When considering your running routine, people often skip past the part that happens after you get home. You walk through the door, strip the sweaty clothes off and get in the shower. But what about post-run nutrition?
Keep in mind that after a run your muscles are tired and depleted, your hydration levels are low due to sweating and the glycogen levels in your liver are close to nothing. It is key that you replenish those levels back to their normal state.
You look after your body in other ways while running, like having the right running shoes and running accessories, so why not put as much focus on what you eat too?
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If you are not super hungry after a run, but still want to focus on eating the right foodsfoods, consider having a snack instead of a full meal. The right snack can help you restore everything your body lost during the run and fill you up before your next meal.
Protein bars are a great and efficient way of getting protein back into your body. They are often small and easy to eat on the go. So if your routine does not give you much time to eat after a run (perhaps if you run to work in the morning), consider buying or making protein bars as your go-to snack. These bars also often come in different flavours and can cater to specific dietary requirements making them reliable every time.
If you are someone who doesn’t like eating a big meal straight after a long run, a smoothie might be the way to go. You can pack vitamins and hydration into a small drink.
Whether you have the time to make it yourself, or if you prefer the store-bought kind, a smoothie is a great choice.
Things like bananas (rich in potassium), oranges (full of Vitamin C) and dried cranberries (full of antioxidants) are awesome inclusions to an ordinary smoothie. You can play around with flavours and additives to make your post run snack (or drink rather) top tier.
Try adding some protein powder, nuts and seed or some peanut butter to elevate your smoothie.
Trail mix is a wonderful after run snack. You can combine different flavours and textures to your liking, and will get a well balanced (and tasty) snack.
Try including pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit (like cranberries, cherries and apricot), chocolate, nuts (like almonds, macadamias and walnuts) and coconut flakes.
Granola bars or granola and yogurt are a great snack to grab after a run.
Both are available at your local grocery store, or for you to make at home. Granola and yogurt combined make for a super easy breakfast or snack. Either make or buy a granola mix of your liking. If you are opting for a store bought granola, try to find one lower in sugar and packed with protein.
Top it with greek yogurt and fruit! Try adding honey if you are lacking sweetness or cinnamon for a punch of earthy flavours.
Remember to have fun with it. If you like dried fruit, add that. If you prefer fresh fruit, cut up some apples or strawberries and pop those in there.
Fruit is always a great option. Watermelons are a great source of hydration. Bananas will provide you with a great source of potassium. Raspberries and oranges are great at Vitamin C. Again, have fun with them and listen to your taste buds!
When preparing a meal for post-run, remember to include the following food groups:
- Healthy fats
Carbohydrates are a fantastic source of energy, and are stored in your muscles for a sustained source of energy. Try opting for complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains and legumes over simple carbohydrates.
Try incorporating the following into your diet:
- Whole wheat pasta
- Brown Rice
Proteins are key when it comes to muscle repair and keeping you fuller for longer. Protein can be found in both meat and vegetarian options:
- Fish (make sure you are finding high-quality fish)
- Milk, cheese and yogurt products
- Beans and peas
- Nuts and seeds
- Tofu and soy-based products
- Powdered protein
It is so important not to villainize fats, but instead to understand their value and add healthy fats into your meal. Healthy fats help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin D. Here is a list of healthy fat sources:
- Chia seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Fish (like fresh tuna, herring or salmon)
Fruit and vegetables
It is key to add fruit and vegetables into your meals. They are high in vitamins and minerals, and packed full of fiber for good digestion.
Vegetables are super easy to add to everyday meals. Frozen packs are also great for convenience. Simply stick them into any stir fry, or toss together a side salad.
Fruit is great to add as an on the go snack or to add to salads, smoothies or desserts.
- Brussel sprouts
- Green beans
- Honeydew melon
Remember that for convenience, frozen fruit and veg are easy to use and healthy. Add them to smoothies and/or baked goods!
The internet is your friend. Premake your meals with Pinterest tips and tricks. If you require further tips and assistance, remember that there are professionals who can help you through this process. Nutritionists and dietitians can help you achieve all of your goals.