Snacking: An Athlete’s Best Friend

August 30, 2022

As the new school year ramps up, high school and college athletes are getting ready for their seasons to kick off and they need the proper fuel to do it! I often get the question, “what should I eat?” from athletes, or
“what should I be giving my child?” from the parents of athletes. While it sounds like a simple question, it really is one of the most important. Proper fueling is critical for athletes and, therefore, snacking is essential for this group of individuals.

Healthy, high-quality, nutrient-dense snacks are key to achieving peak performance. They can be quick, easy, and affordable. Below are a number of great choices, depending on whether you’re looking for a light, moderate, or heavy snack. Which type of snack you (or your athlete) are looking for will depend on hunger level, time of day, and whether it is pre- or post- workout. Typically, light snacks will be geared toward morning and pre workout, while moderate ones will be afternoon snack and post-workout, and heavy snacks also post-workout and in the evening. These are all simply generalizations, however, as listening
to one’s own hunger cues and body are most important.

Light Snack

Moderate Snack

Heavy Snack

Fresh fruit

Fruit with peanut butter


Raisins and other dried fruit

Grahamcrackers with peanut butter

       -peanut butter and jelly

Frozen fruit

Trail mix

       -lean deli meat


Sunflower seeds

       -grilled chicken

Graham crackers



Dry cereal

Cereal with milk

Cheese and




Low-fat Greek yogurt

Low-fat string cheese


Granola bar



Low-fat pudding

Greek yogurt parfait


Freeze-dried edamame

Fig/fruit bars; Granola bars



Veggies/pretzels with hummus






Yogurt smoothies



Low-fat chocolate milk



As an athlete, remember that keeping well fed and well hydrated are important keys to success. To get the best out of your body, you need to put the best into it!

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