You’ve finished a hard day of training. Maybe you’ve completed your LONGEST long run. Maybe you’re coming back from an hour or more of rip roarin’ track work. The day goes on and no matter how much you refuel during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you still end the day craving more!
This is a common and 100% okay feeling for all runners. Don’t resist the sensation to snack throughout the day, even late at night, during your training calendar. In fact, it’s encouraged! As endurance athletes, refueling throughout the day properly to keep your engine powered up is key. Eating enough and eating the right things can provide performance benefits, training boosts, immune support, and injury prevention.
So when the time comes for a post-dinner snack as you unwind and relax before bed, what should you eat? That’s a great question, and lucky for you there’s a team of professional coaches and serious runners here at Charge who have joined forces to build the perfect list of quick, easy, and effective late-night snacks for runners!
5 Easy, Effective Late-Night Snacks for Runners
1. A “Sleep Smoothie”
Smoothies, if properly made, are a great supplement for a runner’s diet. While you’ll need more calories than replacing full meals with smoothies, they make excellent snacks and can be loaded with all types of goodies. For your glorious “sleep smoothie” consider using tart cherries, spinach, a casein protein powder, and a nut milk of your choice. Tart cherries add a manageable amount of melatonin and antioxidants, spinach adds essential vitamins, fiber, and iron to the smoothie. The casein protein while also derived from dairy like whey, digests far more slowly and therefore is better pre-bed. The protein powder plus the nut milk will aid muscle recovery and growth while adding healthy fats. All said, this basic smoothie will help you sleep soundly, recover, and wake up raring to go!
2. Nuts + Fruit
Not only will you feel fancy with a small plate of mixed fruit and nuts, but you’ll reap the physical rewards as well! Kiwis, strawberries, goji berries, pistachios, walnuts, dried cranberries, can all make the plate. The goal for your mixed nuts and fruit plate should be to balance healthy fats, natural sleep aids (like melatonin or serotonin), vitamin C, fiber, and protein. While ultimately some personal preference in the fruit and nut category will come into play, be sure to avoid the processed versions. No salted or flavored nuts, just raw, and be sure to (if possible) get the fruits as fresh as possible.
3. Yogurt Parfait
The high protein content in yogurt, particularly greek yogurt, will help curb your late-night hunger as well as provide essential muscle recovery tools for while you sleep. Additionally, with casein protein being prominent in in greek yogurt the slow digestion period should make for a more restful sleep. Be careful about eating too much yogurt before bed, 6-10 ounces should be sufficient. Additionally, make it a “parfait” by adding some unsweetened fruit and a sprinkle of fiber-rich, whole grain cereal or granola. This will beef up the nutrient content, again, being carefully not to eat too much right before bed.
Perfect for breakfast pre-run and equally as perfect for your late-night snack, post-run. One of the great elements of oatmeal, similar to yogurt, is the variety of additions you can add. Oats themselves are natural sources of melatonin as well as a great source of fiber. By adding some fresh fruit, nut milk, nuts, and even nut butter, you’re packing the bowl full of essential recovery and performance-boosting nutrients. The warmth of a bowl of oatmeal can also create a sensational of relaxed bliss as well which may be exactly what your body needs at the end of a long, hard day. Like yogurt parfaits though, be cautious of eating too much directly before laying down for a night of sleep.
5. Mediterranean Wrap
Now in reality your wrap could be just about anything you’d like it to be, Mediterranean or not. However, ingredients common in mediterranean cuisine do make for a great tasting, and very nutritious wrap. Be sure to use a whole-grain wrap and add in a spread of hummus, a layer of spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, maybe some leftover chicken breast if available. Ultimately this will make for an incredibly satisfying, filling, and healthy alternative to a traditional deli sandwich. Perfect for anytime of day, the lightness of the wrap and lack of meat as a necessity makes it particularly easy to consume before bed.
For even more advice on nutrtion, sleep, and all things running, join a LIVE Charge Running class and ask a professional coach!