Hunger Busters: 5 Healthy Snacking Tips for Runners

Hunger Busters: 5 Healthy Snacking Tips for Runners

The more you run, the more calories you burn. Depending on your weight management goals, you'll need to replace those lost calories to keep your body fuelled, healthy and ready for training. The danger is that hunger between meals leads to junk snacking.

Healthy SnackingSnacking has a bad name, but the grazing approach to eating is proven to be a healthy way to keep the pounds off. Follow these five snacking tips to satisfy your hunger without gorging.

Want to know how much you should be eating?

Find out how to Calculate Your Calorie Needs.

1. Eat little and often

A small study of Norwegian women found that participants who admitted nibbling morsels of food during the day were no more likely to have a high body mass index (an indicator of body fatness) than those who said they didn't nibble. Want to know if it’s affecting your weight? Try these Top 3 Ways to Measure Body Fat. There was also no link between nibbling and eating more meals or snacks, or episodes of binge eating, the researchers said.

2. Don’t be in denial

Claiming always to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, never eating biscuits and only drinking one glass of wine a day are common falsehoods. Women often claim to be only "eating the kids' leftovers" or "testing the dinner" when indulging. 

Other questionable claims include never eating fast food, only drinking to toast a special occasion and claiming that red wine is healthy. Chocolate, crisps, cake, wine, cheese and bread are among the foods most likely to be the subject of deception.

If you’re still craving the ‘bad foods’ take a look at Chocolate and Your Running Diet for reasons to still enjoy some of your favourite things.

3. Don’t snack mid-morning

A study of women snackers found mid-morning snackers were fatter – seven percent fat loss compared to 11 percent fat loss in the non-mid-morning eaters. 

4. Eat an apple

When people noshed on an apple before lunch, they took in 187 calories less than those who didn’t (even after accounting for the calories in the apple). But researchers say having the whole fruit is key: People who ate applesauce or drank fiber-fortified apple juice first didn’t slash their intake nearly as much. Why? Experts say eating an apple requires more chewing, which can trigger a greater feeling of fullness. 

5. Have the odd unhealthy snack 

In a recent study, people who ate 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate every day for two weeks had lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines, the “fight or flight” hormones released by the adrenal glands when you’re wigged out.

How or why chocolate affects stress levels is not fully understood, but researchers say cocoa is rich in many biochemically active compounds -- like theobromine, which affects the nervous system. Be sure you’re getting the authentic dark stuff by choosing a bar with at least 70 percent cacao. 

Got that? If you want something to keep in your bag or at your desk, try these healthy snacks:

  • oat cakes
  • an apple or a banana with a few nuts or handful of seeds
  • a bag of unsalted raw almonds or some unsalted raw cashews
  • a bag of mixed raw pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds
  • an unsweetened oat flapjack.


More from The Running Bug
5 Bad Excuses Not to Run
5 Major Running Mistakes Easy, Healthy Meal Ideas
Chocolate and Your Running DIet
We're used to hearing why people can’t run. And we're also used to telling them… ‘There’s no excuse!’ Avoid these five common mistakes made by beginner runners and you'll get more enjoyment from running. 10 Staples For Quick and Healthy Meals in No Time. Chocolate: Is it a bad food for runners, an addictive drug, and the instigator of dietary disasters?


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A good idea is to drink cocoa, rather than eat chocolate with all the added sugar, hydrogenated fat and dodgy dairy or non-dairy creamers.  However, it needs to be a strong cup to match the amount of cocoa in the best dark chocolate.  A typical 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar will contain maybe roughly 35% dark cocoa  and 35% cocoa butter plus 30% other additives like water, sugar and other fats.  So a 30g bar might contain around 10g dark cocoa.  So add 10g to your mug, add a little hot water or milk to make into a paste and then top up with hot water or milk or some of each according to taste.  Leave out the sugar if you can spoils the flavour.  Cocoa is high in magnesium and other minerals as well as antioxidants, so it may also help against night cramps if taken at night.  Your grandparents knew what they were doing with their nightly cocoa habit!  You don't have to wear slippers though.

Don't overdo the cocoa or chocolate can give you a headache next day, apparently due to the tyramine it contains. It did that to me once when I ate a whole large 100g bar of dark chocolate I got as a present.

It's easy to make your own healthy cocoa snacks too.  Mix about 10g cocoa powder with a little milk or water in a small bowl until it is in a paste.  Then add about 25g peanut butter(no sugar or salt added if possible..Holland and Barrett do one) and mix well until in a stiff "dough" like consistency. Add a little more milk or cocoa to get right consistency.  You can add a little honey if you prefer, maybe 1 teaspoon.  Make into a ball and roll in sesame seeds to coat.  Great with a cup of tea or coffee as a little sweet snack.  A similar mixture, made to a spreadable consistency, would be fine on pumpernickel bread and beat the supermarket Choc 'n' Nut spreads by a mile, at least on health grounds!

Finally, if you have a little more time, make your very own dark chocolate.  All you need is cocoa powder and cocoa butter(online supply, 500g costs about £10) and a little honey to taste if preferred.  Put about 30g cocoa butter in a small pan and heat gently on low to melt it.  Add about 30g cocoa powder and stir into the butter well.  Add a little honey to taste, maybe 1 teaspoon.  Now pour the runny mixture into ice cube trays and allow to set in the fridge(not freezer).  Job done!  If you prefer milk chocolate, add a teaspoon or so of double cream(not whipped) to the mixture in the pan.



busy day then!  haha



Hmm - sitting here eating toast......