If you’re a runner, you’re probably familiar with the “fourth meal.” No, not this one. . .

. . .the meal that comes after your run, but before your breakfast, lunch or dinner.

While you might be able to make it to your next sit-down meal after an easy two or three miler, if you’re heading out for a hard workout or a long run, you’ll need to refuel. Nancy Clark, dietitian and author of Nancy Clark’s Sport Nutrition Guidebook recommends eating both protein and carbs within one hour following a tough run in order to prevent sore muscles and fatigue.

So what should this illusive fourth meal look like?  (Hint: it probably shouldn’t be crunchy, spicy, melty or grilled). Instead, it’s best to reach for foods with the following three criteria. . .

1. A mix of carbs and protein (2:1 ratio is a good benchmark)

2. Easy to digest

3. Around 200 calories

Next time you come home from a draining workout, whip up this super shake to feel better in a flash. . .

Frosty, Yummy, Fruity, Blended Shake

1/2 c. mixed berries

1/2 c. frozen cherries

1/2 banana

1 c. nonfat milk

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Enjoy!

So now we’re curious- what’s your favorite fourth meal?