Whether you enjoy running recreationally, competitively, or as part of your overall wellness goals, it’s a great way to improve your heart health.
Though much attention is centered around what to eat before running, what you eat afterward is equally important.
Depending on your goals - such as weight loss, muscle gain, or completing a long-distance run - different foods can offer different benefits.
Here are 5 of the best foods to eat after running when your goal is weight loss.
1. Beet salad
Beets are rich in nutrients, low in calories, and a great source of hunger-controlling fiber, making them a great addition to any salad.
What’s more, they’re high in dietary nitrates, which are compounds that help your body produce nitric oxide, one of the most important molecules for blood vessel health.
Studies have shown that dietary nitrates from beetsand other nitrate-rich vegetables, such as spinach and arugula, can increase running performance and delay running fatigue.
Using mixed salad greens as your base, add one peeled and cubed cooked beet and top with goat cheese crumbles.
Finish the salad off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. If you’re looking for a more substantial post-running snack, add chickpeas, a hard-boiled egg, or a bit of salmon for an extra protein boost.
A favorite summer picnic fruit, watermelonhas few calories and is a good source of two powerful plant compounds - citrulline and lycopene.
Similar to dietary nitrates, citrulline helps your body produce nitric oxide and may delay exercise fatigue and relieve muscle soreness.
Containing 91% water by weight, watermelon can also help you rehydrateafter your run.
You can enjoy watermelon by itself or add it to other dishes like salads for a more filling dish.
Combine cherry tomatoes, sliced red onions, baby arugula, and feta cheese with cubed watermelon for a nutrient-packed, post-run snack. If desired, dress the salad with olive oil and lime juice.
3. Hummus and raw vegetables
Hummusis a spread made primarily from mashed garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, as well as a few other ingredients, such as olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
It’s a good source of plant-based protein, providing nearly 8 grams per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.
Instead of using chips to dip in hummus, opt for low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetableslike carrots, bell peppers, celery, radishes, and cauliflower.
4. Veggie omelet
Loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and high-quality protein, eggs are one of nature’s nutritional powerhouses.
Studies show that an egg-containing breakfast can enhance weight loss when combined with a low-calorie diet. This makes an omelet the perfect breakfast choice for early morning runners.
Stir in fresh spinach, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, onions, and mushrooms for a tasty, nutrient-packed breakfast.
5. Apple or banana with peanut butter
Apples and bananas pair well with nut butterslike peanut butter.
The natural carbs from the fruit and the fat from the peanut butter work synergistically to not only help you recover from your run but also control your hungerthroughout the day.
Because peanut butter is rich in calories, stick to a 2-tablespoon serving, or about the size of a ping pong ball.