7 Super Snacks

By Amanda Carlos-Phillips
YSPN360 Performance Dietician

Set yourself up for a successful performance in your sport by focusing on what you eat — how you fuel your engine. Nutrition plays an essential role in young athletes, and having the right snacks ensures you’ll have the right fuel to perform.

No matter what sport you play, you and your coach always have a plan for the way you practice and play, right. Your nutrition — your nutritional plan — shouldn’t be any different.

 The Basics

The basic components of snacking start with the nutrients that our bodies need:

  • Complex, high-fiber carbohydrates for energy and fuel.
  • Proteins for muscle repair and that feeling of being full but not too full — satisfied.
  • Performance fats to protect the brain, stabilize energy, and help deliver specific nutrients to our cells.

Configure Your Needs

Next comes a little planning based on size, activity level and intention of the snack. The general rule is that the bigger you are, the larger the snacks need to be to maintain energy.

  • Protein needs for athletes are based on size. The typical needs for a high-school athlete are anywhere from 0.6 to 1.0g of protein per pound per day. So it makes sense that a 120-pound athlete needs less protein than a 150-pound athlete.
  • Carbohydrates are based on the fuel that you need.  Think of it like this: If you were to go on a long road trip, you would need more gas. If you have a long or intense practice, or a high-intensity game, you need more carbs. If it’s less intense, you need fewer carbs.

TOP 7 POST-WORKOUT OR GAME SNACKS (What to Pack in the Cooler)

The timing and composition of your post-workout snack is critical. Choose foods that help you refuel (carbohydrates), rebuild (protein) and rehydrate (water/electrolytes) within 15 to 60 minutes to ensure that you’re getting the most from your workout. Your post-workout protein needs are based off your size. Follow the 2-to-1 carbs-to-protein ratio in your post-workout snack to enhance your body’s recovery and regeneration process to get you ready for your next event. Use the chart below to determine the right amount of protein and carbohydrate for your size. As for the rehydrate component of post-workout nutrition, be aware of how much water and electrolytes you are losing during training and competition. Check your weight before and after, and drink 20 ounces for every pound lost. Performance can be negatively impacted with the loss of even just two percent of your body weight, so be proactive while you work by drinking roughly every 15 minutes to offset these losses.

Below is a guide to the amount of muscle-building protein and energy-replenishing carbs you need after activity to optimize recovery.

Body Weight (lbs.) Protein (g) Carbs (g)
120-150 15-20 30-40
151-180 20-25 40-50
181-215 25-30 50-60
216-250 30-35 60-70

Here’s a list of post-workout/-game/-activity snack ideas that can be used to fulfill your nutritional needs:

1.  Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk has a great blend of carbohydrate and protein to refuel and rebuild.  Especially after a tough, high-energy event. It’s an easy way to help the body rehydrate, and the sodium in chocolate milk helps it be a great hydrator. Cocoa itself has remarkable health benefits for the heart and brain as well.

Serving size: 16 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk (1%)
Carbs: 45 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 4.5 grams
Calories: 280 or so

2. Cottage cheese with berries and water

Cottage cheese is an excellent protein source, and berries help round out your carbohydrate needs. Berries are also a natural source of fiber and antioxidants.  Cottage cheese also contains sodium, which can also help your body rehydrate — along with good-old H2O — after your workout!

Serving size: half-cup of 1% cottage cheese, half-cup blueberries, half-cup strawberries, half-cup raspberries, and 20 ounces of water per pound lost during training

Carbs: 30 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 2-3 grams
Calories: 200 or so

3. Whey Protein isolate (NSF-certified for sport) with water and frozen fruit

NSF-certified for sport ensures that the products you take are free of any banned substances.  One-hundred percent Whey Protein isolate is a fantastic way to get protein, especially when you are on the go. One scoop of this quickly absorbed protein has 21 grams of high-quality protein! Pair it with a banana or blend with frozen fruit, and you have a perfect post-game snack. Whey protein is high in the amino acid leucine, which signals the muscles to recover and repair after a workout.

Serving size: 1 scoop Whey Protein Isolate, 1 banana, blended with water and ice
Carbs: 27 grams
Protein: 21 grams
Fat: .5 grams
Calories: 200 or so

4. Yogurt with granola and berries, water

Yogurt provides the body with a great protein source as well as probiotics. Pack a baggie of granola and blueberries to refuel, a quarter cup of each. Blueberries contain many vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that support your heart and brain health, as well as blood-sugar management.

Serving size: half-cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt, quarter-cup granola, quarter-cup blueberries, and 20 ounces of water for every pound lost during your workout

Carbs: 30 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 5-6 grams
Calories: 230 or so

5. Deli-sliced turkey, banana, water

Turkey provides the body with a great source of protein, and a banana provides potassium, fiber and carbohydrate. These two together make for an easy grab-and-go, post-workout snack. Turkey also provides the body with iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins.

Serving size: Three slices of turkey, a banana, and 20 ounces of water for every pound lost during your workout

Carbs: 30 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Calories: 190 or so

6. Tuna, crackers, apple, water

Tuna is a great source of protein. Top it on whole-wheat crackers, with an apple on the side, and that rounds out your carbohydrate need to refuel. Fatty fish such as tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids thatprovide benefits to your cardiovascular system and brain. Tuna is an inexpensive way to get quality protein and some of these healthy fats!

Serving size: 2.5-3 ounces of tuna, five whole-wheat crackers, one small apple, and 20 ounces of water for every pound lost during training

Carbs: 30 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 4 grams
Calories: 216 or so

7. Hard-boiled eggs, veggies, apple, hummus, water

Hard-boiled eggs are one of the most biologically available proteins, meaning your body absorbs them really well. Veggies and an apple provide you with the carbs to refuel, and hummus is a delicious dip that gives fiber, protein and a little fat to round out your snack. Use raw veggies – baby carrots are easy — as a bonus for more nutrients.

Serving size: Two hard-boiled eggs, one small apple, three tablespoons of hummus, five baby carrots, and 20 ounces of water for every pound lost during training

Carbs: 35 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 13 grams
Calories: 317 or so

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