A while back nuts.com reached out to me to see if I was interested in doing a post on healthy snacking for runners. The first time was the wrong time — it was the end of the year and I was just exhausted with everything going on with Chester.
I kept thinking I should reply, but you know how when it gets too long you just get sort of paralyzed? They reached out to me again, and this time I bit. I, of course, had visions of free snacks showing up in my mail box.
They just wanted me to link to their information. At first I was miffed, but then I reconsidered. The truth was this was actually a topic I had already slated for today’s post. When I perused their information on snacking, I knew it was good information to share. Plus by receiving nothing but a shout out (I hope), I can retain my objectivity.
How to snack right
I’m not a nutritionist or a dietitian, nor do I play one of the internet. But nutrition does fascinate me, and along with physical therapist, holistic nutritionist (or health coach) is a career I sometimes dream about. Until I wake up and realize I like my life! And science is not my thing.
You do not need a snack before every workout. Sorry to burst your bubble. I touched on that briefly in if I could turn back time, part 2. If you’ve had a decent sized meal 2-3 hours before a workout/run, you should be good to go. I’m lucky I try to time my workouts so that I don’t have to snack beforehand, but there are times I do — like yesterday, when I rushed home from a meeting and prayed I could outrun the rain (I mostly did). But it had also been 5 hours since breakfast and I had 5 miles on the schedule. I knew I needed to grab a bite before heading out.
If I am snacking before a run of say 5+ miles, I’m going to go for more carbs, light on the protein and fats. It could just be a couple of dates with a little almond butter and sea salt. Or a dark chocolate rice cake with a little nut butter. A banana with some nut butter and granola. Or even just a piece of ezekiel bread toast with a little nut butter.
Today we’re talking postrun snacks, though, and for postrun, you need some carbs and some protein. Supposedly the magic numbers are within 15-30 minutes after your workout (there’s a lot of debate on that), and a 4:1 ration of carbs to protein. So if your snack has 4 gm carbs in it, for instance, you only need 1 gm of protein.
Protein helps you recover faster from your workouts and helps to rebuild those muscles. Without a snack, your next run may not feel so good. If it’s a shorter run/workout (anything less than an hour, for instance) you might not need a snack at all. This article from Runner’s World explains it better than I can.
I like to always make sure I get some carbs in pretty soon after I finish, so I usually carry some gogosqueez (applesauce in a pouch) with me. Or I might have a banana waiting in my bag. That way I know I’ve had some carbs to tide me over until I can actually eat a snack, if I need one.
When perusing the nuts.com Website, I immediately went straight to the article Healthy Snacks for Runners. Then, of course, I had to look at Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks. I also took a look at High-Protein Snacks. And I tried a couple of recipes.
Without further ado, let’s get to the food!
No Bake Granola Bars
There is something to love about throwing a bunch of ingredients into a bowl, mixing it all together, and voila! Home made granola bars.
I made this recipe from nuts.com, with just a few modifications, and they past my taste test, and more importantly, Mr. Judy’s taste test. I eat them after a long run sometimes, and I give them to Mr. Judy for breakfast sometimes.
I cut them into smaller bars; they are bordering more on a meal replacement bar than an energy bar, but after a decent run I’ll polish them off. Highly recommend!
Hummus/cheese with Mary’s Gone Crackers
I won’t lie: I like my snacks sweet.
Which is exactly why sometimes I force myself to go with something savory instead.
So getting back to those sweets . . . is it any wonder that my protein bars/cookies board on Pinterest is my largest board? One of these days I’m going to break it down into several boards!
This is one of my favorite ball recipes because it’s simple and not overly sweet. I made these and brought them to my race to share last weekend, and they were good, too. And for a special treat (also after the race), these protein peanut butter cups were a hit, too. I used mini muffin liners instead of making larger peanut butter cups.
I’m particularly found of balls because:
- Usually no bake
- Portion contol
You do have to be careful to not consume too many. I used to make these brownie balls that were like crack — I just couldn’t control myself around them. I will usually have 2-3 balls postrun/workout.
Greek yogurt topped with protein brownies
I haven’t done this one in a while, mainly because except for a few days here and there, it’s been on the cool side. That and I’m still working hard on those last few pounds. This is a great postrun snack, but it’s a little too easy to get carried away with it.
You know those froyo shops where you can pile on the toppings? One day it occurred to me why not do it with greek yogurt. With my own healthy, home made stuff. It’s divine!
So I’ll take some greek yogurt, add some berries, crumple some protein brownies/cookies/balls over it, and maybe sprinkle on a little home made granola, too. And sometimes mix a little PB2 with some chocolate protein powder and a little water to make a fudge sauce.
It can really be addicting!
Not something I’m doing right now, for the most part — again, I just don’t crave smoothies when it’s cold out.
But smoothies are fast and easy, and you can also make them up ahead of time. Sometimes after a long/hard run, I am just not hungry, but I know that I need something to restock my glycogen and stave off the rungries. My favorite combination is chocolate cherry banana.
I tried this Matcha Green Tea Smoothie from nuts.com one day. Let’s just say it was a bit strong, despite my adjusting the ingredients slightly, and I really think it would benefit from the addition of a frozen banana, not to mention I just forgot the almond flour altogether.But I’m intrigued, and if it ever warms up, I’m going to play around with it again.
In this instance, I sipped on it while I was working out, which I like to do sometimes. I wasn’t running, I was doing some circuit training, so instead of sipping on water, I sipped on this smoothie.
It has potential. Just as many of the recipes from the nuts.com blog have potential!
What do you eat/drink after a run?