|So how can you get through your workout without keeling over from hunger? Have a snack, of course.|
|Your training plan may say it’s time for your lunchtime five-miler, but your grumbling stomach begs to differ. So how can you get through your workout without keeling over from hunger? Have a snack, of course.
“The right snack can prevent premature fatigue on a run and keep blood-sugar levels steady, thwarting cranky moods that might cause you to peter out early,” says sports dietitian Jan Dowell, M.S., R.D. She recommends eating up to 150 calories if you’re running within 15 to 30 minutes and as much as 300 calories if you have an hour or more to digest.
And, yes, it’s okay to have a nibble if you’re trying to lose weight, just keep it on the lighter side. These options contain carbohydrates for quick energy, a bit of protein to hold off hunger, and some electrolytes to keep your fluid levels balanced (it’s best to avoid too much fat and fiber, which take longer to digest and can spell GI trouble).
Best of all, these snacks take little or no prep, so you can grab a bite and go (if you’re craving for more than just a snack, try these Portable Meals You Can Take To Go).
Running in 15 to 30 Minutes
Stick with whole fruit. Orange juice is a very concentrated source of sugar, supplying too many carbs at once, and drinking a lot of it may upset your stomach during a run. If eating whole fruit bores you, try spicing it up with these fun and healthy ways to enjoy fruit.
Running in 30 to 60 Minutes
Forget the Kashi GoLean before lacing up. While high-fiber cereals are a healthy bet any other time of day, they’ll likely cause stomach trouble during a run.
Eat it plain or pour it in milk, your choice. Top with half a cup of sliced strawberries or bananas for an extra kick of carbs and vitamins.
Dried fruit can have up to three times the calories of fresh, so stick to a quarter cup serving. Don’t like dates? Try dried apricots, mangoes, cherries, or, Dowell’s favorite, blueberry-flavored dried cranberries.
A quick, drive-through option, Frappuccinos, iced lattes, and similar cold coffee beverages provide liquid to hydrate you while also cooling you down before a warm workout. The milk provides some protein, while the caffeine can improve your focus during a run. A recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology also found that caffeine delays muscle fatigue during intense workouts.
Frappes can have around 100 calories, or 500. At Starbucks, order a tall (12-oz.) unsweetened coffee Frappuccino with fat-free milk for 160 calories. Skip the whipped cream.
Running in 60 to 90 Minutes
Pick up handy single-serve cups, like Sabra Hummus Singles. A few whole-grain crackers or a wheat pita are other smart dunkables.
High in carbs, sweet spuds provide long-lasting energy for your run, says Lewin. One has 230 percent of your daily need for vitamin A, key for a strong immune system. The skin contains soluble fiber, which, according to a study in Obesity, can help reduce belly fat when paired with exercise. But if you eat it, give yourself an hour or more to digest before running.
Microwave a small sweet potato at home, wrap it up, and take to work. Reheat in a microwave. “It’s also just as tasty cold,” Lewin says.