Written By Christine Luff, About.com Guide: One of the benefits of running is that you can get away with eating sweets and other high-calorie snacks in your diet every so often. You’ll definitely run and feel better, though, when you’re eating healthful, nutritious foods, including snacks. So the next time you’re reaching for that bag of potato chips or a package of Oreos, consider one of these healthful snacks instead:
Apple slices with peanut butter
Everyone knows apples are good for you, but they’re not always, well, satisfying. Try eating apple slices with a little bit of peanut butter, which is a great source of healthful fat and protein. Opt for all-natural peanut butter to steer clear of added sugar and hydrogenated oils.
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit
Low in fat and fairly high in carbohydrates, yogurt is also an excellent source of calcium, protein and potassium. Its live and active cultures are good for the digestive system.
You’ll get carbs from bananas as well as potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps. The simple sugars and low amount of fiber make bananas especially easy to digest, which means they’re a good pre-run snack (just make sure you still give yourself at least 90 minutes to digest before running after eating).
Mix 1/2 cup of skim milk or juice, a banana, and frozen strawberries (or other fruits you love) in a blender for a tasty and refreshing smoothie.
Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins — making it a great recovery drink. Cold chocolate milk tastes pretty refreshing after a run. Another benefit: The calcium will help keep your bones strong.
Carrots fill you up but are low in calories, making them a great snack for runners who are trying to lose weight or maintain their current weight. A great time to eat them is when you’re hungry before dinner, so you can satisfy your hunger pangs and avoid overeating during dinner.
When you need a snack that’s easy to pack in your gym bag, cereal bars can be a healthful option. Just be careful when selecting your cereal bars — some of them contain as much fat and sugar as candy bars! Choose bars with just a few ingredients, so you know they’re not filled with unnecessary additives.
As long as it’s not loaded with butter, oil, sugar, or loads of salt, air-popped popcorn can be a healthy, low-cal snack. Corn kernels are a whole grain, so they have similar nutritional benefits to brown rice or whole wheat bread. Popcorn is also full of fiber, so even a 100-calorie serving (about 3 cups) will help you feel fuller longer.