The 6 Best Small Meals to Eat Before a Run

Make it: Top 1 salted rice cake with 1 tablespoon of almond butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of toasted unsweetened coconut flakes.

Less than an hour: Use half the almond butter.

PLUS: The 15 Best Foods for Runners

Sweet Potato with Freshly Grated Parmesan (Calories: 150)

Sweet potatoes are an easily digestible carb and a great source of fiber, which helps you feel fuller than you would after eating the same amount of, say, white rice, says Koszyk. If you suffer from GI issues, you can shave a gram of fiber by tossing the potato skin. Even without the skins, these spuds are nutritional workhorses, boasting vitamins A, C and B6 and almost as much potassium per cup as a banana. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps stave off fatigue and muscle cramps during a run.

More: Santa Fe Sweet Potato Recipe

Make it: Top half of a small baked sweet potato with 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh chives, oregano, thyme or a mix of these herbs.

Less than an hour: Use a quarter potato and half the cheese.

PLUS: 6 Best Brain Foods for Runners

90 Minutes Out

Open-Faced Smoked Turkey Sandwich (Calories: 170)

Koszyk views this streamlined lunch staple as a go-to choice for avoiding a mid-morning pre-run pastry or a midday cookie. Here, flavorful smoked turkey and mashed avocado eliminate the need for less nutritious, high-calorie condiments like mayo or aioli. The avocado also contains potassium, which aids muscle function. If you can't find smoked turkey, opt for fresh roasted turkey or chicken instead of fattier lunch meats like salami or bologna.

More: 5 Pre-Race Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid

Make it: Top one slice of whole-wheat toast with 1/8 mashed avocado (or 2 tablespoons), a grind or two of black pepper, 2 slices of tomato and 1 slice smoked turkey.

60 minutes out: Use white or sourdough bread; skip the avocado and tomato; use 1/2 teaspoon spicy mustard.

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Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Chicken (Calories: 240)

Buckwheat soba noodles are slightly higher in carbs than pasta but with a nutty, earthy flavor. And if the noodles are made with 100 percent buckwheat flour, they're also gluten-free. The sesame seeds provide 7 percent of the recommended daily value of iron per 1-tablespoon serving, a hard-to-get nutrient that can leave runners fatigued if their levels become too low.

More: 5 Gluten-Free, High-Carb Meals for Runners

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