I also learned that potatoes are one of my favorite foods haha. I love pasta salads as a vegetarian meal option, especially in the summer. I use chickpea pasta for more protein and throw in my favorite veggies, cheese, dressing, etc. You can really tailor it to whatever you like! And I have dessert or a snack every single night right before bed…it fuels my early morning runs!!

The best part of my weekend was that I got 1:1 time with my dad, which hardly ever happens because of how busy he is. He came to visit me and we spent the whole weekend outside just relaxing, walking, and talking. It was the best! <3 Have a great week, Janae!!


Maria, I am so happy you were able to get time with your dad this weekend. That is the best. I LOVED learning about how your eating has changed and I completely relate with you on how much better running and life feels with carbs at every meal. I need some of your pasta salad and I LOVE that you eat a dessert or snack every night. Have a great one!


Oh! Hehehe, just saw this pic of Brookie and think it NEEDS a Skyester version!

For veg days, I had a coworker who went veg-only 4 days/ week. He also had fish with veggies 2 days/ week. It’s one way to do it. Seems smart to have a veg-only plan. Read something about the Rabbit Effect recently (I did NOT read Rabbit Effect.). In a study, rabbits were fed high cholesterol meals. The rabbits were grouped and assigned to scientists – the same scientist fed their group for the duration of the study. One of the scientists was particularly kind to the rabbits and talked to them while they ate. She made it a happy time. The group of rabbits assigned to the scientist had lower cholesterol/ the cholesterol was looser despite following the same diet as all the other groups. Not sure if this is how cage free eggs became a thing. Food for thought in more ways than one.


Just got back from a nice long walk in the back fields with Allie and our mastiff Tyson. We all got covered head to toe in mud from tromping through some streams but that adds to the fun!!
So inspiring to see how you’ve changed and gotten stronger by eating MORE!! I need to focus on eating more real meals, i often snack on junky things and then don’t feel hungry for good nutritious food. Ex. Friday I had chocolate almond clusters and smartfood popcorn for “lunch”… this morning I grabbed a croissant and stuck my finger in the Nutella jar for breakfast …. no good!! I need nutrients!!
It’s crazy how similar all the kiddos look !! So sweet
Xxx have a great day


Hi Janae, I AM a dietitian… and thank you! Unfortunately diet culture drowns out the real nutrition info runners desperately need to hear. Which in brief is to eat MORE. I appreciate how you demonstrate your eating without judgement on a daily basis and I think its so important to highlight how adequate eating can improve performance; I’ve similarly found this myself. Thanks for sharing!


Kayla, I am VERY relieved to hear from a dietician that this is some good advice. More is more and will keep us running healthy and happy! Thank you for doing what you do and helping others. Have a beautiful day!


I’m still a big fan of salads in the summer, but I definitely load them up with lots of hearty proteins and fats – roasted chickpeas, feta or goat cheese, sunflower seeds, pistachios, avocado, roasted potatoes, hard boiled eggs, grilled salmon or shrimp. We eat vegetarian or vegan about 4 days out of the week and do a lot of grain bowls – start with rice/quinoa/farro, add a bunch of veggies and beans/tofu and top with a fun sauce. I feel like the sauces add good calories and really make the meal. Pinch of Yum has great sauce recipes.


Have you or your family changed how you feel at all about eating chicken since you got some to raise? Have you had to talk to your kids about this at all? No judgement, just genuine curiosity!


Jessi, this is a great question! I 1000% thought that having chickens would make my kids choose not to eat chicken and I would support them in that decision but none of them have said anything about it. If they do ever say anything or have any concerns about it I will support them in that.! I hope you have a great day friend!


Hi Janae! I really appreciate this post and your perspective on eating to fuel life/motherhood/training. I’m not sure if this is too sensitive an area but would you be willing to talk about specifically how it has changed with breastfeeding? I am 8 months postpartum and ran my first race yesterday (half marathon) and had SUCH a hard time figuring out fueling/hydration given my energy/fluid expenditure with breastfeeding. I also feel like my body is just squishier and different while breastfeeding, which I am TOTALLY fine with, but definitely gets in my running headspace sometimes. I don’t feel like there are a ton of actively breastfeeding running mamas out there so when I find one I am so curious to hear their experiences and would love to hear yours, but if it’s too personal I totally understand :)


