Food and Your Run Commute

When you’re running to work, it’s often tricky to prepare and transport nutritious snacks and meals. What works best for me is to keep snacks well-stocked at work, and focus on bringing in smaller meals each day (I tend to not go out for lunch since I’m cheap). This method minimizes the amount you need to carry on your run, while still providing you with the nutrition you need during the day. This works best if you have a set day of the week that you plan on biking or driving, but is still feasible for those who run everyday (just dedicate one day to restocking snacks and double up on lunches another day).

The space and resources you have at work will affect the foods you can keep there; for instance, I like to keep fresh veggies and some plain yogurt in the fridge and a variety of snacks in my desk. If you have access to space in a fridge, make the most of it. You could even bring in your lunches for the week on Monday–provided you have the foresight to make it all ahead of time, which is something I have a hard time doing. For something simpler, hard boiled eggs and fresh or frozen fruits and veggies make excellent additions to meals at work.

If you don’t have access to a fridge, there are still plenty of options for foodstuffs to keep at work. Some desk-friendly snacks for runners include:

  • Almonds and other nuts

  • Peanut butter

  • Apples and oranges (for the short-term)

  • Dried fruit

  • Trail mix and granola

I also keep a bowl and set of bamboo flatware at work to avoid wasting paper and plastic products, as well as individual tea packets (for iced tea right now).

Here’s part of my set-up at work:

One of my favorite work snacks is homemade instant oatmeal. Since I prepare it myself, I know exactly what goes into it, and I can tailor it according to my tastes. It also takes about five minutes to prepare, and is cheap to boot!

Instructions (adapted from the Kitchn):

  1. Place one-third of a container of instant or old-fashioned oats into a blender or food-processor. Blend until they reach a powdery consistency.

  2. Combine the powder with the remaining oats in a large bowl, then add a pinch of salt and up to two tablespoons of sugar, depending on your desired level of sweetness. Honey or agave would also be a yummy addition, but I would add those right before you eat, instead of during the initial preparation.

  3. Add in your favorite flavoring components–dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, cocoa powder, etc.–and return entire mixture to original oat container.

  4. At work, add three-fourths of a cup of hot water to a half-cup portion of the oatmeal. Let stand for around three minutes, then enjoy!

I keep the entire container in my desk with a measuring cup, and scoop it out as necessary for breakfast or an afternoon snack. My favorite combination is dried wild blueberries, cinnamon, and flax meal.

Oatmeal–prior to adding water.

Readers… what do you suggest? Any tips you find useful for food preparation and transportation?

By |2016-10-22T20:27:00+00:00July 9th, 2011|Categories: General|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

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  1. Josh
    Josh July 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Awesome oatmeal recipe! I’m going to make some up this weekend for next week. I never realized how easy it was to make an instant version using regular old-fashioned oats. It will be a great addition to my breakfast routine. Here’s what I eat on a normal day if I bring a lunch:

    Before running: 1 bagel

    At work during cooldown: 1 Nature Valley peanut butter granola bar (protein replenishment) or a PBJ sandwich

    Lunch: Triple-decker sandwich/triscuit crackers/granola bar or leftovers

    Snacks in my office: Peanuts, boxes of crackers, peanut butter, jelly, bread

    All of the lunch items pack well in hard plastic containers IF they are packed tightly. If you put pretzels in a container and they aren’t packed right, most of the salt will fall off and they will be broken up quite a bit. Ziploc bags work best for things like that. You can take all the air out and pack them inside of packed clothing or in small pockets on your backpack.

  2. Kyle
    Kyle July 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Oatmeal is a staple! I keep a canister of old fashioned oats in my office. They take a minute or so longer to cook, but that isn’t bad. My secret is sweet potatoes. They are tasty and easy to cook. Just vent them open and pop them in the microwave for 6-8 minutes. Best of all, they stay good forever, so they are a still-edible and always delightful surprise whenever I discover one long forgotten in my desk drawer.

    • Sophie
      Sophie July 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Mmm… I like sweet potatoes with black beans and broccoli.

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