Amazing Snack Ideas for Busy Runners
When life gets busy and hectic, it can be difficult to make quality nutrition a priority. For many of us who are juggling work, school, family, social calendars, the kids’ soccer practices, and ballet recitals, and just trying to keep up with the household chores, our daily runs are the only window of time we have to ourselves. These runs are not just meant to help us stay fit and have lower resting heart rates and better vital signs; they are sometimes the only thing that is keeping us from completely losing our mental sanity! When life gets that busy, we often forego taking care of ourselves as we strive to take care of everyone else around us. But it is critical that we do not let our busy lives overrun our dedication to eating well (and eating enough!). You care about what your child eats, and you likely go to great lengths to make sure what is in their lunchbox each day is healthy, satisfying, and nutritious – and enough to fuel their little bodies for a day full of work and play. The same should go for you! Your body is a machine, and with a crazy schedule, you desperately need it to operate as efficiently and functionally as possible (especially when sleep has been sacrificed!). But we get it… between the kids’ peanut butter, raisin, and celery “Ants on a Log” to coming up with fun after-school treats to celebrate an excellent report card, you do not have the time or mental energy to make sure that your own body and running is properly fueled! Fortunately, we have a list of easy and delicious snacks for busy runners on the go.
Before you write this one off as being a snack for bodybuilders and meathead gym rats and skip down to the next snack, hear us out. Protein shakes are no longer the after-lift calorie bomb that you associated with muscle-bound, ferocious bald men (sorry for the stereotype…). When using the right kind of protein, liquid, and add-ins, they can be the perfect calorie amount for a snack, but keep you full in between meals while providing an extremely well-balanced ratio of macronutrients. First, find a powdered protein mix that you like. Whether that means a plant-based protein source or a protein made out of whey and casein, what matters is that YOU like the taste. Aim for a protein that has 80 to 130 calories per scoop. Then mix that with low-calorie nut milk, like almond or cashew milk. (Why not just skim? That’s fine if that’s what you want – but we suggest nut milk because it will give you a dose of healthy fats without added calories. If you’re not calorie counting, then, by all means, go for the 1%, 2%, or whole dairy-based milk selection!) Now you can be creative. If you think you’ll be filled and satiated with just a milk and protein mixture, stir that bad boy up and get moving! However, you might want to add in some peanut butter for extra healthy fats, fruit for carbs, and some chia seeds to help thicken it up for a few hours (to a yummy milkshake consistency!). Not only are protein shakes a great option from a nutritional standpoint, but they can easily be thrown together the night before and stored in the fridge until you’re ready. And if you need to be able to drink them on the go but don’t have a fridge or way to keep them cool, you can bring along your protein powder and add-ins, invest in a ‘blender’ or ‘shaker’ bottle, and just use water! It won’t be as creamy but it’ll still be delicious!
Cottage Cheese and Fruit
We know… it sounds weird. But this combination has a complete balance of all three macronutrients (which, if you haven’t caught on yet, is what each of our snacks will have because they keep you full, satisfied, and fuel your running) so long as you avoid the fat-free cottage cheese. Full fat or low fat cottage cheese is critical to this snack because it will keep you full (and tastes wayyy better!). The most common form of fruit to mix with cottage cheese is grapes and peaches, but don’t shy away from getting creative with your carbs! You could try kiwi, apples, raisins, or even just dipping pretzels or cinnamon crisps into cottage cheese. Plus, as long as you have Tupperware, this one is easy to pack and take with you (unless you prefer beast mode and eating straight out of the cottage cheese tub, in which case, it is WAY easy!).
Everyone’s favorite hiking snack is not just meant to be eaten out in nature. There is a reason trail mix is touted by hikers: it is easy to pack, easy to make, and (again) it is a well-rounded snack – which is exactly why it is a great snack for busy runners!
Tuna (Salad, Melt, or Alone!)
For your convenience, stores no longer only sell tuna in a can, but you can buy packets of tuna to rip open whenever you need. Some even sell their tuna packets with a spoon sealed right in! Tuna by itself is crazy rich in protein so it will fill you up and keep you satiated until your next meal. But, as we have mentioned, we want snacks that have protein, fats, AND carbs all in one. So mix up some tuna with a little bit of low-fat mayonnaise (source of fats) for a quick tuna salad eaten with crackers (carbs) or top a piece of bread with tuna and melt some cheese on top for a delicious tuna melt.
Hummus is Yummus!
Hummus is definitely a power food, as it is an excellently balanced snack from a macronutrient standpoint. Hummus is made from chickpeas and tahini (plus some other add-ins). But, of course, you will want to dip some goodies into your hummus. This is where you can be creative, based on your preferences (instead of trying to focus on which macronutrient you need to focus on most since hummus already has all three!). May we suggest carrots or celery, black bean chips, or pretzels?