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Healthy snack tips for games and practices

Are you unsure about how to fuel before a practice or game?  Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and p1440 Nutrition Expert Kathleen West shares some helpful tips below on how to approach pre-game and pre- practice snacks. To hear Kathleen’s full Expert Talk on how to hydrate and eat to perform become an Expert Talk Member.

First and foremost, treat snacks like an essential piece of gear and include snack options in your gear bag or backpack at all times.  The key is to consume snacks that contain complex carbs and protein, are high in water content and have minimal fat.  Be mindful of your portion size because snacks are not a meal.  If you eat too little before practice and games, you will bonk.  If you eat too much, you can feel fatigued, nauseous and even experience a “food coma” because your body is working so hard at digesting what you consumed.  

If you snack 1-2 hours before working out or playing, it is safe to consume snacks that are higher in healthy fats, but it is ideal to eat a carb and/or protein snack 30-60 mins before practicing and playing.  Fueling your body with a healthy snack will optimize performance and minimize muscle damage.  Practices are also a good time to test meals and snacks to figure out the best combination that works best for you on game day!

Take the time to plan your snacks and meals in advance for optimal performance.  Here are some grab-n-go snack suggestions to consume prior to practices and games and/or to pack in your gear bag:

  • Good quality protein bars 1
  • 2 oz antioxidant/protein shake
  • Greek yogurt (single serving and add a low-sugar granola)
  • Nut butter and banana on whole grain bread
  • Nuts
  • Grapes, apples, berries
  • Whole fruits & nut butters
  • Nut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread 

Pro tip: Did you know that gut health leads to great brain health?  The healthier foods you consume, the more clarity you will have throughout the day and the more focused and energetic you will be in school and at practices and games.  And don’t forget to hydrate all day long - both your brain and body need a lot of water, especially those of an athlete like you!  More on hydration in a separate Beach Volleyball 101 blog!

Take this quick quiz to learn more about your eating and hydration habits. p1440 Nutrition Expert Kathleen West will be analyzing your results to create a nutrition plan that is tailored for your needs.