What foods should I eat when starting a walking program?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
A preventive health diet is the best. Start with whole grains. If you are trying to lose weight, limit your carb servings to about four a day. This will still provide enough energy for your walking program. Add plenty of lean protein like beans, tofu, poultry and lean beef. Avoid processed food with trans and saturated artery clogging fats. Eat more avocado, seeds, nuts and nut butters. Add plenty of fresh produce.
Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics

You should start by eating a healthy diet that includes all the food groups. It is important that you have balance, variety and moderation in your daily diet. Start by trying to include 5-9 fruits and vegetables per day; avoid fried foods and foods in heavy cream sauces; look for whole grains and items with fiber; make lean proteins a part of your daily eating plan. Remember, your body needs a certain amount of fat to function, so be sure to include healthy oils such as canola or olive oil. Start slow and incorporate changes each day until you have a healthy eating plan that you enjoy.

Starting a walking program is excellent, congrats to you! Now that you have started exercising you need to start eating right! We want to focus on eating well all the time and not just before or after walking. Also, keep in mind that in order to be successful with whatever you goal may be that nutrition needs to become a lifestyle change and not a diet.

Foods to choose from are the following:
  • Lean proteins – chicken is a great source of protein
  • Fish – try to eat wild caught, the health benefits outweigh farm raised
  • Vegetables – strive for green leafy vegetables
  • Fruits – keep your quantity low due to the sugars and try to eat first thing in the morning
  • Nuts – raw nuts are your best choice, 4 ounces or less
Personally, the distances I generally walk/run I tend to do my cardio without eating. The theory behind this is that there are no carbohydrates in your system to burn, so it will burn the glycogen and fat in your system. Then, within 30 minutes of finishing you need to eat a balanced meal with protein/carb/fat/fiber. For instance, I make my own protein shake using fresh fruit, protein powder, superfood vitamin/mineral supplement, and acai juice. This makes a palatable 400 calorie meal replacement that can be used after your cardio workout.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.