Healthful Snack Choices for Youth Sports

Did You Know?

Team snacks are a great way to fuel up after a practice or game, and are an ideal opportunity to teach young athletes about good nutrition. Remember, the goal of the game should not be the snacks at the end!

  • Eating healthy helps prevent injuries and improve muscle development.
  • Junk food is calorie rich, sugar loaded and nutrient poor — it provides no nutritional value to the body.
  • Soda is the #1 source of added sugar in children’s diets, followed closely by fruit drinks. Many of these beverages do not provide nutrients that support children’s growth and development.

Focus On These Points:

  • Emphasize food as fuel: Your body needs quality fuel in the form of food to keep it running properly and maximize performance!
  • Be a role model: Young athletes admire no one more than you; their parents, coaches, and other adults that influence their daily choices.
  • Stick with water: It’s cheap, easy, and their growing bodies can always use it! Sports drinks should be used after 60 minutes of moderate physical activity. Save the added sugar for that birthday party next week or Sunday dinner at Grandma’s.
  • Get your young athlete involved: Have them help cut fruit and vegetables, organize cheese cubes in baggies, write/decorate their teammate’s names on paper bags, or even go to the store along with you! Empower them to make their own health decisions and help inspire their teammates!

7 Quick Snack Ideas for Game Day!

  • Fruit salad: Slice or buy pre-cut fruit salad. Bring a serving spoon and individuals bowls to serve to the athletes. For a fun twist, make fruit kabobs!
  • Fun trail mix: Make a mixture of a dried fruits, nuts, seeds, pretzels, and one sweet.
  • Apple slices & peanut butter: Cut or buy apple slices and individual packs of peanut butter or peanuts.
  • Want more dipping options? Add whole grain crackers or crisp breads.
  • Mini yogurt parfaits: Divide granola into individual snack baggies and serve with prepackaged individual yogurt cups and spoons. Add some berries for an extra boost of flavor and nutrients!
  • Mini deli sandwiches: Whole wheat roll, 1 small slice cheese, and 1 piece of turkey—done!
  • Veggies with dip or hummus: Divide pre-cut veggies into snack bags and bring individual containers of hummus dip. Kids love dipping!
  • Cracker stackers: Same idea as mini deli sandwiches, but use crackers 



Fuel and Focus

Helps keep your muscles energized and brain focused on the game

Recover and Build

Aids in forming new tissue to help with proper growth, development, and exercise recovery


Banana, apple, strawberries, grapes, melon, applesauce, orange slices

Nut butter

Peanut, almond, or soy nut for peanut-free teams


Cucumber slices, carrots, sugar snap peas, pepper slices

Lunch meat

Slices rolled up, or cubes on a kabob

100% fruit leather

Like a fruit roll-up, but healthier!

Nuts or seeds

Peanuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower, pumpkin

Dried fruit

Raisins, cranberries, cherries


Cheese sticks, slices, cubes, squares

Whole grain crackers or pretzels

Look for the whole grain symbol on the front of the box

Hardboiled egg

Make a few dozen and keep them in a cooler during the game


Aim for a little salt; avoid the loaded butter or strong flavorings


Most stores offer small pre-packaged containers for convenience

Granola bars

Watch those covered in chocolate or other sugary coatings


For extra hot days, freeze the yogurt for a cool treat after the game

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