Five Pre-game Snacks for Sustaining Energy
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Jill Castle is a youth sports nutritionist and author of Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete. Jill advises young athletes to fuel with nutritious, wholesome food for peak performance. When choosing an energizing snack for young soccer players, Jill recommends foods that include nutrients, such as carbs and protein, eaten an hour before competition. Here are a few of her suggestions:
For young athletes who need an easy, grab-n-go option with nutrition important for game time, Clif Kid Z bars are a smart option. They feature whole grains, fiber, protein and fats while being free from artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Did we mention they are made with organic ingredients?
Gorp, a mixture of pretzels, whole grain cereal, nuts, seeds and/or dried fruit, is a top recommendation from Jill because it can be made at home and packaged in a container or small bag. Additionally, Gorp doesn’t need refrigeration and can be tailored to an athlete’s food preferences. Depending on the ingredients, Gorp may offer a blend of carbs, protein, fiber and fat.
A Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
An old-fashioned PB and banana on whole wheat bread provides the young athlete with a source of whole grains (a great source of complex carbs), plant-based fat, a moderate amount of protein, and fiber. Offer a half sandwich to the child athlete, and bump it up to a whole sandwich for the teen. If peanuts are a no-no, try a different nut butter or a seed-based butter.
Greek Yogurt and Granola
A great snack for soccer players before a game. Greek yogurt offers a blend of protein, fat (if low-fat, 2%, or whole types are used) and carbs in a convenient all-in-one package. Top it with granola to add crunch, fiber and more carbs.
Got a nervous stomach? A fruit-based smoothie is a great way to ensure quality nutrition is on board before a game. Liquids digest faster than solid food, and a smoothie is an easy way to incorporate nutrition for athletic performance. Blend frozen fruit with ½ - 1 cup of 100% juice and ¼ to ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt for a nutritious, easy to consume pre-game snack. Feeling adventurous? Toss in some fresh spinach leaves for some added iron.
Jill Castle, MS, RDN, is a pediatric dietitian/nutritionist and author of Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete. She pens The Nourished Child blog and is the voice behind The Nourished Child podcast. Learn more about Jill here.