After Game Snack Ideas – Ultimate Guide
Athletes can refuel and recover with these healthy and convenient after game snack ideas. From carbohydrate-rich treats to protein packed options, find the perfect post game snack to help you replenish your energy and nutrients.
Whether you need something quick and portable or have time to prep, these ideas will help you optimize your performance. This also supports your sports nutrition and performance goals.
4 Rs-principles for nutrition for recovery
The keys to recovery following a game are:
In order to meet those goals, you’ll want to consume at least 50-150 grams of carbohydrate, 0.5 grams per pound of body weight.
When should you eat an after game snack
You should eat an after game snack within 30-90 minutes because your body is most receptive to recovery.
So, start refueling right away with these after game snack ideas.
Then, continue with smaller meals over the next 2-4 hours and a regular meal as soon as possible.
Because it takes about four hours for carbohydrates to be digested and stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles, you want to eat high carbohydrates right away.
However, it tends to take around 24 to 36 hours to fully replenish the muscle carbohydrates used during your activity.
After game snack ideas to eat after competition
Following competition athletes should immediately eat high carbohydrate foods and moderate protein. After game snack ideas include:
- chocolate milk and rice krispy treat
- smoothie with fresh berries and low fat greek yogurt
- peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat
- yogurt and granola
- apple juice and bagel
- fresh fruit and granola bar
- string cheese and crackers
- tart cherry juice and energy bar
Also, adding a sports drink can help replace fluids and electrolytes lost during the game and adds additional carbohydrates for restoring energy.
If your game ends late in the evening, eating a snack rich in casein and also drinking tart cherry juice will refuel your energy stores, help with rebuilding muscles and promote sleep (1)
Despite knowing they need to eat after a game, some athletes may not feel like eating. Therefore, they should focus on rehydrating with a carbohydrate rich drink like fruit juice, chocolate milk or a smoothie.
What is the best after game team snack
The best after game team snacks should be easy to eat and pack to the field.
Try post game snacks like granola bars, apple slices, sports drinks, chocolate milk, string cheese, orange slices, rice krispy treats and bagels.
These high carbohydrate foods will start athletes’ recovery post game until they can have a larger meal.
What are the best post game foods
The best post game foods are those with the ideal 3:1 carb to protein ratio that has been shown to best support an athlete’s recovery after a game.
Consuming high quality protein sources has been shown to promote muscle protein building immediately after exercise. (2)
Some can be easily packed in a backpack or cooler and eaten at the field. But some may make a better snack once you’re back at the hotel, restaurant or home.
Additionally, you’ll need to adjust the serving size based on your weight and activity because energy needs vary for athletes.
Since some of these recommendations have around 20-30 grams of carbohydrate. Therefore you can mix and match additional carbohydrates to meet your needs.
Also, you may consider drinking a sports drink, piece of fruit or fruit juice to meet your carbohydrate needs.
21 after game snack ideas-mini meals
- Trail mix: Mix together unsweetened dried fruit, nuts and high fiber cereal or granola. A 1/2 cup serving provides approximately 40 grams of carbohydrates and 14 grams of protein.
- Fresh fruit and string cheese: Pair a piece of fruit like an apple or banana with a string cheese. You’ll get about 25-30 grams of carbohydrates and 7-8 grams of protein.
- Energy bars: Look for bars that are high in complex carbohydrates, such as oats or whole grains, and contain at least 5-10 grams of protein. A 1.5-2 oz bar typically provides around 20-25 grams of carbohydrates and 5-10 grams of protein.
- Rice cakes with nut butter and honey: Spread nut butter like almond or peanut butter on a rice cake and drizzle with honey. This provides approximately 25-30 grams of carbohydrates and 6-7 grams of protein.
- Greek yogurt and fruit cups: Look for single-serving cups of low fat greek yogurt and add fruit, such as blueberries or peaches. This snack contains about 20-25 grams of carbohydrates and 10-12 grams of protein.
- Whole-grain crackers and hummus: Pack pre-portioned servings of whole-grain crackers and hummus in a small container. This provides approximately 20-25 grams of carbohydrates and 4-5 grams of protein per serving.
- Turkey or tofu roll-ups with whole wheat tortilla: Roll slices of deli turkey or and a slice of cucumber or bell pepper in a whole wheat tortilla. This provides approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of protein.
- Chocolate milk: Single-serving containers of chocolate milk are a convenient and delicious way to replenish carbohydrates and protein. One cup provides approximately 25-30 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein.
- Banana and almond butter packets: Squeeze packets of almond butter onto a banana for a quick and portable snack. This provides approximately 25-30 grams of carbohydrates and 5-6 grams of protein.
- Whole-grain cereal cups: Look for single-serving cups of whole-grain cereal, such as oatmeal or granola. When you add milk or yogurt you boost protein. This after game snack has 25-30 grams of carbohydrates and 5-10 grams of protein.
- Chocolate banana smoothie: Blend one ripe banana, one cup of almond milk, one scoop of chocolate protein powder and a handful of ice cubes. You’ll get about 50 grams of carbohydrates and 15-20 grams of protein.
- Toast with whole grain bread topped with avocado and hard-boiled eggs: Spread mashed avocado on two slices of whole-grain toast then top with two hard-boiled eggs. This provides approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of protein.
- Banana and almond butter sandwich: Spread almond butter on a slice of whole grain bread and top with sliced banana. This provides approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein.
- Energy balls: Mix together rolled oats, honey, peanut butter and chocolate chips, then form into small balls. This provides approximately 20-25 grams of carbohydrates and 5-8 grams of protein per ball.
- Turkey or tofu and avocado wrap: Fill a whole-grain wrap with sliced turkey, mashed avocado and veggies like lettuce and tomato. This tasty snack has about 30-35 grams of carbohydrates and 15-18 grams of protein.
- Cottage cheese and fresh fruit: Mix one cup of low-fat cottage cheese with half a cup of mixed berries then sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon. Since this snack has about the same carb to protein ratio, 25 grams of carbohydrates and 25 grams of protein, you’ll want to add another carb option.
- Roasted chickpeas: Toss cooked chickpeas with olive oil and spices like cumin and paprika, then roast in the oven until crispy. This provides approximately 25 grams of carbohydrates and 7-8 grams of protein per serving.
- Greek yogurt and fruit smoothie: Blend one cup of plain Greek yogurt with mixed berries and a scoop of vanilla protein powder. This provides approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates and 25 grams of protein.
- Sweet potato and black bean salad: Combine cooked sweet potato chunks with black beans, roasted veggies and a dressing or salsa. This provides approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein.
- Tuna salad and crackers: Mix canned tuna with chopped veggies like celery and onion, and a dressing made from Greek yogurt and mustard. Then serve with whole-grain crackers. This provides approximately 20 grams of carbohydrates and 15-18 grams of protein.
- Overnight oats with fresh berries: Combine oatmeal, low fat greek yogurt, non fat milk and chia seeds in a jar then refrigerate overnight. This snack provides a filling 40 grams of carbs and 15-20 grams of protein.
In conclusion, these after game snack ideas provide carbohydrate rich choices for athletes to start replenishing their energy stores.
Also, check out our other posts on what to eat on game day, including eating snacks during halftime and the basics of recovery nutrition.
Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 20 years in public health and nutrition experience. As a performance nutritionist, Stephanie specializes in sports nutrition and provides simple and actionable information so that athletes can be well fueled for high performance on and off the field. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.