10 healthy and energy-rich snacks!
You need energy to perform well during exercise. Sounds logical, but there are plenty of athletes who start their training on an empty stomach; especially those who want to lose a few pounds. This is actually very bad for you! Your body needs enough energy to perform well, but also to recover from the intensive training. That is why it is recommended (1.5 - 2 hours) before your training to take an easily digestible snack that contains all the building materials you need as an athlete; in other words proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. But when do you call something a snack and when are we talking about a complete meal? The rule of thumb is that a snack contains between 150 and 200 kCal (but no more than 200 kCal). This gives you enough energy to bridge the time to, for example, lunch or dinner, without running the risk of excess energy being stored as fat. It is therefore very important that you also get energy between meals, or take snacks.
- Dates can be considered a power food and it is almost impossible to imagine the diet of many athletes. First of all, a date contains a lot of natural sugars, which immediately explains why they are so sweet. They also contain a lot of vitamin B, magnesium, iron and potassium and all kinds of antioxidants. 100 grams of dates contains no less than 271 kCal, so you definitely get energy!
- A cup of low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt always works well as a snack at your desk or as a post-workout snack. Low-fat cottage cheese and yogurt are high in protein and carbohydrates but, if you take the low-fat variant, have little fat. Ideal if you have just finished exercising! It is even better when you combine it with nuts and pieces of fruit such as strawberry, banana and raspberry. That is not only healthier but also a lot tastier!
- Granola bars always look extremely healthy thanks to their beautiful, healthy-looking packaging, but what many people don't know is that these are bursting with added sugars and trans fats. Trans fats are even more unhealthy than unsaturated fat. Fortunately, there are plenty of granola bars out there that are not jam-packed with sugars and other unhealthy additives. So always take a good look at the packaging!
- Extra tip: you can of course also make your own muesli bars so that you can be sure that you do not get unhealthy junk. Check out a recipe for healthy muesli bars that you can easily make yourself!
- This is of course a no-brainer, because as an alternative to sweets and other unhealthy snacks, you can hardly go wrong with an apple or a banana. As for fruits, they are full of antioxidants and healthy vitamins that you can always use, whether you exercise or not. Bananas in particular are extremely good sources of nutrition for athletes because, compared to an orange, for example, they have a particularly high amount of carbohydrates. One medium-sized banana contains about 105 kCal and is therefore a good source of energy before you start exercising!
- As we discussed in the previous point, a banana is an energy bomb on its own, but you can take it a step further by combining it with a rice cake and a little peanut butter (not too much). Peanut butter contains a lot of proteins and natural fats and the rice cake guarantees extra fiber. In short, all building materials that you can use after a good workout!
- If you have just completed an intensive running training or other workout, you are undoubtedly ready for an energy-rich snack. In that case, hummus (mashed chickpeas) is definitely something you can use. You can find hummus on the shelves of the supermarket or you can make it yourself at home (it takes a bit of prep, but it's worth it). You can also vary a lot with it, so use the hummus as a dressing for a salad or use it as a spread for a cracker or sandwich.
- Believe it or not, nuts contain more calories than you might think. Just to name an example: a 100 gram box of walnuts from the Plus contains no less than 700 kCal! That's like a meal. It is of course not the intention that you eat an entire bowl as a snack, so a handful is more than enough in this case. Nuts are high in saturated fat, protein, fiber and minerals. A good source of nutrition for every athlete!
- Now it's time for something less conventional like these cookie dough balls from I Love Health, which we came across during our search for healthy snacks. “Cookies as a snack? And also with chocolate?”, we hear you think. Ok, to be honest: they are not really super healthy, but if you make them yourself and use the right (healthy) ingredients, they certainly can't hurt. In this case, these cookies consist of cashew nuts, medjool dates and chocolate; in other words, ingredients that are full of good building materials (provided you use chocolate in its purest form, but we will come back to that in the next point). You can easily make these yourself with a food processor or blender. We will definitely try them!
- Yes, chocolate can also be a healthy snack! However, we are not talking about the same chocolate bar that you can get from a candy machine, as we mentioned earlier as an unhealthy example. The healthy variant with a high cocoa percentage is packed with antioxidants and minerals. In addition, this chocolate is incredibly good for your blood pressure and blood circulation, which you can use all too well as an athlete! However, this is chocolate in its purest form, so people who are not a fan of dark chocolate might want to avoid this one.
- Of course, shakes. Actually, we didn't even want to mention this one because it's even more obvious than fruit. If you want to ensure that you get enough protein throughout the day, protein shakes can certainly help you a step. These have the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates and amino acids; which you can use all too well as an athlete! Keep in mind that shakes are not a replacement for your meals, so make sure you combine them with a balanced and healthy diet.
So! Ten snacks plus a few useful tips and variations, you can't go wrong. Of course it is important that your meals also contain sufficient building materials in addition to healthy snacks, so pay attention to that too! Do you have some good tips or healthy snacks that you would like to share with us or your fellow athletes? Or do you have a few questions about how STOX Energy's compression socks can improve your training and recovery?