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The 80 20 Diet for Runners (80 Fresh Review + Giveaway)


I am a huge believer in the 80 20 diet for runners of all levels, and 80 Fresh is a fantastic service to help us maintain an 80:20 diet as well as our sanity!

Last day for the Enduropacks Giveaway!

Product was provided for this post by 80 Fresh. All opinions are my own. Also, though I am a Certified Running Coach and Personal Trainer, I am not a registered dietitian or nutritionist, please consult a nutrition professional before making any big changes to your diet.

Approaches to Nutrition for Runners

There are a few approaches to nutrition during marathon training (or other training for other performance goals). As a coach as well as a runner, the 3 that I see most often are:

1) The Free For All-er–Anti Meal Plan, all fun, no rules.

2) The Goody 2 Shoes–Perfect Meal Plan, all rules, no fun.

3) 80 20 Diet Follower–Plan out a few meals a week, rely on guidelines, not rules.

80 20 Diet For Runners

The 80 20 Diet for Runners: why do we recommend this healthy eating approach, how can you make it work for you, and 80 Fresh healthy meal delivery service review! @suzlyfe

Regular readers of the blog will know that I love food. I am like Oprah in the Weight Watchers commercial: I LOVE BREAD CARBS. (Fortunately) I love healthy foods, I am a veggie fiend, and my stomach keeps me from eating too much crap. I make the effort to make the majority of what I eat be as good for me as possible.

But I am not perfect. You better know that I love to go wild on chips and margaritas. Until last December, when a drastic decrease in my activity levels changed my appetite, I had a bowl of ice cream every night. 

Why I recommend the 80 20 Diet Approach

I am a believer in moderation in regular life, training, and nutrition. With regards to developing training plans, I often follow the 80/20 training principles. When consulting with busy clients, I know that they aren’t going to follow the plans that I give them to a t: but I recommend that they try to get in 80% of the work.

On another level: There is a reason that the 20 miler is a standard for certain marathon training plans: 20 miles is approximately 80% of the full marathon distance; if you can run 80% of the distance, you can push through the final 20% (this is, of course, assuming that you aren’t only doing long runs, etc).

With regards to nutrition, I continue to recommend (for clients) and follow (for myself) an 80 20 approach to diet and nutrition. Focusing on getting 80% of your calories from high quality, fresh, and nutrient dense food will fuel you to better runs, quicker recovery, and decreased runger. Leaving the last 20% over to less nutrient dense foods that might, in other words, feed the soul rather than the body, is just as important in helping you to maintain your sanity, enjoy the labors that you are undertaking (the run to eat idea), and get in the calories that you need. 

How about an example? (This is typical for me, but may not be right for you!)

A Day of 80 20 Diet Eating for a Runner


Egg White Protein Oatmeal with Peanut Butter and berries

Starbucks LA Live Breakfast with Clover Coffee and Oats

Carrots, random cereal pieces, a few M&Ms

Midmorning snack (after workout):

Siggi's Icelandic Skyr is the my absolute favorite protein packed snack! @suzlyfe

Plain Greek Yogurt with sweetener or cinnamon + Special K (or other carb)


Super delicious and healthy ham chopped salad from Subway for lunch.

Salad with Protein, Carb, Additional Protein Source (such as yogurt or string cheese); M&Ms or a Hershey’s Kiss


Chocolate of some sort + Snack bar with protein grams > sugar grams or yogurt with carb

Oatmega bars are delicious protein bars with Omega 3 fatty acids! @suzlyfe


Out to dinner? Salad with protein and a generous sampling of whatever Alex (my husband) is having. We usually get a “angel” and a “devil” dish and then share. Likely also sharing a beer. And no, we don’t leave anything behind.

Blaze Pizza signals that I have returned to running!

I’ve also been known to eat an entire pizza. Carbloading for life!

Vegan Gluten Free Savory Oatmeal Patties Recipe over Zoodles for a delicious healthy dinner! |

At home? This can be anything, and I mean anything. When I have more time, I like to get creative and assemble composed dishes, from gluten free chicken parmesan to stuffed peppers (like this past weekend). But this has become a privilege, rather than a rule. We’ll come back to a new solution to that conundrum that in a minute.

