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Although it’s often overlooked, the post-run recovery meal or snack is one of the most crucial elements of your fueling plan. You may think that what you eat before a run is all that matters, but good postrun recovery nutrition also plays an important role in your overall performance.
During a run, your body utilizes glycogen (your body’s source of stored carbs) for energy, and your muscles experience tiny little tears. To replace the glycogen stores and aid in muscle recovery, you want to eat foods that have a combination of carbs and protein. Ideally, a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio has been shown to be most beneficial for post-workout recovery. In other words, a food should have 1 gram of protein for every 3 grams of carbs.
Whether you’re short on time or your stomach can’t handle much food after a run, eating a full recovery meal isn’t always doable. But there are a wide range of snacks that fit the post-run criteria. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite healthy packaged snacks, so you can quickly recover after logging your miles.
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These 8-ounce containers of chocolate milk contain the classic 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio, with 23 grams of carbs and 8 grams of protein. If you have a sensitive stomach and can’t get down food after a run, you may find it easier to drink a carton of chocolate milk. Plus, milk has nine essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D and calcium for bone health.
RX is taking oatmeal up a notch with the addition of egg whites, nuts, and dates. Made with simple ingredients, RX oatmeal is ready in minutes with hot water and a microwave, and it has 35 grams of carbs and 12 grams protein. If you prefer something cold after a run, fill it with water and stick it in the fridge before you head out the door for post-run overnight oats.
Classic Hummus and Pretzels
If you’re craving a savory snack after a run, reach for a conveniently packaged serving of hummus and pretzels. With 10 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs, this snack comes close to the 3:1 ratio. And it also includes sodium—an important electrolyte lost in sweat—as well as fiber, which helps keep you fuller for longer.
Bada Bean Bada Boom Crunchy Broad Beans
Otherwise known as fava or field beans, roasted broad beans are the newest crunchy snack to rival chips. Packed with protein and fiber, not to mention they are naturally vegan and gluten-free, roasted broad beans are a healthier option than many other crispy snacks. A 1-ounce serving has 15 grams of carbs and 7 grams of protein, so pair it with a piece of fruit for an extra carb boost.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Organic Vegan Protein Bar
There are a ton of protein bars on the market, but only few offer a short list of recognizable ingredients with a 3:1 carb to protein ratio. GoMacro does a good job of using real ingredients—such as nuts, puffed brown rice, and pea protein—and each protein bars have 11 grams of protein with 36 grams of carbs.
Strawberry Chia Organic Cottage Cheese
Whether you love or hate it, cottage cheese is packed with protein and bone-building calcium. Add in fruit, and you’re on your way to a post-run recovery snack. Since a container of Good Culture’s strawberry cottage cheese has more protein than carbs (17 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbs), slather it onto a piece of whole grain bread to make sure you replace glycogen stores.
Organic Crunchy Chickpeas
Chickpeas are naturally rich in both protein and carbohydrates, and roasted chickpeas are a delectable and crunchy post-run snack. Whether you throw them on salad or eat them straight out of the bag, you’ll get 6 grams of protein and 18 grams of carbs for every 1/4-cup serving. Not to mention, Saffron Road has tasty flavors, such as Buffalo, Bombay Spice, Chipotle, Falafel, and Korean BBQ.
Sea Salt Dry Roasted Edamame
This sushi night staple is a protein powerhouse and easy to store in the freezer. But on days when you don’t feel like microwaving, Seapoint Farms makes a dry roasted edamame with just soy beans and salt. Dried edamame is higher in protein than carbs, so grab a handful with a piece of fruit, bread, or whole grain crackers.
SunSeed Butter Chocolate Protein Bites
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Enjoy Life protein bites are a tasty combo of chocolate and other delicious flavors, such as mint, banana, raspberry, and sunseed butter. Three bites have 6 grams of protein and 18 grams of carbs, and they are so easy to pop into your mouth directly after a run.
S’Mores Flip Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is packed with natural protein, and Chobani has added a sprinkle of other ingredients, such as nuts, pretzels, graham crackers, and toffee to give you a hint of sweetness while also replacing glycogen stores. Each Flip has around 9 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbs. Chobani Flip’s other flavors and mix-ins include banana cream pie, cookie dough, brownie bliss, and cookies and cream.
White Cheddar Cheese, Sea Salted Roasted Almonds, and Dried Cranberries
Cheese, nuts, and dried fruit come together in these Sargento Balanced Breaks to offer post-run protein, healthy fats, and carbs. With different types of nuts, cheese, and dried fruit, you can choose the variety that speaks to you. The perfectly portioned snack has 7 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbs, so pair it with a handful of granola.
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