Nutritious Snacks for Athletes

Busy families with athletes always need easily accessible and nutritious snacks on hand.

Keep it simple and involve athletes for best results.

Fruit is an ideal snack for athletes.  

It is simple, nutritious, and provides quick energy for the athlete's caloric expenditure. 

Take time to ask about your athlete's favorite fruits and keep them readily available.

Pre-training, pre-event and competition snacks can be similar. 

Always experiment with snacks during routine practice sessions. 

Never try anything new or different right before or during meets, games, competition, etc.

Ideally, pre-workout snacks should include mostly carbohydrates (about 30-60 grams or 120-160 calories) approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour before practice or events.  If athletes find that fruit is not filling or long-lasting enough, a little protein (5-15 grams) paired with carbohydrates may be desired.

Simple Snack Suggestions 

Don't forget to involve the athlete!

  • Apples and Nut Butter
  • Applesauce
  • Apple Slices and Almonds (or favorite nut)
  • Bananas/Nut Butter 
  • Banana and Walnuts (or favorite nut)
  • Sandwich (PB and J/ Turkey and cheese on whole grain bread)
  • Grapes/Boxed Raisins/Fruit Leathers without added sugar 
  • Berries
  • Berries and Pistachios (or favorite nut)
  • Homemade Energy Bites no-bake bites
  • Granola bars
  • Yogurt/Fruit Parfait 
  • Oranges and Kale (TRY IT!)
  • Fresh Fruit Cups 
  • Pears and Cheese Squares
  • Trail Mix (blend of favorite dried fruits and nuts)

There are countless healthy choices if we make time to think through snacks and plan ahead.  


We can't talk about snacks without discussing hydration! 

Proper hydration is critical for peak performance.  Drinking water MUST be part of the athlete's lifestyle.  We can't expect to see results in sport performance if we only consume adequate fluid intake on competition days.

Optimal performance occurs when we routinely have good habits.  Athletes, depending on age and training requirements, need approximately 8-10 glasses (~10-12 ounces each) of water daily.

Additional Hydration Reminders:

  • Drink 12-32 ounces 2-4 hours before competition or training.
  • Consume 8-12 ounces 30 minutes before competition.
  • Drink 8-12 ounces 1 hour before training.
  • Sip 3-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes during competition. 
  • Consume 12-16 ounces (at least) directly after competition. SO IMPORTANT!!!

Avoid the following during training and competition:

  • Processed Foods/Refined Sugary foods 
  • Dairy 
  • High Fiber Foods (Beans, bran muffins)
  • Energy Drinks and Carbonated Beverages 
  • High Fat Foods (potato chips, donuts, hot dogs, fries)
  • Experimenting. Stick to what you know works.  It is best to try out new snacks and sports drinks before and during training rather than during performances.  Decide ahead of time what to incorporate during competition based on how you performed at practice.

Additional snack tips:

  • Applesauce or apples without peeling is often more easily digested.  
  • Cut apple into wedges and hold it together with a rubber band to prevent browning.
  • Combine fruit and nut butters with Whole Grain Bread or Rice Cakes if desired.
  • Cut sandwiches in fourths to eat smaller amounts at a time.
  • There are endless energy bite recipes on-line.  no-bake bites 
  • Watch for high amounts of added sugar in granola bars and yogurt.

I would love to know your favorite go-to healthy snacks! DM me on IG or email them to We can share them as part of our Lifestyling Athletic Performance community. 

Please let me know if you have any questions and/or what causes your biggest challenges related to snacking.

~Coach Marli