Raise your hand if you like to snack? Though I can’t actually see you, I’m willing to bet that all of you shot your hand into the ether above your head before finishing reading the sentence. We’re runners: snacking is a big part of our lives. It’s in our nature to grab a little something before or after a workout to help maintain our energy levels and repair our worn-out muscles. But constantly trying to think up new snack ideas can be time-consuming and, well, annoying since we need to make sure we’re getting that balance of energy-boosting carbs and vitamin-rich protein. But have no fear! Here are five of my favorite, easy-to-prep, carb/protein-balanced, portable snacks.
1. Cereal Trail Mix
Make a large batch of this ahead of time and separate it into 5 baggies or containers to pop into your purse or running bag each day of the week.
In a medium-sized bowl, toss together the following:
- 3 cups of whole grain cereal (I’m a fan of Cheerios or Cracklin’ Oat Bran)
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup raw almonds
- ½ cup dried fruit*
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (optional…but not in my house)
*Cranberries, blueberries, and raisins all work well. Try a new one each time you make the mix!
Though this is not my recipe, I make these at least twice a month. I pilfered it from Cookie and Kate, a fantastic vegetarian blog. I am not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination, but many of her recipes are easy and clean, just like these granola bars.
Tip: after making this recipe several times, I’ve found that when Kate calls for you to whisk the wet ingredients together before adding them to the dry, it’s actually much easier to dump them into the dry and incorporate from there. If you try whisking the wet ingredients on their own, you will end up with a sticky mess, and you’ll end up wasting some of the ingredients since it’s practically impossible to get the mixture off of your whisk. Here is the incredibly simple recipe for Honey-Sweetened Almond Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.
It really doesn’t get any easier than this. Protein rich cheese and carby (yes, I made that up) crackers are the perfect runner’s snack. For those of you who are Paleo or Gluten Free, there are lots of cracker options for you in the way of nut-based crackers as well as rice crackers.
- *2 oz. semi-hard or hard cheese
- 7-10 (depending on serving size) whole-grain or nut crackers of your choice
*Semi-hard and hard cheeses are easier to pack and carry. Not sure what cheese to purchase? Ask your grocery store deli for samples. A lot of cheese aisles in grocery stores now feature “sample cuts,” which are the awkwardly shaped leftovers after they slice up the wheels. This is a great and cheap way to sample a variety of cheeses you might not have otherwise tried. Bonus points: they’re already portioned out to 1-2 oz and are wrapped!
We’ve all heard about the benefits of Greek yogurt, and that’s because it’s awesome! However, I have never been one to just toss in a few berries and call it a day. Let’s face it: Greek yogurt is tart, and antioxidant rich berries can also be quite tangy. I like to cut that tongue-tingling feeling with a little drizzle of nature’s immune system boosting golden love: honey.
- *1/3 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt OR one of those handy yogurt cups
- 1/4 cup berries of your choice (raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries)
- Drizzle of honey
*I am not a fan of fat-free anything since sugar is usually the void-filler for the extracted fat. Additionally, partial or full-fat dairy is more filling, so you eat less of it.
5. Dairy-Free “Tropsicle” Smoothie
I’m sensitive to the lactose in milk, so I’ve been an almond and coconut milk drinker for a couple of years now. Since then, I’ve been experimenting with smoothie flavors, and I created one that is absolutely perfect for summer. If you like sipping on piña coladas or cooling down with a creamsicle, then this is the smoothie for you.
Place all of the ingredients below into your blender and enjoy:
- *12 oz. unsweetened almond-coconut milk
- Half of a banana
- ¼ cup frozen mango
- ¼ cup frozen pineapple
Tip: for an extra protein punch, and to boost that creamsicle flavor, add a scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder
*Almond Breeze makes an unsweetened combo of the two milks, and its delicious. However, you can always just use the unsweetened coconut milk.
What are your favorite healthy snacks?