Last year at this time when I was training for my very first half marathon I found myself in the break room at work trying to decide what to have for a snack. I mentioned to my coworker that I was training and her response was, “Oh, so you can eat whatever you want!” Oh, if only…
One of the things I feel I struggle with when running is nutrition. I don’t really eat a lot of junk food to begin with, but I am very aware that my body needs more of everything that is good while I am training. I try to be conscious of what I’m snacking on to make sure it’s not only satisfying my hunger, but hopefully giving me some sort of nutritional value. Luckily, my husband loves to cook and is very good at it so that makes things easier.
We have been trying to be smart about planning our meals during this abnormally cold weather. Monday night’s low was -8 (-22C) so my husband cooked up some sausage and grits with vegetables mixed in. Tuesday’s high was only 5 (-15C) and the low was -14 (-25C) so I had some beef chili in the crock-pot that was ready when we got home. I find it’s very easy to get some good nutrients in dinner and lately we have been cooking enough for me to take leftovers to work for lunch. We plan our dinners for the week before we grocery shop so we always know what we’re having. I’m also a big breakfast eater and I love eggs. I usually make scrambled eggs, sunny side up eggs with toast, or bake my egg and have a home made breakfast sandwich. I love a glass of soy milk in the morning or I mix up my protein powder with Powerade if I’ve done a hard work out that morning (Yeah yeah, sounds gross, I know, that’s what everyone says, but I really don’t like thick protein shakes). Snacks are where I struggle!
Don’t get me wrong, I have no guilt when I decide to snack on some Pringles, but like I said I try to make smart choices when snacking. I tend to avoid the “I can eat anything!” mindset by reminding myself that whatever I am eating is either helping my body recover and/or refueling my body for my next workout. I know fruit is always a healthy choice, but I don’t find it to be the most filling snack. I usually grab a string cheese as a mid-morning snack and I usually pack a serving size of Wheat Thins for an afternoon snack. My office provides free snacks, but lately it has been a weird mix of chips (which, aside from Pringles, I don’t really even like anyway) and crappy cereal bars that mask themselves as healthy, but are packed with sugar. Sugar is my downfall. I have quite a sweet tooth, but I know too much sugar isn’t very beneficial. Peanut butter or a square of chocolate are my go-to’s when it comes to satisfying my sweet tooth. Most of the time I just feel hungry – I like to refer to it as “runner munchies.”
What are your favorite snacks? How do you keep yourself full while still giving yourself a good balance of nutrients needed when training for a distance race?