3 Essential Snacking Tips for Runners
If you are a runner wanting to train strong, run fast, build lean muscle and shed fat, it is necessary to keeping your metabolism going all day long. Generally I recommend my runners eat 3 macro balanced meals per day plus snacks in between as hungry. Yes, even before bed. In theory, this is simple and easy: eat 3 balanced meals per day with snacks in between when you are hungry.
Unfortunately very few people do it right, resulting in frustrating sugar cravings and weight gain despite running and running and running.
The content of your meals and snacks is of utmost importance. If you’re eating the wrong thing potentially every 2-3 hours then it’s easy to gain weight quickly, rather than what you want, which is to drop fat and boost your running performance.
Let's jump into my 3 Essential Snacking Tips for Runners to keep you on track, yoru sugar cravings down and yoru body burning fat all day long…
Snacking Tip #1: Watch out for added sugar.
Sugar is the biggest problem when it comes to fattening snacks, and so this needs to be the number one nutrient that you check. Your frequent snacks should contain very little, or zero, added sugars.
This is a pet peeve that I have: many ‘health’ foods have massive amounts of added sugars, which will destroy your results. Items like protein bars, jerky, dried fruit, green juice, and trail mix often have added sugars and preservatives that you need to watch out for and avoid. High sugar content drinks are THE WORST! Skip the frozen mocha frapuchino and grab a cold lemon water instead.
Your snacks should have little to zero added sugars, contain real food and they should be a nice blend of protein, fiber, healthy fat and complex carbohydrates.
Snacking Tip #2: Stop grazing between scheduled meals and snacks
You will literally save HUNDREDS of wasted empty calories by eating 3 balanced meals per day and sticking to eating only when you are hungry between those meals. Food is everywhere and those random donuts, kids scraps and office treats that come across your path constantly throughout the day are adding hundreds of usually empty calories to your total daily caloric intake. It is so easy to graze mindlessly ALL DAY and usually what you are grazing on is straight carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are sugars and your body will react to all sugar the same way. It releases insulin. What happens to all those extra calories then? That insulin release tells yoru body to store those empty caloires as fat.
So when you are mindlessly snacking on carbohydrate rich junk food all day without the fat and protein to go with it, you are constantly putting your body into fat storage mode. And the cravings are intense.
Stick to your planned meals and snacks every 2 - 4 hours, allow your body to feel hungry, tune into that and eat real meals balanced with a protein, fat and carbohydrate and power snacks that you plan and prepare for. Seriously, this is game changing.
Snacking Tip #3: Homemade and made-in-nature are best.
As convenient as packaged health snacks are, you will always see better results by eating whole foods found in nature, or snacks that you’ve made at home with real food ingredients. Even the healthiest packaged protein bar from the store is going to contain preservatives and additives that are completely avoided in homemade foods.
A handful of raw nuts, a piece of fruit with fresh nut butter, a hard boiled egg, a homemade fitness muffin (recipe below), some chicken breast on veggies or chopped flank steak on a salad are all better options than any packaged snack.
When possible, stick with whole foods found in nature and snacks and meals that you make at home.
Here are my 3 fav power workout snack recipes to refuel after a tough HIIT session or to have prepared and ready to go to snack on during my busy days:
- Pumpkin Hemp Muffins
- Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Energy Bites
- Raw Energy Chocolate, Cashew and Almond Bars
Do you struggle with sugar cravings? Want to know what super foods I keep my kitchen stocked up with to power up my workouts and maximize my recover? Grab the Super Foods Guide for Runners HERE. These are simple foods packed with power that you can pretty much find at any local grocery store!
Do you want to get your nutrition under control and build a super fit, strong and healthy runners body that is building fitness, burning fat and feeling awesome??? You need to know about the Runners Week Metabolic Reboot that I created. It is a 6 week training program for female runners who want to go from exhausted, sugar craving, stuck in a fitness plateau and holding weight to energized, nourished, speedy and pro fat burning. In the program you’ll learn how to pair specific strength building workouts with the most effective yet simple macro nutrition strategies for ultimate fat loss and a serious boost to your running fitness. My clients love the Metabolic Reboot because they truly can feel themselves building fit ,strong and healthy bodies that are getting super fit, burning fat and feeling amazing in a way no other program has ever done for them before. Click here for more information! the next round is starting open.
XOXO - Carey
Physiotherapist and Founder of RunningMoms