What you eat before, during, and after a game can affect the way you perform. Make an unwise decision such as overeating before a game or consuming food with too much fiber can lead to cramps or worse, have you running off the field to find the nearest bathroom. This is why it’s wise to know what pre-game, halftime, and post-game snacks are most advised.
Game-day snacks for your team should be easy and portable. Pre-game snacks should be easily digested carbohydrate or perhaps a little fat a protein. They’re met to give you fuel when your tank is on empty. And they should be light enough to be eaten at least 30 minutes before a game without feeling heavy in your stomach. Here are some great pre-game snack ideas:
Homemade Trail Mix
Nuts, like almonds, cashews, and peanuts, provide protein and healthy fats. And when you mix them with a source of simple carbs such as dried fruit, granola or bits of pretzels, you’ve got a delicious treat. To make your own trail mix, combine almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and walnuts which are high in good fat and protein and mix them with dried cranberries and raisins or your favorite dried fruit. Other ingredients you may want to throw in the mix to give them that delicious salty-sweet combo are dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, peanut butter chips, and chocolate chips.
Here are some other great pre-game snacks:
- Melon/Cantaloupe slices
- Fruit jerky
- Beef jerky
Similar to pre-game snacks, half-time snacks shouldn’t be too complex. However, they should be more focused on keeping your team hydrated. Ensure they are drinking plenty of water. Avoid salty foods that will dehydrate them rather than rehydrate. Here are some of the best half-time snack suggestions:
- Bananas – cut in half for younger kids so they can peel them quickly
- Orange – have them sliced up so kids don’t have to spend time peeling them
- Grapes – fresh grapes are great. For a refreshing treat, try frozen ones. Don’t serve to kids under age 5.
- Melon – serve in small slices or chunks
- Apple or pear – cut into wedges and sprinkled with orange juice to prevent browning
- Berries – most berries are fine except for cherries since the pits can cause a mess
Immediately following a game or intense practice, athletes need lots of fluids to replace what they’ve lost to sweat. Milk, particularly chocolate milk, and water are good choices. If they’ve been sweating and it is very hot outside, players also need potassium and sodium. That’s why sports drinks include electrolytes in their formula. But remember, there’s a big difference between energy drinks and sports drinks.
Your athletes will be hungry after their big game and need nutrients to replenish them. If their next big meal is quite a wait away, be sure to give them post-game snacks. Here are some great ideas:
- Apple and orange slices. These will fill up the kids with fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
- Carrot sticks
- Bananas are loaded with potassium
- Low-fat yogurt sticks.
- Trail mix.
- Applesauce squeezers.
- Granola bars. These are packed with whole grains, nuts, and sometimes dried fruit.
With any snacks on game day, think about foods that are first of all, healthy. And remember that they should be able to last while in a cooler for hours without spoiling.