In an ideal world, we'd finish our runs and have at least an hour to foam roll, stretch and prepare a nutritionally balanced meal. But this is real life, and sometimes you barely have time for a banana and a swipe of deodorant. Refueling after a hard workout is key, so if you only have a few minutes to prep food, it's important to make them count. Take a look at our suggestions and then choose a food (or two) that fits your individual needs and dietary preferences.
What to Eat If You Have Time for Moderate Food Prep
If you have five to 10 minutes, you might have time to make a more traditional meal. Something that takes minimal time and effort could be something like a fried egg and avocado slices on toast. With this combo you'll get a quick hit of carbs, protein and healthy fats, and it only takes as long as it takes to cook an egg before you'll be able to dig in.
With a little bit of prep the night before you can have overnight oats ready and waiting to go post run. A tried-and-true ratio is combining 1 cup of old fashioned oats with 1 cup of milk (dairy or an alternative), as well as 1/2 a cup of yogurt. Give it a good stir and let it sit a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Add in some fruit (raisins, chopped apples) and other goodies for flavor (cinnamon, maple syrup, nut butter). You could even make a few servings in advance and create a little stockpile. This is especially useful for food tracking purposes.
If you're more of an energy bite kind of runner, those are also an option. Prep everything on the weekend and you'll have post-run rocket fuel close at hand.
What to Eat If You Have Time for Minimal Food Prep
If you have five minutes (or less) to get food together, it's hard to beat a pouch of instant oatmeal. The Can't Beet Chocolate variety from Picky Bars is chock full of satiating protein and fiber (9 grams of each!) and comes in its own serving bowl. Just add boiling water and you'll be eating in three minutes.
Smoothies are another super fast way to get in nutrients. It's easy enough to throw together your own creation (try frozen banana, almond milk, peanut butter and spinach), but if you want to streamline the process even more, companies like Daily Harvest ship frozen, ready-to-eat smoothie cups right to your door.
What to Eat If You're Already Five Minutes Behind Schedule
Some days you have zero time for cooking or prepping, but there's still a need for quality fueling. Bars are a good choice if you're on the go. Choose a minimally processed option like Rx Bar (the only ingredients are egg whites, almonds, cashews and dates). A banana and a squeeze pack of nut butter is another quick option that you can keep stashed in your workbag, desk or car. If all else fails, grab eight to 16 ounces of chocolate milk and a piece of fruit. If it's winter and you're headed through the drive through, a homemade hot chocolate totally counts!
Fueling post-run is important, but it doesn't have to be time consuming if you make the right choices.