Hey Emily, CONGRATS on your half and your little one. I would love to talk more about this! First, I wish that I had a measurement like breastfeeding my whole life to make sure I am eating enough with my running ha. I can tell from my milk if I am eating enough and I kind of love that:) If I am feeling like I am not producing enough milk for Beck’s needs then I just try to eat more often and more calories along with drinking more if that makes sense. You are not alone in the squishier aspect! For me, it’s just part of breastfeeding that I will not fit in my old clothes until I am done. I have learned to focus on what my body is DOING not what is is looking like. Right now my body is feeding Beck and running a lot and that is just a miracle! The more I focus on what it can do the less I care about what it looks like and the happier I am. I think some bodies hold onto weight throughout breastfeeding as insurance to continue to make milk. I also feel like when I am breastfeeding it holds me back from reaching my speed potential again but I remind myself that it is a season and a beautiful season. Running goals will be there for me when I am ready and I’ll continue to enjoy right where I am in the moment until then! I wish I could talk to you in person about this all because I’m bad at typing it but I hope it helps. I’m always here for you and congrats on your 13.1, you are incredible!


Thank you so much! Everything you said makes so much sense to me and honestly makes me feel so much less alone. Feeding our babies while knocking out miles definitely makes us rockstars :)


thank you for this post, I soo agree with fueling vs counting anything (calories/macros).
Best part of the weekend was being able to take my mother in law to get her hair done : )

I am plant based, and there are soo many amazing, healthy, fueling foods. Potatoes! I LOVE potatoes at any meal, any way! So nutritious and filling, provide energy. Sweet potatoes-top w/maple syrup and nut butter, DELISH!
I make most of meals starch based (rice, potato, quinoa, pasta) and add all the veggies, beans,).
I love oats for bfast and snacks (bars, protein balls, granola)
And fruit! I eat fruit 3x a day bc it is soo good for us & helps with hydration. I am about to make some watermelon ‘slushes’ -watermelon, lemon juice & ice-blend and enjoy!


This is such a good message!! 1,200 calories a day is the recommendation for a TODDLER, so I do not understand how it’s become the norm for grown adult women.

I actually had to start eating more to lose weight. I was eating very close to 1,400 calories a day, working out very hard, and gaining weight. Well my body was inflamed in so many ways and was desperately holding onto weight because it was in such a state of stress. Once I upped my calories and focused on high quality, whole foods I started to lose fat and gain muscle. I also didn’t hurt after every single workout. So eat the lean meats, veggies, avocados, sweet potatoes, rice, peanut butter and feed your body ladies!


Such a wonderful post. My eating has changed too, as we were salad twinsies when we became friends. But less about the change in food is the change in mindset. My running has been better than it ever has, and I too know my diet plays in 100%. I just had the conversation with my hubby about how I listen to my body before long runs and it has never steered me wrong yet. I used to be the type that even if my body wanted oatmeal, I had to have toast cause I always do., so silly. We can trust the body!!


If you like burgers on bagels, you definitely should try having a burger on a buttered English muffin – it will change your life!

I’m a vegetarian so we get Purple Carrot boxes once in a while and I love their recipes. They have tons of them on their website, check them out if you’re in the mood for delicious filling vegetarian food! I love their grain bowls and the beet burger recipe is my favorite!


I have been Paleo for over 7 years and absolutely love it!! Researching Paleo was how I discovered running! It has changed my life so much! I love the simplicity and ease that Paleo brings to my life because I never have to think if what I am eating is good or bad. I also never ate vegetables before eating Paleo and now that is a part of all my meals.


This is your brain on food : an indispensable guide to the surprising foods that fight depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and more
Author: Naidoo, Uma
Publication Date 2020

Library, here I come!


Here to add some calorie-dense vegan meals for runners! I completely agree that everything is better when I fuel my body! I don’t want to live my life hungry and upset about every little thing I ate!
I love potatoes with mushroom gravy with tempeh on the side. Sooo good.
Casseroles, like a mexican enchilada bake with beans, rice, tortillas, veggies, salsa, etc
Pasta and a vegan marinara with lentils or vegan meatballs
Creamy curries with tofu and tons of veggies
Veggie burgers with avocados, tons of veggies, a side of potatoes or roasted vegetables, etc
Quinoa or rice bowls with avocado, tofu, beans, greens, and some nuts or seeds
Wraps with falafel, hummus, veggies, and tahini sauce … omg I want this right now.

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