As a runner, I get hungry…a lot. I like to be prepared with lots of easy-to-grab, healthy snacks so I get more nutrients, as opposed to empty calories, and keep myself from going overboard.
If you’re looking for some convenient and healthy snacks for in between meals and runs, here are some that are easy to stash in your purse, gym bag, car, or desk.
1. Bananas are packed with simple sugar that’s easily digested, making them a great pre-run snack.
You’ll also get potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps.
2. Whole wheat crackers and string cheese are a nutritious combo that will help zap your in-between-meals hunger. The crackers provide fiber and good carbs, while the cheese offers protein and calcium.
3. Unsalted pistachios contain protein, so they’ll help you feel fuller. Just don’t go overboard, since nuts contain a lot of fat. A bag of 25 dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios is about 100 calories and should be enough to curb hunger when it hits.
4. Granola, cereal, or fruit and nut bars make great on-the-go snacks because they’re packed with healthy benefits of whole grains, fiber, and vitamins, and they’re easy to throw in your purse or gym bag. But make sure you check the ingredients list since some bars have lots of added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Look for organic bars with no additional sugar added. My personal favorites are KIND bars and Luna bars.
5. Plain popcorn is a better choice than pretzels or potato chips because it’s a source of whole grains and has similar nutritional benefits as brown rice. Popcorn is also full of fiber, so even a 100-calorie serving (about 3 cups) will help you feel satisfied.
6. Beef jerky is a convenient source of lean protein, it has minimal fat, and it’s fairly salty, which replenishes electrolytes lost during a run. And it’s a tasty alternative for those looking to expand their healthy snack options beyond the usual carb snacks.
7. Trail mix is made from a variety of nuts, which are a great source of protein and fiber, and something sweet such as raisins. 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.
8. Grapes give you a lot of bang for your buck, since about 28 grapes equals 100 calories. For a refreshing summer snack, put them in the freezer for at least 2 hours before eating.
9. Chocolate milk is the perfect post-run drink, as it contains the optimal ratio (3 to 1) of carbs to protein that runners should seek in a recovery drink or food. Enjoy 6 to 8 ounces of skim or low-fat chocolate milk for a satisfying, refreshing snack.
10. Salted nuts and pretzels are a great snack option after a run, when you want to replace that salt you lost through sweat. A handful should be enough to satisfy your hunger – and your salt craving.
Also see: How to Stop Late-Night Snacking