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As a hard-charging triathlete, you probably spend a big chunk of your time planning (and anticipating!) your diet, including your next meal or snack. Having a food plan that is time-efficient and can healthfully satiate your appetite is key. This seven-day plan takes the guesswork out of mealtime and can help you happily eat your way to an ideal race weight.
The Meal Plan
This seven-day plan is designed for one person, but it’s easy to adjust to the number of people eating. Meals were envisioned with leftovers in mind to save you time and money on ingredients for successive meals. The portions can vary from person to person but are estimated for someone who is about 130–160 pounds. The idea behind this meal plan is to fill you up with large portions of seasonal produce, making that at least half your plate in most cases. The other half is made up of protein and carbohydrates. If you need larger portions, try adding more produce or protein first, and if you need less, take away small amounts of the carbohydrates and/or protein.
Triathlete Diet: Day 1
– 1 cup quinoa breakfast cereal
Cook 1½ cups quinoa with 2½ cups unsweetened almond milk, 2 tablespoons agave and 1 teaspoon vanilla (makes 2 servings).
– ½ cup Greek yogurt
– 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
– 1 turkey burger
Grate 1 onion into 20 ounces 93 percent lean ground turkey, with 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon each cumin and chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper (makes 4 servings).
– 1 cup sautéed chard
– 2/3 cup brown rice
– Turkey tacos
Crumble one turkey burger into 2 corn tortillas, top with sautéed chard, fresh salsa and avocado.
Triathlete Diet: Day 2
– 1 cup quinoa breakfast cereal (use other serving from Day 1)
– ½ cup Greek yogurt
– Sliced persimmon and 1 T nuts
– 1 turkey burger on whole-wheat bun or bread
– Top with whole-grain mustard and pile high with favorite veggies.
– 5 ounces baked salmon
Place two 5-ounce pieces salmon into foil with sliced lemon and orange, wrap tightly and bake 15–20 minutes at 400 degrees (makes 2 servings).
– 2/3 cup quinoa
– ½ cup each roasted carrots and broccoli rabe
Tip: If you simply don’t have the time to prepare the whole menu fresh, fill in with store-bought items, like pre-made brown rice, already prepared chicken or fish, or grilled veggies from the deli. Don’t be afraid to modify or swap ingredients—the menu is just a guideline for the general amounts of macronutrients recommended.
Triathlete Diet: Day 3
– Turkey scramble wrap
Scramble 2 eggs with remaining turkey burger (crumbled), and ½ cup seasonal veggies. Serve in whole-wheat or corn tortillas.
– Salmon bowl
Combine other serving of salmon with 2/3 cup brown rice, ½ cup each roasted carrots and broccoli rabe, and 2 tablespoons favorite Asian sauce.
– 5 ounces herb grilled chicken
Marinate four 5-ounce pieces of chicken breast with chopped parsley, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill or roast chicken (makes 4 servings).
– 1 cup roasted butternut squash
– 1 cup roasted Brussels sprouts
Triathlete Diet: Day 4
– Granola parfait
Layer ½ cup granola with 1 cup Greek yogurt, kiwi and pomegranate seeds.
– Fig salad
Toss 2 cups mixed greens with 2 fresh figs (sliced), 2 tablespoons goat cheese and 1 tablespoon pecans. Top with 1 leftover chicken breast; serve with whole-grain roll.
– Kale pesto
Combine ¼ cup prepared pesto with 1 cup sautéed kale in a blender. Toss with 2 cups cooked pasta and 1½ cups choice of roasted/steamed vegetables, and top with sliced leftover chicken breast (makes 2 servings).
Triathlete Diet: Day 5
– Sweet potato hash
Sauté 1 cup diced sweet potatoes/yams with ½ cup each diced carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, salt and pepper. Then scramble with 4 eggs and toss with freshly diced green onion (2 servings).
– Remaining serving of kale pesto from Day 4
– 5 ounces grilled sirloin
– 1 cup baked sweet potato or yam fries
Give your yams or sweet potatoes a good scrub, then cut them lengthwise into ½-inch fry-like pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt, bake on a sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray at 425 degrees for 10 minutes per side.
– 1 cup sautéed carrots, mushrooms, broccoli and chard (or choice vegetable mixture)
Tip: Train in the morning? A hearty breakfast ensures you use those necessary calories to fuel your effort. A post-workout snack is integral for recovery and satiating hunger. Taper your lunch and then dinner, as fewer calories will be needed during those meals.
Triathlete Diet: Day 6
– Remaining serving of sweet potato hash
– Rotisserie chicken, cranberry and kale wrap
Toss 1 cup kale with juice of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons prepared low-sugar whole cranberry sauce, and let sit 20 minutes. Serve in a whole-wheat wrap with ½ cup rotisserie chicken breast.
– Farro, cauliflower and cranberry bowl
Combine 2 cups roasted cauliflower, 1 cup chopped kale and 2 cups cooked farro. Toss ¼ cup prepared cranberry sauce, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley and 1 tablespoon olive oil with remaining rotisserie chicken breast. Add this to the farro, veggie mixture (makes 2 servings).
Triathlete Diet: Day 7
– 1 cup farro porridge
Cook ½ cup farro with 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk, 2 teaspoons real maple syrup and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
– ½ cup plain or Greek yogurt
– 2 T nuts
– Remaining serving of farro, cauliflower and cranberry bowl
– Fish pocket
Place 6 ounces white fish (such as halibut, tilapia, sea bass) on a large piece of foil or parchment paper. Cover with 2/3 cup sliced fennel and leeks, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold sides of foil or parchment up and pour ¼ cup white wine in for steaming. Cover completely and bake at 400 degrees for 15–20 minutes.
– 1 cup turnip purée
Boil 1 small (peeled and diced) turnip and rutabaga until soft. Drain in colander, pressing any remaining water out. Combine (in food processer or blender) with 1 tablespoon light sour cream, 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Serve fish and broth over the top.
– ½ cup choice steamed veggies
Triathlete Diet: Snack Smart
What to eat between meals
– Cut up jicama and cucumber, squeeze fresh lime juice and sprinkle salt and chili powder on top.
– Make deviled eggs by combining hard-boiled egg yolks with a dollop of Greek yogurt, capers, dill and chives.
– Keep smoked salmon on hand to nosh on with cut-up veggies or rice crackers.
– Soften half an apple or pear in the microwave for 90 seconds to 2 minutes and top with Greek yogurt, cinnamon and a sprinkle of nuts.
– Try one of the new nitrate- and/or gluten-free jerkies or savory meat bars.
– Grill a batch of veggies to keep in the fridge (try zucchini, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli rabe/rapini).
– Make a tray of persimmon, grape, feta and basil skewers for a refreshing sweet-savory snack.
– Whip up chia pudding by combining ¼ cup chia seeds with 1 cup almond milk and 2 percent Greek yogurt (each), and choice of sweetener. Let sit overnight, divide by four, and top with pomegranate seeds, kiwis or persimmons, and nuts.
– Satisfy a salt craving with a serving of stone ground or blue corn chips with fresh salsa and a ¼ cup guacamole.
– Slice up fresh figs and pair with a dollop of part-skim ricotta and a drizzle of honey.
– Toast an English muffin and top with almond butter, banana and agave.
– Curb hunger with a brown rice sushi roll.
– Make your own trail mix with your favorite assortment of nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate chips.
– Use whole-wheat tortillas to make turkey/roast beef and cheese roll-ups.