After an exhilarating run, you may be tempted to skip the post-run snack, especially if you're trying to lose weight. However, eating after a run may actually help you shed pounds. Running depletes your muscle glycogen, or stored carbohydrates, and breaks down muscle tissue.
Eating a snack with carbohydrates and protein helps replenish glycogen stores and rebuilds your muscles, ensuring that you're ready to go for your next workout and keep you on a consistent running regimen. A nutritious snack also aids your weight loss by preventing the extreme hunger that causes you to overeat later in the day.
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Greek Yogurt and Fruit
Low- and nonfat Greek yogurt is higher in protein than traditional yogurt, with approximately 20 grams of protein in 6 ounces of nonfat yogurt, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. This excellent source of non-meat protein pairs well with fruit, which provides the carbohydrates that will help you replenish your glycogen stores. Many fruits are also loaded with water, which helps replenish the water you lost on your run.
Banana and Almond Butter
Along with being a good carbohydrate source, bananas are high in potassium, an electrolyte that is often depleted following sweaty, strenuous running. Almond butter provides protein and a small amount of healthy fat, both of which help you feel satisfied for longer and less likely to overeat later in the day. Because almond butter is calorie-dense, limit yourself to one tablespoon with your banana.
Drink Your Snack
If you feel too nauseous to eat a snack after your run, drinking your snack may be more appealing. Chocolate milk has an optimal ratio of carbohydrates to protein, according to the the International Food Information Council Foundation. One cup of chocolate milk will provide three to four grams of carbs to one gram of protein. The added sugar will use up quite a few grams of your daily allowance, but if you know in advance you can compensate.
Turkey Sandwich with Hummus
Turkey breast is a low-calorie source of protein, with 100 calories and 16 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving, according to Nutrition Value. Hummus is a flavorful alternative to mayonnaise and contains a small amount of healthy fat to enhance flavor and keep you feeling full. Whole-wheat bread provides complex carbohydrates, which release into your bloodstream more slowly than white bread, keeping you satisfied for longer. To keep your calories in check, opt for half a sandwich with 2 to 3 ounces of turkey and a thin layer of hummus.
Overall Calorie Needs
Weight loss requires you to consume fewer calories than you burn throughout the day, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Account for these post-run snacks in your overall calorie intake and ensure that the portion sizes you choose are appropriate for your overall calorie needs and activity level. Nutritious meals and snacks at other times of the day are also essential for an effective weight-loss plan.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Basic Report: 01256, Yogurt, Greek, Plain, Nonfat"
- International Food Information Council Foundation: "Chocolate Milk: Can a Childhood Fav be Fitness Fuel?"
- NutrionValue.org: "Turkey Breast, Prepackaged, Sliced"
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Calorie Counting Made Easy”