Snacks: Important Fuel for Runners
By Patricia Chuey, Senior Nutrition Consultant,
Boxer Rocky Balboa snacked on a smoothie of raw eggs. As we
reach step 8 on our climb to Sun Run victory, it’s time to look at the quality
of the snacks fueling the journey - but I’ll take a pass on the raw eggs!
For optimal energy stores throughout the duration of your
training program, eating every three to four hours throughout the day is
advised. Being consistent with snacking during the day when you’re most active
also helps prevent over-snacking in the evening when less active. The best
snacks are a well-balanced combo of carbohydrate and protein foods. Great
A banana, pear, grapes, apple or orange with a
handful of toasted almonds, pecans or walnuts. (Cut the apple or orange into
segments before packing with you to prevent it travelling back home)
A plate of three or four different veggies with
hummus or tzatziki for dip
Yogurt and fresh fruit or both combined into a
smoothie. Try peach yogurt blended with frozen peaches; banana, milk and peanut
butter; or a classic smoothie of strawberries, yogurt and orange juice
A slice of whole grain bread with nut butter or
Trail mix of dried fruit and nuts
A small bowl of healthy cereal with milk
A homemade oatmeal berry muffin with a slice of
High carb, yet
low quality snacks like low-fibre muffins, cookies or chips are available
everywhere. Because good quality, well-balanced snacks can be much tougher to
find when on the go, pack at least one or two healthy snack choices for the day
before heading out. If you end up at the grocery store looking for a healthy
snack, read labels and keep these criteria for healthy choices in mind:
or Energy Bars: less than 3 grams of fat, more than 4 grams of protein, less
than 10 grams of sugar and a whole grain as a first ingredient.
2-8-4 Rule, less than 2 grams of fat, less than 8 grams of sugar and at least 4
grams of fibre per serving.
no greasy residue or trans fat. More than 2 grams of fibre per serving.
No added sugar, minimal or zero fillers like corn syrup. Look for 1-2% milk
You can’t go wrong with fruit
or vegetables (which are carbohydrates) as the base of most snacks. Aim for at
least one such snack daily. Make snacking on vegetables more interesting. Buy
an appetizing salad dressing to use as dip. Cut and serve vegetables in new
ways: a large carrot cut diagonally or with a crinkle cutter, yams baked into
fries, celery with cheese or a veggie you haven’t had for a while like cherry
tomatoes or yellow pepper strips.