While many of us run purely to get fit and burn calories, eating the right food can be critical in getting the best out of your training. A great way to stay on track with your diet is to consume healthy snacks throughout the day, and both before and after a run.
Sports Dietitian John Swale, said: “The right snack can prevent premature fatigue on a run and can help keep blood-sugar levels steady, stopping bad moods that may cause you to tire out early”.
With this in mind, and with the help of several specialists in the field of health and nutrition, we’ve put together a list of the best and most healthy running snacks:
Porridge is the perfect snack for before a race, but it’s also good for whenever you wake up feeling hungry and ready for a hearty breakfast. Dietitian Roanna Freeman, said: “Porridge is a great way to start the day as it will make you feel fuller for longer meaning you are less likely to snack throughout the day.” Studies have shown that a bowl of porridge helps lower cholesterol, and it will also fill you with plenty of carbohydrates to boost energy and alertness.
Calories: 250kcal per bowl made from 45g dry oats and semi-skimmed milk
Honeyed banana and dried fruit porridge
2) Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
Low in fat and fairly high in carbohydrates, yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein and potassium. Its live and active cultures are good for the digestive system, and the fruit provides a variety of potassium and vitamins.
Calories: 250kcal per 200g of low-fat yoghurt and handful of fresh fruit
Bananas provide both carbohydrates and potassium, which help prevent muscle cramps. They’re easy to digest because of the simple sugars and low amount of fibre, making it the ideal pre-run snack (though make sure you give yourself at least 90 minutes to digest before running). Banana chips are also great to take on long runs for energy boosts.
Calories: 105kcal per medium-sized banana, 150kcal per handful of banana chips
Banana – the perfect running snack
Smoothies are packed full of calcium, potassium and vitamins C and A when made with fruit such as bananas orange juice and frozen berries. Smoothies can work well for breakfast, before a run, or as a refreshing, re-energising post-run treat.
Calories: Approximately 200kcal per 350ml
Ingredients for fruit smoothie
Though fairly low in calories, carrots are filling, making them an ideal snack for runners who are trying to loose weight. A great time to eat them is just before dinner, so you can satisfy your hunger, and avoid over-eating during the meal.
Calories: 30-40kcal per medium-sized carrot
6) Cereal bars
When you need a snack that’s easy to pack in your gym bag, cereal bars are a great option and work well as a pre-run snack (though make sure you eat it over 90 minutes before you plan to run). Be careful when selecting your cereal bars as some can contain as much fat and sugar as chocolate bars – choose ones with just a few ingredients, so you know they’re not filled with unnecessary additives.
Calories: From around 110kcal per 30g bar
7) Hummus and Pitta bread
Hummus and pitta bread is packed with protein, fibre, vitamin B6 and folic acid (but be careful: hummus can have up to 27.9g of fat per 100g, even though it’s almost all the ‘healthy’ kind). Hummus works well as a substantial mid-morning or afternoon snack, and can also work well as a healthier evening alternative to peanuts or other fried party snacks.
Calories: 280kcal per three tablespoons of hummus and one pitta
Homemade chilli hummus and pitta
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