Running is a demanding physical activity that can take a toll on your body, particularly when you push yourself to reach ambitious goals.

To stay on top of your game, it’s important to find the right fuel for your body before and after a run. Fruits are a great choice of food to snack on before or after a run.

The best fruits for runners are those that are rich in carbohydrates, electrolytes, antioxidants and other essential nutrients for peak performance.

Read more to find out which fruits are the most beneficial for runners and when you should eat them. You can use the calorie calculator to help you get an idea of how much calories you need daily.

1. Bananas

Delicious and nutrition-packed, bananas are considered one of the best fruits for runners. They contain a great balance of energy-boosting carbohydrates and muscle-strengthening potassium, making them an ideal pre-run snack that will leave you feeling energised and ready to hit your running goals.

They’re also rich in B vitamins, which can help reduce tiredness and fatigue during intense runs.

Calories of banana: A banana contains 105 calories and 27 grams of carbohydrates. It has a small amount of fat – 0.4 grams -on which only 0.1g is saturated fat, with rest being polyunsaturated fat. There is no trans fat present in bananas.

2. Apples

Apples are one of the best snacks for runners to eat before and after a workout. They provide essential carbohydrates which give you energy, as well as flavonoids such as quercetin which help increase endurance.

Post-workout, apples help accelerate recovery by reducing muscle soreness and swelling, acting as a natural anti-inflammatory. In addition, they are light snack, making them the perfect pre-run snack!

Calories of apple: An average size apple contains a total of 104 calories, with 27.6 grams coming from carbohydrates and 4.8 grams from dietary fiber.

3. Grapes

Grapes are another great pre-and post-run fruit, as they’re packed with carbohydrates for energy and plenty of antioxidants to help combat potential muscle soreness.

Having a few grapes before going out for a run can give your body an extra boost of energy, whilst after the run they can help you rehydrate and fight fatigue.

They’re also low in calories which is great news for those watching their weight.

Calories of grape: Grapes are very low in calories, with a single grape containing just 3 calories – regardless of whether it is a red or green one.

4. Oranges

Oranges are full of energy-replenishing carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Eating one before a run can give your body the extra fuel it needs to power through a session – and afterwards you can enjoy their natural sugars to help recharge.

Don’t forget that oranges contain lots of fibre too; they’re one of the most fiber-dense fruits available!

Calories of orange: An orange has an approximate weight of 140g and contains 73 calories, 1.3g of protein, 16.5g of carbohydrates, and very little fat at just 0.2g.

5. Strawberries

Delicious and nutritious, strawberries are high in antioxidants – perfect for combatting any oxidative stress caused by workouts.

They’re also full of vitamin C, which helps your body to use energy efficiently.

Alternatively, you can roast or freeze them and add them to a smoothie – something that can help speed up recovery time after a run.

Calories of strawberry: Strawberries are low in calories, with only 53 calories per cup of sliced, fresh strawberries. Each 166 gram serving contains no fat and very little carbohydrates and protein.

6. Papayas

When it comes to boosting your performance as a runner, papaya is one fruit that shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only is papaya a great source of essential nutrients like antioxidants and protein-breaking enzymes, but it can also help prevent post-workout muscle cramps.

With its tropical flavour and health benefits of eating papaya, papaya should definitely be on your list of go-to fruits when you need that extra boost during a run!

Calories of papaya: A medium-sized papaya, or approximately 275 grams, is estimated to contain 119 calories. It also contains 1.3 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates.

7. Beetroot

Beetroot juice is a great option for athletes, as studies have shown that it boosts performance. A study has found that cyclists who drank half a liter of beetroot juice before a 10-mile time trial were almost 3 percent faster than when they went without drinking any juice at all!

Additionally, these athletes experienced increased power output with each stroke due to the effects of the natural nitrates found in the beetroot juice.

Is it good to eat fruit after a workout?

Yes! Fruits provide essential vitamins, folate, and antioxidants, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, and natural sugar to help replenish the body after a tough exercise. Eating fruit can help provide energy and nutrients needed to restore the body and aid in recovery after physical activity.

Can I eat fruit before a workout?

Absolutely! Eating something like an apple, an orange or some other type of fruit is great for giving you the energy boost you need for your workout. Eating fruit before exercising has been shown to significantly improve performance. So go ahead and snack away on some of your favorite fruit before hitting the gym!

Is it better to eat fruit before or after a workout?

Eating fruit before a workout can provide your body with energy and nutrients it needs for physical activity. Having fruit afterwards can help replenish the glycogen in your muscles and help them recover from exercise, so eating some within two hours of working out is recommended. However, if it’s more than two hours away, having a snack containing carbohydrates and proteins is also beneficial.

Sandra Nielsen

Sandra is a certified running coach, a personal trainer and a certified sports nutrition coach by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She graduated with a Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education (Honours) and is also a writer for RunSociety providing expert tips on running, health and nutrition.

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