I don't know about you, but here in Memphis, it is already hot, even in early June. The South is humid, too, so sweat is the name of the game. When I go for a long run, I crave something that is not only going to replenish my body with protein, fiber, and other nutrients, but I want something cool, refreshing, and hydrating.
As an endurance runner (or any sort of athlete for that matter), picking the right post-run snack isn't always a walk in the park. We often know what we should spring for in at least a vague sense but a lack of preparedness or motivation to eat well can lead to snacking on junk that eliminates your hard work and dedication.
So, with that said, here are my top picks for summer recovery snacks for endurance runners.
8 Summer Snacks for Endurance Runners
1) Yogurt Popsicles
Creamy, protein-packed Greek yogurt is already a great snack or breakfast for an athlete. When making a healthy frozen treat, it's important that you focus on the health aspect. Make your own and opt for plain yogurt. Add in your own fresh fruits (personally, I like blueberries) and pour into a popsicle mold. It's even better if you get Greek yogurt with live cultures. You'll get probiotics, antioxidants, protein, and a cool and refreshing treat all-in-one.
2) Chocolate Milk
Chocolate milk isn't just for the kids. This one is definitely to be consumed in moderation because of its high sugar content, but it's great for satisfying your thirst while also providing carbs, protein, electrolytes, potassium, and calcium. Even if you're not a big dairy fan, there are plenty of alternatives on the market. Chocolate almond milk, for example, is delicious!
Avocado is creamy, delicious, and choc-full of healthy fats and nutrients. They're especially good for heart health, as they can help reduce blood pressure and high cholesterol. Avocado might not seem like a very hydrating food, but it can be transformed and applied in so many different ways. Add it to a smoothie for some extra nutrients, mix it with a small salad, or make some guacamole to dip with fresh veggies.
4) Fresh Berries
One of my favorite parts of summer is all of the fresh fruits and vegetables. Berries are the best, especially if you're looking for a nutrient-packed snack. I've raved about blueberries before—there's no better place to turn for antioxidants. That said, blackberries and raspberries are great options, too. You're looking at great fiber along with something that is sweet, juicy, and refreshing.
5) Chilled Oranges
That said, if you want a truly refreshing post-run fruit, you can't beat a chilled orange. Juicy, rich pulp right out of the refrigerator. Rich in fiber and vitamin C, oranges can be eaten in plenty of ways. Personally, I find it satisfying to peel them and eat by the slice.
6) Peanut Butter and Apple Slices
It might make you feel like a kid again, but peanut butter with apple is still one of the best snacks you can have. A tablespoon or two of peanut butter (or almond butter, cashew butter, whatever suits you) with crisp, cool apples and you have a recipe for refreshment. The nut butter brings the protein and helps you stay full, while the apple brings some carbs to the table along with that crisp sweet crunch. If apples aren't your speed, there are always bananas.
7) Coconut Water
Some call coconut water nature's energy drink, and I don't blame them. Coconut water is a great alternative to sports drinks that are full of artificial flavors, additives, and sugar. Coconut water is natural, with plenty of electrolytes and potassium. Great for rehydrating, you won't have the trouble of any insulin spikes or sugar rushes with this stuff.
8) Homemade Smoothies
The key word here is homemade. Smoothies are among the best snacks (or meals) for the summer. However, be wary of premade smoothies you can buy in stores. Again, they are often full of sugar that you do not want or need. Instead, invest in a blender and make your own. Add things like fresh fruit (especially blueberries), vegetables (think carrots, avocado), leafy greens (spinach, kale), and powders (maca, matcha, etc.). You can have you smoothie as-is or freeze it in popsicle form.
For the endurance running, picking appropriate post-run snacks just takes a little forethought and planning. During the summer, your options expand in so many exciting ways as fresh seasonal produce abounds. Take advantage!
What's your favorite summertime snack? Tell me in the comments.