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Appropriate snacks for each sport

Did you know the best snacks for baseball are not necessarily the best for high-energy sports like soccer or basketball? We chatted with the experts to find out the appropriate snacks for each sport to help you nail sports snack duty!

Your children’s nutritional needs change depending on their activity level and sport. “Sometimes parents overestimate the actual energy expended and overcompensate calories, sugar and sodium in the meals and snacks surrounding the activity,” says Dr. Keith Kantor, a leading nutritionist and author of the children’s book The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice.

What are the best snacks for each sport?

Snacks for high-endurance sports: Running, swimming

Keep your runner or swimmer feeling motivated with snacks that keep his or her energy up.

“Endurance snacks are typically a little higher in carbohydrates, potassium and sodium to ensure that the electrolytes stay within normal ranges during prolonged activity like running, swimming, cycling, or a long intense game or match,” says Dr. Kantor.

He recommends snacks like trail mix, as well as other high-nutrition snacks including:

  • Banana smeared with almond, sunflower or peanut butter
  • Smoothie: 1-2 cups grape juice or coconut water, 1 cup frozen or fresh berries, 1/2-1 banana and 1/2-1 cup Greek yogurt
  • Bagel with nut butter, honey, and banana
  • Apple slices and 1-2 ounces high-quality cheese
  • Peanut butter and jelly on gluten-free/Ezekiel bread

Mott's Fruit Rush Punch

Dr. Kantor says that water is very important for kids; however, avoid traditional sports drinks which can be loaded with excessive sodium and sugar which can actually hinder the performance of your child.

Instead, serve your kids a drink you can feel good about. Try the new Mott’s juice drink options, like Fruit Rush Punch and Wild Grape Surge, which come in handy 8-ounce bottles that are perfect for snack duty. Another delicious option from Mott’s is Strawberry Boom, sold in 64-ounce bottle perfect for filling portable drink bottles. All flavors contain less sugar than other juices, and have a full serving of fruit per cup.

Snacks for high energy sports: Basketball, soccer

Even though high-sugar snacks provide a temporary burst of energy, they soon leave kids feeling tired and lethargic. Instead, provide high-protein foods and healthy fats to provide long-term energy for your soccer or basketball player. Thea Runyan, the lead behavior coach for the Packard Pediatric Weight Control Program at Stanford University recommends the following:

  • Fruit, such as bananas
  • Lean protein, like string cheese
  • Nonfat milk (helps with recovery)
  • Oatmeal for endurance

More great options include high-protein beef jerky, honey sticks, oranges or sunflower seeds. Keep kids hydrated by including a drink with their snack, such as water or a juice box.

Best snacks for sports with short bursts of activity: Baseball, football

For sports like baseball, football or volleyball which require quick bursts of energy, Jasmine Jafferali, Lifestyle and Wellness Consultant and creator of the Snack Smart Solutions App, says you need foods that stabilize blood sugar and digest fast for their quick release of energy. Some options include:

  • Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup raspberrries
  • Apples
  • Pistachios

Regardless of the sport, make sure your child is staying hydrated with water, coconut water or fruit juice with no artificial sweeteners, like those from Mott’s.


If you want a special treat for the team, try these adorable sugar cookies!

This post was sponsored by Mott’s.

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