6 Christmas foods to make you a better a runner

·3-min read
Photo credit: Counter - Getty Images
Photo credit: Counter - Getty Images

Tucking into delicious festive food is one of the highlights of the Christmas period. And do you know what's great? There are plenty of Christmas foods that taste just as satisfying as the ultra-processed stuff but also help to keep you healthy and support your running performance...

Smoked salmon

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs make for a perfect start to Christmas Day. Salmon is a source of omega-3 fats, important for heart health; and protein, which is needed for muscle maintenance and will keep you fuller for longer. Eggs are also a great source of protein and vitamin B12, vital for energy production, which you will need for that crisp Christmas morning run.


What’s more festive than cracking open nuts from their shell in front of the fire? The good news is that unroasted, unsalted nuts are renowned for their health benefits. Walnuts are a vegetarian source of omega-3 and almonds provide a decent hit of the antioxidant vitamin E. Brazil nuts, meanwhile, are a good source of selenium – an essential mineral needed for a healthy immune system and good thyroid function.


One of the best lean sources of protein out there – adding this festive food to your diet will help to support your running performance. The protein will keep you full and support muscle growth and repair, and turkey is also a source of B vitamins, selenium and zinc, which helps to maintain bone, eye and immune-system health, as well as cognitive function. Opt for an organic, free-range turkey to ensure the best-quality meat.

Dark chocolate

Replace the family size tub of Celebrations with a bar of top-quality dark chocolate, with a minimum of 70 per cent cocoa solids. Generally speaking, the higher the cocoa percentage, the less sugar. Dark chocolate is a source of iron, magnesium and manganese. Magnesium can help with post run muscle recovery, so your can enjoy your chocolate in a bath with some magnesium salts and claim it’s all in aid of your recovery. This Christmas, I’ll be giving Montezuma’s Absolute Black Truffle Filled Snowmen as a gift (£5.99, montezumas.co.uk).


The perfect accompaniment to your Christmas dinner. Cranberries are packed with health-promoting phytochemicals. They are rich in fibre, helping your digestive system to function effectively, plus they provide vitamin C. This vitamin is key to runners, particularly in winter, because it helps maintain normal function of the immune system during and after exercise. Try making your own run-friendly cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries, orange zest, ground clove, water and xylitol, a natural and sugar-free sweetener.

Brussels sprouts

Love them or loathe them, it’s not Christmas dinner without at least one sprout on your plate. And if you opt for a healthy portion this season, you’ll be getting a good dose of vitamin C and vitamin K, which contributes to healthy blood clotting and the maintenance of strong bones. Why not use your leftover sprouts for a runner-friendly salad with apple, red cabbage and walnuts?

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