Running a marathon requires a comprehensive nutritional approach to support your performance and endurance. The regular 3-meals-a-day eating pattern is not recommended for a marathon runner. To help keep up your energy levels and to support your training routine, you need to consume small meals at frequent intervals. A healthy snacking habit should be adopted to make the most of each small meal that can help provide essential nutrients.1,2
Smart snack substitutes
Unhealthy snacks are easily accessible and tempting to satisfy your food cravings. However, these snacks may be poor in nutrient content and high on calories and hence need to be replaced with healthy and smarter choices. A few examples are listed below.1-3
Tips for healthy snacking
Fuel up with healthy carbs: As a runner, you require more carbs to fulfil your energy needs. Choose healthy carbs such as whole grains, cereals, pasta, bread and bananas to fuel up with energy.
Healthy hydration: Running demands more hydration; hence, keep yourself well hydrated with healthy fluids such as 100% fresh fruit juices, low fat milk, sport drinks and, most importantly, water.
Add veggies to your snack time: Vegetables such as carrots can be a crispy option to munch on. It can be filling and nutritious at the same time.
Go seasonal: Go for seasonal fruits and vegetables to maximise the flavour and the nutritional value. For example, use apples, mangoes, pumpkin seeds and strawberries to flavour up the smoothies.
Watch out for portion sizes: Too much or too little can make a lot of difference in providing the essential nutrition. Therefore, keep an eye on your portion sizes and the frequency of eating.1-3
It is recommended to include a variety of healthy snacks to your daily diet to achieve a balanced nutrition. Choose your snacks wisely and build healthy snacking habits to complement your regular diet and support your performance.
1. Runners world. Nutrition for runners. NY, USA: Rodale Inc.: 2010-11.
2. Runners world. Your first marathon. NY, USA: Rodale Inc.: 2010-11.
3. Vanderbilt University. Fueling your performance. Tennessee, USA: Vanderbilt University; 2005.