A Runner’s Guide to Healthy Snacking

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Nutrition, Slacker's Guide Series
Tags: , , ,
frozen yogurt scale

Frozen yogurt can be a healthy snack.

Whether it’s a 3 p.m. slump or late-night craving, your body knows when you need an energy boost. And since you run and burn more calories per minute than almost all other exercisers, you can eat whatever you want, right? Unfortunately not. But don’t worry, you can still find tasty foods that fill you up, giving you an energy boost for your next run.

Here are some quick tips for healthy snacking:

  • Think like a goat. Go for plant foods of all sorts as they tend to be high in vitamins and nutrients and free of “bad fats” like trans fats and saturated fat. Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies to snack on at home, and carry along seeds, nuts and whole grain snack bars when you’re on the go.
  • Pack up. Stash healthy snacks at work, in your car and in your purse, briefcase or bag. Keeping healthy foods on hand will hold you over between meals and allow you to ditch your vending machine habit or skip the drive-thru fries after work.
  • Eat like a kid. You can still enjoy some sweet treats or junk food favorites once in a while, just in moderation. Have a kid-sized portion by eating just one or two cookies, a small bowl of ice cream or a handful of chips. Allowing yourself to eat some junk food once in a while can satisfy your cravings so you’re less likely to gorge yourself in desperation and then bask in guilt.
  • Substitute. Try low-fat or low-calorie versions of your favorite snacks. If the craving for ice cream hits, go for some fat-free fro-yo topped with fruit. If it’s chips you’re after, try crunching on some whole grain chips, pita chips or homemade popcorn instead.
  • Eat in more than out. Most restaurants have a lot of fat and salt in their food, as it’s mass produced and often not made with low-fat or low-calorie ingredients. There are, of course, healthy options for eating out, but many items you think are healthy often are not. I went through a phase of looking up nutrition information for a lot of restaurants and I was shocked to learn of the high fat content in a Quizno’s veggie sub (31 grams of fat in a small one), for instance. Save yourself some money and excess calories by eating at home as much as possible.
eating at coffee shop

If you eat out, go for small portion sizes and lean meats or veggies.

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