If you go for a long run, or even have a long workout of any kind, it’s important to eat within 30 minutes of finishing up. If you’re like a lot of runners it can be tough to get an appetite up after running long miles in the heat but it’s just as important as what you eat before. Eating 30 minutes after can help in more ways than one. In honor of national and global running day, we’re give you a go-to list of easy and delicious snacks to replace the boring protein smoothie after a long run or race.
Why is it important to eat within 30 minutes of a long run?
Eating the right foods that are full of protein and antioxidants can help you recover faster, help your overall performance, and keep you injury and illness-free. Ensuring you recover as fast as possible and don’t get injured, means you can stick to your training schedule.
Eating right away will help replenish your glycogen stores and replace what you burned during your long run. If you want to train hard the next day or even the day after, you need to replenish what you lost. It will also help minimize muscle breakdown refueling with lots of protein and carbohydrates after a long run will help your body begin the rebuilding process and help you stay injury-free.
Here are our favorite 11 options for post-long run recovery snacks. All of these are filled with protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Easy, simple and effective! The egg scramble is a classic that has all of the health benefits you need to recover from a long run. Egg yolks have all the nutritional value so don’t just eat the whites. Throw in bell peppers, broccoli and some onion for some color and don’t be shy with adding additional protein if your muscles are feeling extra drained or sore.
This isn’t just a restaurant staple for hipsters. Avocado is one of the best foods you can eat any time of day, especially after a run to replace the potassium and sodium you sweated out. Spread an avocado over a piece of whole wheat toast to replace your carbohydrates and add an egg for protein. Drizzle with balsamic and you have a quick, easy and incredibly healthy way to end a training run.
If you crave salmon or tuna after a long run you’re not alone. This is an incredibly lean source of protein that also contains omega-3s, which can reduce heart rate and the rate of perceived exertion during exercise. Salmon pairs great with a lot too, making it a great post-run recovery meal. Add a side of sweet potato fries, asparagus or other veggies to complete the meal.
If you finish your long run in the late morning or mid-day and aren’t ready for a full dinner meal, a high protein salad is a great lunch option. Take a bed of greens and add quinoa topped with your choice of protein and extra veggies. The protein, fiber and rich minerals in a fresh salad will keep you moving for the rest of the day.
Brown Rice with Veggies and Protein
Put some brown rice into a skillet and add your choice of veggies to create a nice stir fry. Add some eggs or chicken to give your body some extra protein. Feel free to add teriyaki or soy sauce for sodium and enjoy!
Walnuts and Dried Fruit
Maybe you did a long trail run and you’re far from home or the nearest restaurant, you still need to get some food in your body. Plan ahead and pre-pack some walnuts and dried fruit that you can snack on in the car until you can get to your real recovery meal. Walnuts contain extremely healthy fats and have been shown to reduce inflammation. They’ll tide you over until you’re back to your kitchen.
Make Your Own Pizza
If you use whole-wheat crust topped with fresh veggies and fresh protein, this can be a great carb replacement and healthy recovery meal. Treat yourself after a long run, you deserve it!
Keeping it simple can sometimes be your best option. Roast or bake a lean piece of chicken and pair it with some sweet potato gnocchi for a delicious and hearty recovery meal. Chicken is always a favorite and goes well with sweet potato gnocchi that is rich in complex carbohydrates and vitamin A.
If you want something a bit heartier than a salad but aren’t ready for a full dinner, a quinoa bowl is a great way to replace carbs and protein after a long run. Pour quinoa (or faro if you prefer) into a bowl and add a variety of veggies and protein. You can even add walnuts, fruit and some goat cheese if you’d rather have something sweet than savory.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Not just a great snack for kids, cottage cheese is something extremely easy to grab on the go. Pour some fresh peaches or pineapples on top to make a sweet post-run treat. Cottage cheese is high in whey protein and calcium and you can replenish carbs from the fresh fruit. Don’t forget to have a larger recovery meal a bit later on if you choose this option.
This is a great winter option but let’s face it, ramen is great any time of year. Luckily if it’s done right, it has nutrients that make it an awesome recovery meal. Make sure to add protein to your ramen to replenish muscles. This is a healthy and delicious way to get your carbs, protein and sodium back after a long one.
Make sure after a workout of any kind you have a snack as soon as you can, but the sooner the better. Especially when it comes to a draining long run you need to restore your protein, sodium and carbs with a full and balanced meal. If you can’t get to a full meal right away, plan ahead and have some simple snacks in the car or in your bag to at least get some sort of nutrients in your body as soon as you can. Once your stomach has calmed down and your appetite is back, you can dive into a bigger meal. Post-run recovery eating is one of the best ways to prevent injury, speed up muscular recovery and improve your overall performance so don’t put it on the back burner!