June 11, 2020

Snacking For An Athlete

Snacking is an important part of any athletes fueling plan. Incorporating snacks into your day can help keep your metabolism running and energy levels high. When you go 4-5 hours without eating, your blood sugar levels can drop, leaving you feeling weak and tired!

Snacking ensures adequate fuel for performance, muscle recovery, and mental health. Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, so talk to a Registered Dietitian about how many snacks/day would be recommended for you and your lifestyle.

The best types of snacks for athletes are nutrient rich. They may include whole grains, lean sources of protein, and satisfying healthy fats. Creating and selecting a snack comes down to several factors; hunger level, pre/post workout, time of day, and weight goals. All of these factors will influence the size and substance of your snack. You can think about it from these three perspectives:

  • Light Snack: These snacks are the ones that you may have an hour before dinner or pre-workout! They are going to be more carb based, to get your blood sugar and energy level back up!
    • Examples: apple, banana, dried fruit, dry cereal, pretzels, granola bar, or crackers.
  • Moderate Snack: I recommend these between meals most often! They are usually paired, starting with a protein source, and then adding in a carb, fat, fruit, or vegetable! For most of the athletes we work with, we recommend they eat 2-3 moderate snacks/day.
    • Examples: apple and peanut butter, graham crackers and almond butter, Greek yogurt with berries, or hummus and pretzels.
  • Heavy Snack: These are also considered, “mini-meals.” These types of snacks are meant to tide you over for hours. This may be a situation where you won’t be home for dinner for 4-5 hours and you need a bigger boost to get you through your afternoon or school work or practice.
    • Examples: PB&J sandwich, cheese & crackers, omelet, or a panini.

The best way to fuel your body properly is to plan ahead. Keep some bars, and non-perishable snack items in your backpack or gym bag. You can also put some snacks together the night before the work/school day in Tupperware containers. You want to establish a routine, providing yourself with nutrients every 3-4 hours to prevent yourself from getting over-hungry.



Sample Day:

Time Meal
7:30am Breakfast
10:00am Morning (Moderate Snack)
12:30pm Lunch
3:15pm Afternoon Snack (Moderate Snack)
6:30pm Dinner
9:00pm Evening Snack (Light Snack)