Healthy Snacks to Fuel
the Soccer Athlete

Snacking can be a great tool to improve energy levels and fuel athletes for practice. First, frequent meals and snacks keep your body energized and your blood sugar stable. Second, having a healthy snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon will help you from feeling famished at the next meal. Finally, eating snacks opens the door to include more nutrient-rich foods throughout the day, such as fruit, yogurt, almonds and high-fiber granola bars.

Stay away from snacks that are loaded with sugar and/or fat. Snack foods high in sugar spike your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling tired shortly after. High-fat snacks tend to sit in your stomach and make you feel full and bloated. Plus, many processed snacks have little vitamins, minerals or nutrient-rich qualities. Here are five snacks to limit:

  • Regular chips
  • High sugar snacks like pop tarts and candy bars
  • Packaged cookies and pastries
  • Soda
  • Energy drinks

So, what should your snacks consist of? Every snack should have two parts. First, all snacks should have some form of high-fiber carbohydrate such as a fruit, an oat-based granola bar, or a serving of 100-percent whole-wheat crackers/pretzels. Carbohydrate is the body's number one source of energy and your main source of fuel for working out. Thus, carbohydrate should be eaten at every meal and snack throughout the day.

However, that is not all! Make sure your snack has a lean protein or healthy fat such as Greek yogurt, 2-percent string cheese, almonds, natural peanut butter, beef jerky, or even avocado. Protein and fat slow down digestion and help you feel full faster and stay satisfied longer. Check out five healthy 200-300 calorie snack options that you can take to school or eat as a pre-workout snack:

  • 1 serving of whole wheat crackers and 2 oz. 2-percent cheese
  • 1 high-fiber granola bar, 15 almonds, and a yogurt
  • 6 oz low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 cup berries, and ¼ cup low-fat granola
  • 1 large apple and 2 Tbs. natural peanut butter
  • 1 whole wheat pita, 1-2 oz turkey, and a ¼ cup avocado

For more information from Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Dietician visit TexasHealth.org/SportsNutrition

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