Ideas for Soccer Snacks [Best Tips]
Since soccer is a sport that requires both endurance and power output, athletes need ideas for soccer snacks to boost energy before and during soccer trainings and games.
These healthy soccer snacks provide the fuel necessary to meet the demands required for maintaining energy throughout the duration of the game.
During a game, a typical soccer player might run over 5 miles with lots of stop and start quick bursts.
Therefore, athletes should have a sports nutrition performance plan that includes topping off energy stores before a game, a halftime snack to refuel and a good recovery nutrition plan to restore energy stores.
Whether you’re providing team snacks for the whole soccer team because you’re assigned to snack day or you’re fueling your favorite youth athlete, you’ll find easy, portable and healthy snack ideas.
Read on for soccer snack ideas that any athlete and kids love.
10 ideas for soccer snacks or mini meals
Here are 10 ideas for soccer snacks when you have at least 1-2 hours before your soccer games start. These healthy snacks provide high carbohydrate and low protein for easy digestion and maximum energy stores.
- Banana or apple slices with almond butter: This snack provides a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein to keep players energized and satisfied before the game.
- Granola or energy bars: These bars are a convenient and portable option for players stash in their gear bags to eat before the game. Look for bars that are high in carbohydrates and have a balance of protein and healthy fats.
- Whole grain bagel with cream cheese: This snack provides a good amount of carbohydrates and protein to fuel players before the game. Top with sliced banana or berries for a sweet and satisfying snack.
- Smoothie: Blend together fresh or frozen fruit, low fat greek yogurt, and milk or juice for a refreshing and high-carbohydrate snack. Add in some spinach or kale for added nutrition and flavor.
- Oatmeal with fruit: A bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh fruit, such as berries or sliced banana, is a great high-carbohydrate option for players before the game.
- Turkey and cheese sandwich: Use whole grain bread and lean turkey and cheese to make a sandwich that provides a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich: Spread peanut butter and jelly on whole grain bread for a classic and easy high-carbohydrate snack.
- Trail mix: Combine your favorite high-carbohydrate nuts and dried fruits in a small plastic bag, such as almonds, cashews, raisins, and dried apricots. This snack is easy to grab on the go and provides a quick burst of energy.
- Whole grain crackers and hummus: Spread hummus on whole-grain crackers, and top with sliced veggies like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers.
- Fruit and yogurt parfait: Layer yogurt, granola, and your favorite fresh fruit (such as bananas, berries, and sliced mango) in a small plastic cup.
Soccer snack ideas-30 minutes before game
When it comes to eating right before a game, it’s important to choose easy-to-digest carbohydrates that won’t cause stomach discomfort or cramping. Here are some ideas for soccer snacks that are easy-to-digest carbohydrates:
- Bananas: Bananas are a great source of carbohydrates and are easy to digest. They also contain potassium, which can help prevent muscle cramps.
- White bread or bagel: While whole-grain bread is generally a better choice, white bread or a bagel can be easier to digest right before a game.
- Applesauce: Applesauce is a great source of carbohydrates and is easy on the stomach. Look for unsweetened varieties.
- Low-fiber cereals: Cereals like corn flakes, rice krispies or cheerios are low in fiber and easy to digest.
- Rice cakes: Rice cakes are a good source of carbohydrates and are easy to digest.
- Sports drinks: Sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade are specifically designed to provide quick-digesting carbohydrates and electrolytes to athletes before and during exercise.
- Fruit snacks: Fruit snack gummies can be a tasty and convenient pre-game snack option. They are easy to digest and provide a quick source of energy for athletes before a game.
Ideas for halftime soccer snacks
For competitive soccer players, halftime snacks are key to sustained energy in the second half because ingesting carbohydrates during activity has been shown to improve performance. (1)
Halftime is really the first opportunity players have to replenish energy stores and rehydrate and replace electrolytes. A halftime snack should provide about 30-60 g of carbohydrates since this amount has been shown to improve performance.(2)
You want to eat easy to digest carbohydrates to maintain your blood glucose levels but that doesn’t cause GI distress. Because every athlete is different, you’ll want to try different foods to see what works best for you.
Here are some good ideas for soccer snacks at halftime since they are quick to digest and some contain electrolytes:
- Goldfish crackers
- Animal crackers
- Granola bars
- Dried fruit–dates, mangos, pineapple
- Fresh fruit–orange slices, bananas, grapes and watermelon
- Sports drinks
- Sport chews
What is a good snack for after a soccer game
Good ideas for soccer snacks for after a soccer game include a high carbohydrate food or drink within 30-90 minutes after a game. Typically a post game snack includes a carbohydrate and a protein to aid in muscle recovery as well.
Since an athlete’s muscles are most receptive to carbohydrates right after a soccer game, try foods like chocolate milk, rice krispy treats, pretzels, fruit, bagel, dry low fiber cereal, granola bar, peanut butter and honey sandwich, dried fruit, sports drinks and tart cherry juice.
You should continue eating mini meals until you can have a regular post game meal.
What should I pack for team snack
If you need to pack a soccer team snack, choose wrapped, snack size and portable options. Not only does this make it easier for a team manager, there’s less risk of food safety issues with these team snack ideas.
You’ll also want to check with your players to make sure you know if there are any food allergies.
Some ideas for soccer snacks for teams include:
- Boxes of raisins or dried fruit
- Fruit cups
- Pudding cups
- Rice krispy treats
- Granola bars
- Energy bars
- Trail mix with dried fruit
- Chocolate milk
- Goldfish crackers
- Animal crackers
- Cooler options
- Yogurt tubes
- String cheese
- Hummus and crackers
What foods should soccer players avoid
Soccer players should avoid eating foods before a game that are high in fat, fiber and protein. Additionally, fried and greasy foods can leave you feeling bloated, nauseated and may cause vomiting.
Also you’ll want to avoid foods that you haven’t tried before, especially if it’s before a game. You want to eat foods that you know you can tolerate and help your performance.
Final thoughts on ideas for soccer snacks
Soccer players have little time to refuel during a game until halftime. Since the demands of the sport use so much fuel from energy stores, it’s critical that soccer players fuel properly.
Check out our posts on tips for players to eat a good pre game meal, fuel up at halftime and ensure that they eat enough for recovery.
What soccer snack will you pack for your next game?
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.