After dinner:

Dark Chocolate Crunch Cheerios are addictive! But a great nighttime snack. @suzlyfe Greek yogurt, bowl of cereal, and string cheese (during marathon training, think more along the lines of ice cream than Greek yogurt!)

So this is the dream: eating tons of home-prepared meals, enjoying just enough of the “good” stuff as well as the “good stuff,” and somehow making it all work out while training, working, and keeping up with the rest of life. 

Again, this is the dream. I’m struggling with this life-work-training-food balance, and I’m not even training for a race. So I reached out for help to 80 Fresh.

80 Fresh Review and Giveaway

80 Fresh is a healthy meal delivery service with delicious choices! Find out more at @suzlyfe

I also want to say that my experience with 80 Fresh is a perfect example of why a service like 80 Fresh is so great: we received our meals the weekend that my apartment building went belly up and we couldn’t go grocery shopping! You all know that I am a healthy eating field (by and large), so the fact that I was able to prepare a healthy meal for Alex and myself during the debacle was MUCH appreciated. Now, what about 80 Fresh?

80 Fresh is a new fresh food delivery company that makes possible and enjoyable the 80% healthy part of your diet, so that you have the flexibility to spend the 20% as you choose! Per the website:

80Fresh is founded on the commonly held belief that 80% of success in reaching fitness and health goals is determined by eating habits. We’ll take care of the 80, with pre-portioned, pre-prepped, chef-designed meals that deliver the nutrition you need with the taste and comfort you crave. You’ll enjoy the “Fresh” that comes with our delicious meals – combining the contrasting demands of taste, nutrition, ease, and freshness.

80 Fresh offers both meat eating and vegetarian options made from fresh, minimally processed produce and protein sources. To contribute further to the 80% healthy part of your diet, meals provide two servings of fruits/vegetables, at least one serving of healthy protein, and one serving of a fibrous carb source per meal, portioned be satisfying but appropriate for a healthy diet. Meat and produce are sourced locally as much as possible, and the meat is hormone and antibiotic free. Meal preparation is as streamlined as the ordering process, and foods arrive fresh and ready to be prepared and eaten within the week. This is not a cooking class: 80 Fresh is a solution for those who want to get delicious, healthy, and fresh food on the table without hiring a personal chef. (and yes, nutrition information is provided).

80 Fresh Healthy Meal Delivery comes to your door ready to be cooked for a healthy fresh meal. Perfect for those pressed for time! See the review on @suzlyfe


80 Fresh Healthy Meal Delivery comes to your door ready to be cooked for a healthy fresh meal. Perfect for those pressed for time! See the review on @suzlyfe


I enjoyed the Apple Balsamic Meatloaf, which came with Green Beans and Almonds and Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables.

80 Fresh Apple balsamic meatloaf is a fantastic healthy meal delivered ready to cook! Love the veggie sides! Get the review at @Suzlyfe

I got the Chicken Enchilada Casserole for Alex, who loved the chipotle spiced sauce, chunks of chicken, melted cheese, and dollop of Greek Yogurt!

80 Fresh Chicken Enchilada Casserole is a fantastic healthy meal delivered to your door ready to cook! Get the review at @suzlyfe

Why + how @suzlyfe maintains 80:20 diet as a #runner + @80_fresh #giveaway #runchat Click To Tweet

80 Fresh has graciously offered all Suzlyfe readers a 20% discount off of their order with code SUZ20 (good until 12:00AM Friday April 22) and are giving away a Starter Package (3 meals) to one Suzlyfe reader (giveaway open until 12:00AM Friday April 22). 80 Fresh ships to the majority of the eastern US as well as the Midwest, with rapid expansion! Enter via the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today is also Running Coaches Corner, so link up!

Wahoo! #Running Coaches Corner with @coachdebbieruns @loramarie03 @running_onhappy Click To Tweet

Tell me, how do you approach nutrition? Do you have any cheats or meal delivery services that you rely on for help?

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