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Best Snacks to Pack to Energize Athletes

Every athlete knows that nutrition plays a crucial role in performance. Properly fueling your body before, during, and after training or competition can make a significant difference in your energy levels, endurance, and recovery. While there are numerous sports supplements and energy drinks available, sometimes the simplest snacks can be the most effective. Let’s explore some of the best snacks for athletes to help them stay energized and at their best.


Nature’s energy bar, bananas are a fantastic choice for athletes. They’re rich in easily digestible carbohydrates, providing a quick source of energy. Additionally, bananas contain potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps and supports proper muscle function. Their natural sweetness makes them a favorite among athletes of all ages.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is a versatile and customizable snack that combines a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and sometimes chocolate or yogurt-covered items. The mix of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates in trail mix provides a sustained source of energy. Opt for a mix with almonds, walnuts, and cashews for healthy fats and protein, and add dried fruits like raisins or cranberries for a natural sweetness.

Greek Yogurt with Honey

Greek yogurt is packed with protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. It also contains probiotics for gut health. Adding a drizzle of honey provides quick-acting carbohydrates for energy and a touch of natural sweetness. Consider portioning yogurt into small containers and packing honey in a separate, sealed container to avoid sogginess.

Energy Bars

There are countless energy bars on the market, each catering to different dietary needs and flavor preferences. Look for bars that contain a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Brands like CLIF, KIND, and RXBAR offer a wide range of flavors and ingredients to suit your athlete’s tastes. For more of our recommendations on the best energy bars on the market, read our blog post here

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Combining whole-grain bread, peanut butter, and banana slices creates a well-rounded snack that provides carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. The banana adds natural sweetness and potassium, while the peanut butter delivers a dose of protein and healthy fats for sustained energy.

Carrot Sticks with Hummus

For a refreshing and nutrient-packed snack, carrot sticks paired with hummus are an excellent choice. Carrots are a good source of carbohydrates and vitamins, while hummus provides protein and healthy fats. This combination helps keep energy levels stable and provides essential nutrients.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are a compact source of protein and healthy fats. They also contain essential amino acids and vitamins like B6 and B12, which are crucial for energy production. You can prepare and pack hard-boiled eggs in advance for a convenient and protein-rich snack.


While oatmeal is often thought of as a breakfast option, it can also be a great snack. Oats are rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. You can prepare overnight oats or simply cook up a batch and pack it in a thermos or insulated container for a warm, hearty snack.

Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are a superfood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. When mixed with your athlete’s choice of milk (dairy or plant-based), chia seeds absorb the liquid and create a pudding-like texture. Add honey, fruit, or nuts for flavor and extra energy.

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruits like apples, oranges, and berries are natural sources of carbohydrates and vitamins. They’re easy to pack and require minimal preparation. The natural sugars in fruit provide a quick energy boost without the need for added sugars or artificial ingredients.

Packing the right snacks for your athlete can make a world of difference in their performance and overall well-being. These snacks provide the essential nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats needed to sustain energy levels during training and competitions. Remember to stay hydrated with water or a sports drink, and consider individual dietary preferences and restrictions when selecting snacks.

Encourage your athlete to experiment with different combinations to find the snacks that work best for them. Whether it’s a banana before practice, trail mix during a long run, or Greek yogurt and honey between events, these energizing snacks will help your athlete reach their full potential and perform at their best.

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About the author: 

Amy Masters is a sports mom, coach, and club administrator. She has been coaching youth sports for more than 10 years. She started Jr Lions Field Hockey, the youth recreation program for the Hunterdon County community growing it from 40 players in year 1 to 150 players by year 3. A few years later, she saw the love and competitiveness grow then started Omega Field Hockey Club serving NJ and PA players. Prior to coaching, she was a collegiate field hockey player for Lock Haven University. In her spare time (lol), she is head of marketing for iSport360, where she brings her love of sports to a bigger audience. 

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October 19, 2023

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