When you hear the word snack, what do you think of… potato chips or carrot sticks? I’m pretty sure most people would say chips. Am I right or am I right? I love chips, they are one of my weaknesses (right up there with French fries), but one cannot snack on potato chips alone. Potato chips are empty calories, meaning they do not provide any nutrients and as athletes (yes you are an athlete if you are running regularly) we need nutrients to keep our bodies at optimum performance. I have compiled a short list of healthy snacks to get you through the day and prepare you for your next run.
– Almonds, cashews and pistachios are the best to choose from. They are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, protein and fiber to help you feel full until your next meal. Nuts are high in calories so a small handful is all you need. I keep a bad of almonds in my purse and a can of mixed nuts in my car. My husband calls me the snack queen. I am rarely without a snack. When buying nuts, choose raw or dry roasted and skip the honey roasted peanuts that are high in sugar. Go to Everyday Health to read the facts about nuts.
-A good snack any time. Apples provide fiber to help you feel full and peanut butter has the protein needed for muscle repair. I love peanut butter!
-Popcorn is a great alternative to potato chips. Low in calories and high in fiber. I like Smartfood delight brand with sea salt. Look for air-popped and avoid added butter varieties.
-A great mid-morning snack. The staple food in the running community. They come pre-packaged and ready to eat! They are filling but easy on the stomach. Perfect for pre-run or post-run. High in potassium, an electrolyte that is crucial to heart function and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function. Potassium is lost with excessive sweating, so a post-run banana helps restore balance.
**Never take potassium supplements without the advice of a doctor** Most people get enough potassium in their diet and too much can be harmful.
-They are the most nutrient dense of all berries containing fiber, vitamin K, C and manganese, as well as the highest amount of antioxidants. Blueberries also may help reduce muscle damage after strenuous exercise. Woohoo! Go to 10 Proven Health Benefits of Blueberries to read more about these little super fruits. I like to eat a small bowl of blueberries in the afternoon for a quick pick me up.
Healthy snacking plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight as well as the energy to remain focused and alert throughout the day. Most of the time if you let yourself get too hungry you are going to eat the first thing you see, which may not be the best choice. Have healthy snacks readily available so they are easy to choose. I rarely go anywhere without a snack in my purse (just ask my family , they tease me all the time). Although they are pretty quiet when they are hungry and I hand them a string cheese 🙂
Do you have a favorite snack? Post it in the comment section below to share.
**I am not a nutritionist. I am a runner who reads a lot of stuff in magazines and on the internet. I share what I find to be relevant and true, and what works for me. Always follow your doctors advice if you have any dietary restrictions.**
Thanks for reading!