Meal Planning For A Triathlete

meal planning - diet - training - triathlon

Source: My 719 Moms

Meal planning is a topic that drives people away, but I am drawn to it. I enjoy the meal planning and making sure the needs of my training for triathlon are met.  Food is fuel as I have said many times but in reality it is more than that.  Food brings us back to our childhood and it also allows us to develop our palates as adults.  We may despise a certain food when we are younger and then grow to love it as we get older.

For me, this is where meal planning comes into play.  When I sit down on Sunday evening to lay out my meals for the week, and that includes snacks I do not view it as a prison sentence as a lot of people view meal planning.  The meal that I write down is not in ink but instead it is on a chalkboard.  Ever go to a restaurant that has their menu written in chalk?  Know why?  So they can erase meals as they come off the board.  Meal planning for my daily life is the same way.  I write it down, but if I feel like changing it I can.  My meal plans give me an outline and then I can choose to continue with that picture or change it to something else.

Now, when I am meal planning I am also paying close attention to my training plan as you cannot have one without the other.  There are staples in my meal planning like my pre-workout shake and my late evening snack, but everything in between is negotiable.  I also use my meal planning time to figure out what produce I have remaining and what I need to pick up.  This allows me to spend wisely on only the ingredients, and in the amounts, that I need as opposed to wasting money and food on items that end up in the garbage.

As you may have figured out, my meal planning contains a lot of items that I can buy in bulk.  Why?  It is simply a matter of cost.  If I write down a recipe that calls for millet but I only plan on using it once what sense does it make to buy a 4 lb bag?  Shopping via meal planning allows me to rotate items through my pantry and refrigerator and keep them fresh which means I am getting the most nutrients out of those products as I can.

When I wrote about moderation, portion control and cheat meals I received some terrific feedback via the blog as well as email and even on Twitter.  Most of the responses were asking me what I ate and how much along with when.  I decided to provide you with my meal planning for today along with the workouts I will be doing today.  Friday is an active recovery day for me which includes a swim and bikram yoga so my calorie burn can be over 1,000 as well as dehydration so I make it a point to schedule my meals to fall within the proper recovery time as well as the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Meal Planning For Triathlete On Active Recovery Day


  • 4:30am: Wake-Up
  • 5:00am: Endurance Sport24 Shake which is 90 calories, 14g Carbs, 2g Fat, 10g Protein, 4g Fiber
  • 5:30am: Swim
  • 7:00am: Blackberry/Blueberry Waffles With Almonds, Banana And Honey which is 648 calories, 90g Carbs, 25g Fat, 25g Protein, 20g Fiber (this has the proven 3:1 Carb:Protein ratio that is ideal for recovery
  • 8:00am Networking Meeting
  • 10:15am Bikram Yoga


  • 11:30am: Endurance Sport24 Recovery Shake which is 213 calories, 21g Carbs, 2g Fat, 27g Protein, 1g Fiber
  • 1:30pm: Braeburn Apple, Homemade Nut Butter and Honey which is 222 calories, 35g Carbs, 10g Fat, 5g Protein, 7g Fiber


Late Night

  • 8:00pm: Suzie’s Thin Cakes Topped with homemade nut butter, honey, banana, shredded coconut and a Whey Protein Shake which ends the day with 438 calories, 74g Carbs, 8g Fat, 25g Protein, 8g Fiber

Based on the data that I put into MyFitnessPal I would burn 1546 calories from a 1h15m swim and 1h30m bikram yoga class.  When you add that 1546 to my daily calorie burn of 1820 I can consume 3366 calories on an active recovery day.

The meal planning that I have put together for this day totals out to 2020 calories, 291g Carbs, 57g Fat, 116g Protein and 51g Fiber.  The healthy fats, protein and fiber will help keep me feeling full but should I notice a hunger queue of mine sneak up I will add some fruit to my daily intake to curb the hunger.  This is why I consider my meal planning to be written in chalk as I can change it based on my hunger queues and whether or not I feel the need for additional calories.

Since I am meal planning though this keeps me away from the chocolate fixes or the splurging that can consume people.  I do not focus on the total calories but I am more interested in my macro-nutrients as I put together the meals for the week.  Making sure that my macro and micro nutrient needs are being met allows me to get out the door the next morning to continue to work on my craft.

Do You Do Any Meal Planning?

Do You Use Software To Help You With Your Meal Planning?

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  1. Cool man, planning really helps. The shake with an apple seems like a light lunch though. Do you ever make green smoothies?
    Carolina John recently posted..The WeddingMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      On a day like Friday that is active recovery there is no need for me to have a large lunch. If it was Mon-Thurs/Sat or Sun then the lunch would be much larger but on a day with little to no activity I am mindful of what I consume BUT if I am hungry I will eat.

      As for green smoothies I don’t do them because I am always eating greens with virtually every meal. If you saw what I had this morning (different from what I posted here) it included Brussels Sprouts and Spinach.

  2. Victoria says:

    I meal plan weekly with a google docs spreadsheet, so that I can access it from anywhere…and adjust it easily. This is EXTREMELY helpful for planning post-workout nutrition to assure that I have something readily available, and that I go for the best choices rather than just eating what sounds delicious when I walk in the door after a 4 hour brick. Today, I’d have downed sugary bars and the like, but my meal plan already said kale, tomatoes, and chicken…so that’s what I did. Much better.
    Victoria recently posted..EnduranceFoodies Blog Carnival: Eggplant SpreadMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      Exactly. I find it easier to turn to MyFitnessPal account than rummaging through the pantry looking for something that won’t taste nearly as good as the meal I planned.

      Plus I know that I am getting the right amount of carbs and proteins following my meal plan.

  3. Kate says:

    Far from driving me away, I found this really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    I don’t meal plan; in fact, I’m usually stopping at the grocery store last minute to grab something to cook. Not brilliant.
    Kate recently posted..Good news and a gut checkMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      The last minute stop at the grocery store gets me every time because I end up walking out with un-needed items just because I created a recipe in my head while I was there.

  4. Jesse says:

    I wish I was detail oriented enough to make a meal plan for the week to rotate stuff through the fridge. Sounds like a great way not to waste anything, but we live a little too much on the fly meal wise for that I suppose (although everything revolves around chicken which you’d know off the bat with 10 pounds of chicken in the freezer, ha).

    Regarding your 3:1 carb to protein ratio for recovery, isn’t it supposed to be 4:1? I’m not a super stickler when it comes to stuff like that, but just curious. Looks like your waffles are pretty set with good toppings, would you ever consider switching to a whole grain and or high protein waffle? Whole grain carbs are going to fuel you long term while the honey you put on them have the great simple sugars for immediate glycogen restoration.

    Good luck with the training.

    • CTER says:

      It really isn’t that hard especially if it is something you want to do. I love meal planning and coming up with creative ways to do it. Here is an idea for you if you have an iPhone or another smartphone. There is probably a notes app on the phone. When inspiration strikes put the meal into that notes section and then refer back to it and you will be meal planning in no time.

      As for 3:1 or 4:1 it all depends on what you are reading. I have seen both and neither one says that the other is wrong so if you want to be safe go for 3.5:1….. I think that as long as you are recovering within those ratios that you are doing your body justice.

      I don’t consume whole wheat but I have looked at spelt flour but garbanzo flour is high in protein, not-GMO, organic and most importantly……cheap!

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