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    ​Nine best snacks for endurance athletes plus four to avoid

    Posted by James Eacott on

    Endurance athletes: do you know which snacks will best fuel training, boost recovery and improve health? Beware those which hinder performance and enjoy these nine best snacks for endurance.

    33fuel snacks for endurance athletes - cyclists

    The best snacks will improve endurance athletes’ performance and health

    Snacks for endurance athletes – four to avoid

    Before we dive into what you should snack on, here’s what to avoid:

    1. High sugar foods. Not only will a crash follow a short-lived energy spike, but unless you immediately burn the sugar, it’ll turn to fat. If maltodextrinacesulfame K and sucralose appear on the label, steer clear
    2. Processed foodsProcessed food increases inflammation, which is at the heart of all chronic diseases and a dead-cert to hinder endurance
    3. Baked goods. High in trans-fats, items like donuts and pastries wreak havoc on key health markers and provide no nutritional value
    4. Soft drinks. They’re high in sugar, sweeteners and chemicals no-one would recognise as real food. Avoid them, including ‘diet’ and ‘low calorie’ varieties

    Snacks for endurance athletes: Timing

    Your snack choices should reflect your training demands. A mid-afternoon snack before a high intensity evening session should include quality carbohydrates whereas a mid-morning snack on a recovery day would focus more on quality protein and fat.

    While keeping  nutrient density front and centre during your snack selection, here are nine snacks for endurance athletes.

    Snacks for endurance athletes #1: Protein shake

    Our ‘to be avoided’ list included high sugar items. Well, that rules out 99% of protein shakes, but there is one you might not have tried yet: the  33Fuel Premium Protein packs 20g protein per serving and contains just six ingredients:

    1. Pea protein
    2. Coconut sugar
    3. Organic raw cacao
    4. Organic banana
    5. Organic rice protein
    6. Organic sunflower protein

    33fuel snacks for endurance athletes - premium protein

    Premium Protein. Have you ever tried a 100% natural protein shake?

    Snacks for endurance athletes #2: Rice cakes

    Rice cakes are a classic for endurance athletes from Chris Froome to Jan Frodeno for good reason.

    33fuel snacks for endurance athletes - rice cakes

    Rice cakes are a staple snacks for pro endurance athletes

    They’re nutrient-rich and provide the perfect base on which to adorn your favourite topping:

    • Peanut butter. High in healthy polyunsaturated fats and Vitamin E, peanut butter makes a great topping. Ensure your PB is 100% peanuts with no additives like sugar, oil or salt. Upgrade by adding a sliced banana for a real winner
    • Hummus. Super-nutritious hummus is high in fibre, protein and anti-inflammatory nutrients plus it’s low GI to stabilise energy levels. Don’t go for reduced fat varieties which are often higher in sugar
    • Avocado. A nutrient powerhouse, avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids crucial for heart health. They’re also loaded with potassium, fibre and a range of vitamins and minerals. Slice it, smash it or lump it on whole
    • Cottage cheese. Smooth texture and subtle taste, cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium – ideal for post-session recovery

    Snacks for endurance athletes #3: Nuts and seeds

    Nuts and seeds are high in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids promoting heart health and a fortified immune system. They're also high in protein for recovery.

    Avoid salted or drizzled-in-honey varieties and keep it real! Good options include

    Discover the 7 best nuts for endurance

    Note that nuts and seeds are high in calories so keep portions small if you're trying to shed weight.

    Snacks for endurance athletes #4: Greek yoghurt

    Lower in sugar than regular yoghurt, the Greek version is packed with protein, probiotics and vitamin B12, making it an ideal recovery snack. It’s versatile too: add your favourite nuts, seeds or fruit to keep it interesting.

    Snacks for endurance athletes #5: Hummus

    Dip raw veggies like peppers, carrots or celery into hummus for a low-calorie, nutrient dense. Bump up your carbs by spreading hummus on whole-grain crackers or pita bread.

    Snacks for endurance athletes #6: Healthy sports nutrition

    Sports nutrition? You mean gels and protein bars”? I hear you question. You’re right to ponder this one given how much cr@p goes into most sports nutrition these days.

    Don’t even get us started!

    How good would it be to have a sports nutrition gel that’s not only good for performance and health but tasty too? Well, our  chia energy gel is just that. High in good fats, fibre and packing protein, our chia energy gel won’t just boost race day performance - enjoy the slow-release energy as a mid-afternoon snack to get you through the final few hours in the office.

    33fuel snacks for endurance athletes - chia energy gel

    An energy gel that doubles up as an all-natural, healthy snack

    Snacks for endurance athletes #7: Fruit

    All fruit is good, but endurance athletes should focus on those that moderate blood sugar levels such as:

    • Raspberries
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
    • Melon
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Kiwi

    Snacks for endurance athletes #8: Oats

    Oats are a nutrient powerhouse high in slow-release carbs and fibre and, unknown to most, also a good source of protein. Oats sit low on the glycaemic index meaning you’ll enjoy stable, sustained energy levels.

    33fuel snacks for endurance athletes - oats

    Oats make for a nutritious, versatile snack for endurance athletes

    Soak oats in your favourite milk, add half a banana and a sprinkling of cinnamon for a tasty, nutritious pre or post workout snack.

    Snacks for endurance athletes #9: Dark chocolate

    When you need a chocolate fix, go dark - aim for 70% and above. Dark chocolate lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and it’s flavanols have been shown to reduce inflammation. But like nuts, keep the portion size under control!

    Snacks for endurance athletes - conclusion

    Be mindful when selecting snacks and ensure your they are:

    1. Nutrient dense
    2. Geared towards supporting your training demands
    3. Are good for your overall health
    4. Varied enough to keep you satisfied

    More performance boosting content

    From the Vlog – How to run 100 miles (fast) on a low carb diet

    33fuel snacks for endurance athletes - zach bitter

    From the Podcast – Meet every endurance athletes’ dream coach

    From the Blog

    7 best nuts for endurance

    Sugar in sports nutrition

    Inflammation and food – what’s the deal?

    Nutrient density and sports performance

    Acesulfame K – about as natural as plastic

    Sports nutrition’s toxic twelve

    33Fuel, the new home of 33Shake, Learn More >