6 healthy bedtime snacks for runners

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1. Craving something sweet?

Eat frozen blueberries and watermelon blended to make fruit ‘sorbet’.

Why: It satisfies that craving for something sweet but has few calories. Antioxidants in blueberries can lower oxidative stress caused by exercise, and watermelon has an amino acid that eases muscle aches.

2. Trying to lose weight?

Eat Greek yoghurt with cinnamon and vanilla.

Why: The protein quells late-night hunger, says nutritionist Lauren Antonucci. Use plain yoghurt and add cinnamon and vanilla for flavour. Eat it 30 minutes before bed to give your metabolism a boost the next morning.

3. Running tomorrow morning before breakfast?

Eat strawberries and nut butter on wholegrain bread.

Why: The complex carbs and protein tame hunger. “Eat it three hours after dinner to top up your glycogen,” says Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at Washington University, St Louis, US.

4. Had a tough training day?

Drink chocolate milk.

Why: It provides fluid (for hydration), sugar (for glycogen) and protein (for muscle repair). If taken 30 minutes before bed, casein (a protein in milk) improves muscle-protein synthesis overnight, according to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

5. Got a race tomorrow but can’t get to sleep?

Eat some crackers with cheddar or Swiss cheese.

Why: The carb-protein combination supplies tryptophan, an amino acid that lulls you to sleep. The refined carbs in crackers also help you drift off, says a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

6. Had a run this evening?

Eat scrambled eggs and vegetables in a wholewheat tortilla.

Why: Eat something substantial when you get in or you’ll be starving at midnight, says Antonucci. Eggs aid recovery and veggies supply an extra serving of nutrients in case you fell short during the day.