We've all heard how important it is to not skip out on breakfast but snacks are important too. You know you won't perform your best on an empty stomach. The catch is, if you eat too much, too close to practice, you'll probably get sick. You're best off snacking 30 minutes before practice to top off your energy and finesse those techniques. A good pre-game snack will give you easily digested carbohydrates (simple sugars, not complex carbs or fiber), and a little protein and fat. Ideally, your snack will be portable and capable of staying good for hours inside a backpack or locker.
1. Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches
It's a simple twist on a modern favorite that will stay fresh in your bag all day long. The combo of healthy fat and protein, along with the fiber from the whole grain bread, provides an athlete with the optimal combination of nutrients to keep [him or her] fueled for a longer workout.
2. Homemade Trail Mix
Nuts, like almonds, peanuts and cashews, provide protein and healthy fats. Mix them with a source of simple carbs, like dried fruit, granola or even bits of pretzels, and you've got the ideal combo. You can get creative here by mixing and matching tyour favorite ingredients. Pro tip: combine: almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and walnuts (good fat and protein), mixed with dried cranberries and raisins along with fresh granola.
3. Sports Nutrition Bar
Sports nutrition bars are great because they take the thinking and the prep time out of the equation . However, they can be expensive, and some have tastes or textures leave much to be desired. But with dozens of brands and flavors to choose from, you can experiment and find what works best for you.
4. Coconut Water and Protein Powder
Toss a bottle of coconut water and a zip-lock baggie with a scoop or two of your favorite protein powder in your gym bag before you leave for work or school, then down it an hour before practice starts. It's a great go-to for pre-workout because it's easily digested and increases your hydration. Coconut water is also high in potassium, which is important for muscle contractions."
5. Sports Drinks
Since they don't take long to digest, sports drinks will be in and out of your stomach faster than the solid foods on this list.
Another easily packed snack, pretzels are high in carbohydrates as well as sodium, which you lose through sweat. If you're too low on sodium, you're more likely to cramp.
This is an easy one. You can chomp down on fruit by itself when you're prepping for a workout. Some great options include:
- Bananas. They're high in potassium, which can help prevent cramping.
- Apples. An apple is high in sugar and packs a moderate amount of fiber—enough to make you feel satiated but not heavy.
- Melon/Cantaloupe Slices. If you can slice up a melon, the tougher skin will fare better in your backpack than more delicate fruits.
- Grapes. Toss a handful in a sandwich baggy and pop them in your mouth until you're comfortably full on your way to practice.