Healthy snacks for runners

Pre- and post-running snacks.

As the weather is starting to warm up, more and more runners get to run at their favorite parks or simply on roadsides. Food is important for both professional runners and amateur runners. Food is like fuel—the better fuel you put in your body, the better your body will perform. While getting your daily physical activity, what snacks can you eat before running for an energy-boost and after running for recovery? Michigan State University Extension recommends some healthy snacks for all runners.

Before the run

Before running, it is important to boost your blood glucose levels and muscle carbohydrate storage. Not only can a healthy pre-run snack help delay fuel depletion during running, but also prevent hunger. MSU Extension suggests you try these healthy pre-run snacks:

  • Bananas: they are loaded with good carbohydrates and vitamin B6. Blend a banana into a fruit smoothie for a tasty pre-run beverage.
  • Cereal with skim milk: Try topping your cereal with fresh, sliced fruit. This combination can provide you with essential vitamins and minerals while satisfying your sweet tooth. For a healthier option, choose cereals that have five grams of fiber or more per serving.
  • Fruit yogurt: like milk, yogurt provides plenty of calcium, protein and potassium, while being low in fat. Yogurt is highly digestible, which makes it a perfect pre-run snack.

After the run

  • Chocolate milk: a glass of cold chocolate milk helps hydrate your body after the run while providing protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins.
  • Granola bars: This post-run, low calorie snack not only satisfies your sweet cravings, but also fuels you with B vitamins and iron.
  • Hummus on wheat crackers: this is a filling post-run snack, providing you with protein, fiber, vitamin B6 and folic acid.

MSU Extension offers education programs where you can learn about preparing healthy snacks and reading nutrition labels when grocery shopping. For more information, visit msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/nutrition.

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