My Top 5 Snacks for Runners

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Crafted by Mikey

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Every good runner knows that if you want to run your best then you’ll need to fuel your body properly, and this doesn’t just mean breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Choosing the right snacks for before, during and after your training can make a huge difference to your performance as well as your recovery. Stick with me for the next couple of minutes and I’ll share my top five snacks for runners.

Pre – Training Snacks

I’m assuming you’ve already eaten a good sized meal about 3 hours before you want to run. These two snack suggestions are for about 30-60 minutes before you start your run. They’re both pretty light so as not to leave you feeling sluggish during your run. The idea of both snacks is to give you some quick, sugary, carbohydrate-based energy ready for your run.

1)  Jam and Toast

Yep, nothing fancy here, just good old fashioned fruit jam on top of toast. You can use brown or white bread (it honestly doesn’t make much of a difference.)  It’s super simple to prepare as you only need a toaster or grill, and you can have an energy filled snack ready in under 5 minutes.

Toast and jam

 You can also use honey as a substitute for jam, it’s just as delicious and will give you some quick acting sugary energy.

2) Chocolate and Cherry Granola Bar

If you’ve got a bit of spare time then why not try making this delicious, high energy pre-running recipe?

Making granola

You’ll need…

  • Two cups of chocolate chips (dark chocolate is best)
  • One cup of granola
  • Two tablespoons of orange zest
  • One tablespoon of cinnamon
  • Half a cup of tart cherries (dried)
  • One-quarter cup of coarse salt

To make the granola bar

  1. Start by melting your chocolate chips, then stir in the granola, cinnamon and orange zest. Pour into a shallow tray and then sprinkle with your cherries and salt.
  2. Put the whole lot in the fridge to chill until it’s firm (this usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes)

During Training

If you’ve been running for over an hour then your glycogen stores will be starting to deplete. Lower glycogen stores means lower energy, poorer performance and generally just feeling like you don’t want to go on. This is where ‘intra-workout’ nutrition comes in, which is just a fancy way of saying things you can eat during your workout. Some examples that I’ve seen in action include gummy bears, marshmallows, and other easily transportable sweets.


If you’re trying to avoid junk food then the idea of stuffing your face with gummy bears probably isn’t inspiring you right now. Instead, why not try my next suggestion?

3) Sports Gels

These sneaky little pouches are neither liquid nor solid. They’re a purpose made gel comprised of fast digesting fructose and maltodextrin. They’ll get your energy levels back up in no time, plus they come in a variety of flavors. Don’t worry, though, I know that eating a super sciency gel isn’t going to be for everyone, so let me introduce you to my personal favorite intra-workout snack…

4) Dried Fruit Mega-Mix

The obvious answer to getting some fast digesting sugars in the middle of your run is to take some fruit with you. The problem, however, is that most fresh fruit gets bashed about and ruined long before you eat it. Dried fruit, on the other hand, is really sturdy, plus it won’t spoil in the sun!

A bowl of dried fruits

For my mega-mix, I combine dried dates, dried raisins, and dried apricots. Though you could try pretty much anything you want; mango, apple, pineapple, banana, orange, you’re only really limited by your own imagination!


Since protein helps to repair and build muscle, we want to make sure we get plenty of it after our workout is finished; this next recipe will help you do just that.

5) Fig Protein Balls

You Will Need…

  • 1 and a half cups of dried figs (with their stems trimmed)
  • One-third of a cup of protein powder (chocolate or orange works great!)
  • One-quarter of a cup of cocoa powder
  • One-quarter of a cup of any nut butter
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • The zest of one orange
  • The juice of half an orange
  • A pinch of salt

Instruction time…

  1. First, you’ll need to soften your figs by soaking them in hot water for about half an hour.
Protein balls
  1. Next, you’ll need to drain them, dry them out and put them in a food processor with the rest of your ingredients.

Roll your completed mixture into balls.

Feeling hungry yet?

There you go, five simple but effective snacks to boost your energy, improve your running performance and help you recover. Hopefully, my top five snacks have got your taste buds going. Just don’t forget that you’ve got to go out and earn those snacks!  These are designed to fuel your training, so if you’re not training then you won’t be burning off all the extra energy they give you.

Which snack will you try first?

43 thoughts on “My Top 5 Snacks for Runners”

  1. These are great snacks for my daughter after hours of basketball every day and she always likes something different.

  2. Woah, all these snacks look wonderful. I so want to grab a couple of fig protein balls right away.

  3. All these suggestions sound perfect! I’d especially to try the chocolate and cherry granola bars and those fig protein balls!

  4. Jam and toast is wonderful any old time! But sounds wonderful right before a run (or in my case, a walk). Get ideas — thanks!

  5. i don’t know why, but recently i’ve been really into toast with jam. toasted in a pan with a touch of butter, sprinkled with salt and slathered with jam… not really a snack pre-workout for me since i’ve been using it as an any time kind of snack (oops), but so. good.

  6. Ok so I may not be a runner but I saw the work ‘snacks’ and came running 😉 . I especially like the Fig Protein Balls and toast is always a good back up. Take care.

  7. So impressed with all this nutritious knowledge you share mixed with running. I would just want the Fig Protein Balls all the time lol.

  8. I just love your fig protein balls although the granola bars would be a healthy and delicious treat as well. Great suggestions, thanks Agness 8)

  9. i haven’t gone for many (er…any) jogs since i got pregnant, but as a long-time runner, i love your suggestions here!

  10. Those 5 are all good choices..
    but here was my diet back when I was a marathoner.

    On a daily basis, I used to eat strict Oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Because Oatmeal has low sodium.

    The night before marathon, I used to go out for some good pasta. But not too much. You don’t want to get bloated or be having spend too much time in the toilet in the morning and end up being late to the start line.

    When I run my 26 miles, I usually avoid the Sports Gel stuff that the volunteers hand out each mile and I’d eat just the oranges. The reason I avoid sports gel is it doesn’t have any effect on me. It may work on somebody else but to me it’s just a tasteless gooey.
    Always go for oranges or bananas or pretzels, because you can eat them incrementally while you’re running and the volunteers hand them out at each mile.
    I have a fannypack around my waist and in that I’d have my wallet, keys, and tylenol in case I get lightheaded.


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