Healthy snacking is an essential part of a runner’s diet. According to sports nutritionists, the right snacks can help runners fuel their workouts, aid in muscle recovery, and maintain overall health. Here are some great snack options for runners:
Bananas: Bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrates, which provide energy during runs. They also contain vitamin B6, essential for protein metabolism, and potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps. You can enjoy bananas before, during, or after exercise, blended into a smoothie, or frozen and whipped with milk for a recovery shake.
Carrots: Low-calorie and filling, carrots are a great snack for runners watching their weight. They contain carotene and vitamin A, which promote eye health and immune function. Eat them before dinner to avoid overindulging, or at night when you want something to munch on without extra calories.
Cereal with milk: Most cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals and make a quick, easily digestible snack. Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and add fresh fruit on top for extra nutrients. Cereal is suitable as a pre-run snack, a post-run pick-me-up, or as trail mix during a long, easy run.
Chocolate milk: Chocolate milk is a favorite among runners for its hydrating properties and balanced nutrition. It contains carbohydrates, protein, and B vitamins, which help with muscle recovery, and calcium, which strengthens bones. Enjoy an ice-cold shot of chocolate milk as a reward after a hot summer run.
Cottage cheese: Packed with protein, cottage cheese is an excellent snack for muscle rebuilding and repair. It also provides calcium for bone health. Eat it with fruit after a workout or race, but avoid it just before running.
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Dried apricots and plums: Dried apricots are low-fat and high-carbohydrate, providing fiber, vitamin A, and potassium. Dried plums (prunes) contain no fat and are packed with carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium. Both snacks are suitable any time, but avoid dried plums just before running, as they can act as a laxative.
Energy bars: Designed specifically for runners, energy bars come in high-carb, low-carb, or protein-plus options and are tasty and convenient. Enjoy them before a race, during a marathon, or after a race.
Yogurt with fruit: Yogurt is a great source of calcium, protein, and potassium and is low in fat and high in carbohydrates. The live and active cultures in yogurt boost the immune system. Enjoy it any time, but avoid flavored yogurt with added sugar.
Muesli bars: Low-kilojoule muesli bars are a sweet snack alternative to chocolate bars and contain B vitamins and iron. Enjoy them as an occasional treat.
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Edamame: Soybeans in any form provide high-quality protein, iron, B vitamins, and heart-healthy isoflavones, which boost bone health and lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. Enjoy edamame after a workout or as a filling afternoon snack.
Hummus and wheat crackers: This filling snack provides protein, fiber, vitamin B6, and folic acid. Hummus is an excellent mid-morning or afternoon snack and a healthful alternative to fried party snacks.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal helps lower cholesterol and provides carbohydrates for energy and alertness. It’s an excellent pre-race food or a hearty breakfast option.
Remember to eat snacks every three hours spread over sixteen waking hours to keep your body fueled and healthy.