If you’re an athlete who competes in multiple events a day, you know how challenging it can be to fuel your body properly. It’s especially key to know the best snacks for athletes between games.
You need enough energy for play and recovery, but you don’t have much time between games to eat.
You may wonder what kind of snacks can help you stay strong, hydrated and ready for the next match.
That’s why I created this post. I’m going to share with you the best snacks for athletes between games that are easy to prepare, pack and eat. These snacks will provide you with the carbs, protein and fluids you need to perform your best and recover faster. (1)
You’ll also learn some tips on how to choose the right snacks for different situations, such as when you have less than an hour or more than two hours between games.
With these snacks and tips, you’ll never run out of energy or feel hungry during your competitions. You’ll be able to dominate every game and perform at your best.
Are you ready to discover the best snacks for athletes between games? Then read on!
How to fuel your body between back to back games
When you have multiple games in a day, you need to plan your snacks and meals carefully. You want to eat foods that give you enough energy, support your recovery and suit your appetite.
Not everyone feels hungry right after a game, so you should listen to your body and eat what works for you. However, you should avoid trying new foods on game day, as they might upset your stomach or cause allergies.
Some of the best snacks for athletes between games are simple and nutritious
- granola bars
- trail mix
- low fat greek yogurt with fruit
- fruit smoothies
- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- bagel and cream cheese
- high protein milk or low-fat chocolate milk with a rice krispy treat
The ideal time to eat a snack is within 30 minutes to an hour after your first game. This is when your body is most receptive to replenishing its energy stores and repairing its muscles.
The best snacks for athletes between games at this time are high in carbohydrates and moderate in protein.
Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your muscles and brain. They can help you restore your glycogen levels and prevent fatigue. Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. It can help you reduce soreness and inflammation.
Besides eating snacks, you also need to drink fluids and electrolytes between games. Fluids help you stay hydrated and prevent dehydration, which can impair your performance and health.
Electrolytes are minerals that regulate your fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contraction. They can help you prevent cramps, headaches, and nausea.
Best snacks between games with less than 1 hour to eat
When you have a tight schedule of tournament games or competitions, you don’t have much time to eat and refuel your body. You need snacks that are quick, easy, and nutritious.
You also need snacks that won’t upset your stomach or make you feel sluggish.
The best snacks for athletes between games with less than 1 hour are high in carbohydrates and low in fat, fiber and protein.
Fat, fiber and protein can slow down your digestion and make you feel bloated or crampy.
In this section, I’ll share with you some of the best snacks for athletes between games with less than 1 hour to eat. These snacks are tasty, convenient and satisfying.
They will provide you with the fuel you need to perform your best, top off your fuel stores and recover faster.
Some good examples of high carbohydrates between game snacks
- Whole grain dry cereal
- Fruit snacks
- Granola bars
- Whole grain crackers
- Fig bars
- Rice krispy treats
- Pudding cups
- Sports drinks
- Whole wheat toast with jam
- Watermelon chunks, grapes
- Dried fruit such as mango and tart cherries
You can use our posts on pre game snacks and halftime snacks for more ideas because they highlight some of the best options for well tolerated foods when you don’t have a lot of time before game time.
If you’ve only gone one hour or less between games or competition, stick to easily digestible high carbohydrates or sports drinks.
Best snacks and mini meals between games-1-3 hours
When you have a longer break time, you have more options to eat and refuel your body. You can choose snacks or mini meals that are higher in carbohydrates and protein to provide you with more energy and recovery benefits.
However, you still want to avoid foods that are high in fat, fiber or spices, as they can cause digestive issues or make you feel sluggish. You also want to avoid foods that are too heavy or filling, as they can make you feel uncomfortable or nauseous.
These mini meals provide additional calories, carbohydrates and protein to satisfy your hunger, prepare you for your next game and help you recover faster.
When you have a little extra time between games, at least one to three hours, try a mini meal to give you more energy and protein to help you recover faster.
Some examples of mini meals that are easy to digest
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread
- Tart cherry juice and protein bar
- Hummus and crackers
- Low fat greek yogurt with granola and fruit
- Bagel and cream cheese
- Banana and nut butter
- Grapes, crackers and string cheese
- Dried fruit, nuts and crackers
- Cottage cheese and peaches
- Deli meat, cheese and whole wheat tortilla roll ups
- Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, chocolate
- High protein milk and pita chips
- Smoothie with mango and low fat yogurt
Best snacks for athletes between games – three or more hours
During a longer break between games, you can eat a more balanced and substantial meal that can provide you with enough energy and nutrients for your next event.
After your game, you should aim to eat a regular high carbohydrate meal with moderate protein, following the athlete performance plate for game day.
Good post game recovery meals include:
- rice bowl with lean protein and veggies
- turkey sandwich and fruit
- waffles topped with nut butter and banana
- thick crust pizza with veggies and salad
- pancakes with berries and scramble eggs
- sandwich wrap with hummus
- veggies and tofu and egg sandwich with lean protein and fruit
- chipotle burrito bowl with rice, beans, lean meat, fresh tomato salsa
Check out our post on pre game meal ideas for more suggestions for healthy meal options.
Choosing the right snacks and giving yourself enough time to digest between games can make a huge difference in your performance on the field.
You need to fuel your body with high-carbohydrate and moderate-protein snacks that can help you recover faster and play better.
In this post, you learned:
- Why snacking between games is important for athletes
- What are the best snacks for athletes between games with different time intervals
- How to use the performance plate game day plate to plan your meals between games
- How to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration
Now that you know how to snack smartly between games, you’re ready to take on any challenge and crush your competition.
But wait, there’s more!
If you’re playing soccer in the heat, you need to be extra careful about your hydration and nutrition. Learn how to beat the heat and stay cool.
Don’t miss this opportunity to improve your game and health.
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Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 22 years of experience in public health and nutrition. As a performance registered dietitian 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.