One of the benefits of running is that you can get away with eating sweets and other high-calorie snacks in your diet every so often. You'll definitely run and feel better, though, when you're eating healthful, nutritious foods, including snacks. So the next time you're reaching for that bag of potato chips or a package of Oreos, consider one of these healthful snacks instead:
Apple slices with peanut butter
Everyone knows apples are good for you, but they're not always, well, satisfying. Try eating apple slices with a little bit of peanut butter, which is a great source of healthful fat and protein. Opt for all-natural peanut butter to steer clear of added sugar and hydrogenated oils.
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit
Low in fat and fairly high in carbohydrates, yogurt is also an excellent source of calcium, protein and potassium. Its live and active cultures are good for the digestive system.
Whole wheat crackers and string cheese
The string cheese and crackers combo is a nutritious way to curb your in-between-meals hunger. The crackers provide fiber and good carbs, while the cheese offers protein and calcium.
You'll get carbs from bananas as well as potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps. The simple sugars and low amount of fiber make bananas especially easy to digest, which means they're a good pre-run snack
(just make sure you still give yourself at least 90 minutes to digest before running after eating).
Energy or cereal bars
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When you need a snack that's easy to pack in your gym bag, cereal or energy bars can be a healthful option. Just be careful when selecting your bars — some of them contain as much fat and sugar as candy bars! Choose bars with just a few ingredients, so you know they're not filled with unnecessary additives. Kind bars
are a nutritious and tasty options. There are dozens of flavors to choose from and they're made from all-natural ingredients.
Photo courtesy of Starbucks
Mix 1/2 cup of skim milk or juice, a banana, and frozen strawberries (or other fruits you love) in a blender for a tasty and refreshing smoothie.
Trail mix is made from different kinds of nuts, which are a great source of protein and fiber, and something sweet such as raisins or chocolate chips. Pre-packaged trail mix can be expensive, so many runners like to save money
by making their own mix with their favorite nuts, dry cereal, and dried fruits.
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Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins — making it a great recovery drink
. Cold chocolate milk tastes pretty refreshing after a run. Another benefit: The calcium will help keep your bones strong.
Carrots fill you up but are low in calories, making them a great snack for runners who are trying to lose weight or maintain their current weight. A great time to eat them is when you're hungry before dinner, so you can satisfy your hunger pangs and avoid overeating during dinner.
As long as it's not loaded with butter, oil, sugar, or loads of salt, air-popped popcorn can be a healthy, low-cal snack. Corn kernels are a whole grain, so they have similar nutritional benefits to brown rice or whole wheat bread. Popcorn is also full of fiber, so even a 100-calorie serving (about 3 cups) will help you feel fuller longer.