An award-winning nutritionist, health writer and former bodybuilding champion, Anita specialises in offering nutritional advise to athletes of all levels. She aims to motivate and inspire people to lead a healthier life through my books,...

Sports nutritionist Anita Bean has devised an eating plan for before and after a moderate walk to help sustain your workout

We’re not saying it’s necessary to weigh out every meal and snack from here on in, but once you’ve seen the specific quantities, you’ll get to know what a healthy portion looks like.

The activity


2-3hr walking at a constant moderate pace (3-5mph/4.8km/h)

Raise your walking pace from a leisurely 2mph to a brisk 3.5mph and you’ll increase your calorie burn by more than a third
Your weight = 60kg | Calories burned in 3hr = 760
Your weight = 80kg | Calories burned in 3hr = 960

1-2hr before your walk

For a brisk walk of over 2 hr your muscles need to be charged. Eat a lunch that’s slightly bigger than usual, which provides slow-release carbs and a moderate amount of protein:

Your weight = 60kg | Ideal intake = 90g carbs & 25g protein
200g jacket potato + ¾ large tin reduced sugar and salt baked beans + 25g reduced-fat cheese + salad

Your weight = 80kg | Ideal intake = 120g carbs & 25g protein
300g jacket potato + 1 large tin reduced sugar and salt baked beans + 25g reduced-fat cheese + salad

what to eat before a walk

During your walk

Snacking on around 15–30g easily digested carbohydrates will provide a quick boost and increase your stamina. Try a banana, 6 dried apricots,
a Nakd Bar or an Eat Natural cereal bar.

Within 1hr of completing your walk

At the end of a long walk, your body will need to replenish its energy stores before the next meal. Eating a moderate amount of protein and carbs will help your body recover faster:

Your weight = 60kg | Ideal intake = 20g carbs & 5-10g protein
150g low-fat fruit yogurt
1 Nature Valley Protein Bar

Your weight = 80kg | Ideal intake = 25g carbs & 10g protein
200g low-fat fruit yogurt
1 Nature Valley Protein Bar

Do I need special drinks?

If you’re exercising for less than 1 hr, drink only water. There’s no need for branded ‘sports’ drinks, which may contain huge quantities of sugar.

If you’re exercising at a moderate-high intensity for longer than this (around 2–3 hr), you may want to drink diluted squash (1 part cordial to 6 parts water) to fuel your muscles with carbohydrates, as well as replace fluids.

If you’re exercising in hot or humid conditions, or for longer than 2 hr, a sports drink may be a good idea. These drinks contain sodium, which will help your body to retain water while exercising and replace salt lost through sweat, as well as carbohydrates for an energy boost.

Going for the burn?

Anita’s book, Food for Fitness 4th Edition (Bloomsbury Sport, £16.99), is a handy guide for anyone who’s taking their exercise plan to a new level. As well as dispelling popular myths, she shares the latest nutrition research for performance, giving you the tools to reach your peak. Plus find 65 delicious recipes, as well as sport-specific menu plans.