On the Go Snacking for Busy Athletes

On the Go Snacking for Busy Athletes

My top 5 picks for filling snacks on the go that will keep energy levels up and prevent muscle breakdown.

Often times I will get a new client in my office who will tell me they don’t snack and say it like snacking is a bad thing. I’m often surprised by this because a constant supply of fuel throughout the day is what helps to keep your engine running full steam ahead! At around the 3-4 hour mark is when blood sugar levels start to drop down. The result is a drop in energy since blood sugar is our body’s go to source of fuel.

You’ll feel the immediate effects of this drop if you’re not eating properly throughout the day (a.k.a. snacking). Think headache, sluggishness, inability to think clearly. This will for sure affect your day but will also negatively affect your sports performance. You must be well fueled going into a training / workout in order to perform well, which means performing well on competition / race day. Try eating a snack between each of your meals or every 3 hours to keep blood sugar steady and you’ll be ready for action!

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My Top 5 On the Go Snacks:

Kirsten Ziesmer, Sports Dietitian - On the Go Snacking for Busy Athletes

These are my top 5 because they are balanced with all 3 macronutrients: carbs, protein, a little fat. When you combine macronutrients your body works best. This is because it uses the carbs as an energy source and the amino acids in the protein to prevent muscle breakdown. Fat and protein also help to “time release” the energy from your food. As an added bonus, these snacks are all high in nutrients and antioxidants for overall health!

  1. Bars like Luna Bars, Kind Protein Bars, Rx Bars, Cliff Bars, Cliff Builder Bars or Larabar Protein (try my GF energy balls below for a delicious homemade version!) are great. They’re a great combination of everything you need in one little package that doesn’t require refrigeration. They all contain protein, carbohydrates, a little bit of fat and fiber- all of which together help to steady blood sugar.
  2. Perfect Fruit and Yogurt- Ok this one does require refrigeration but it’s such a filling and satisfying snack! Just pick a fruit, like pineapple, berries or banana, top with 1 tsp. Greek yogurt and 1/4 tsp. granola of choice and you’ve got a balanced snack that will fulfill your sweet tooth! You can either put this together the night before or grab an individual cup of yogurt with a piece of fruit. Most convenience stores sell both!
  3. Overnight Oats – This is hands down one of my favorites! You can make overnight oats in so many different flavors so it never gets old! Just do a quick search on Pinterest ( or follow me! ) and you’ll find hundreds of versions. I just finished eating my standard version: oats w / a plant based protein milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, stevia and peanut butter. You’ll want to make this the night before but only takes about 2 minutes to put together.
  4. Apple or Banana and Peanut Butter- You can’t go wrong with this old stand by. First bananas and peanut butter I personally think were made for each other. However, it’s a perfect combo of carbs, protein and healthy fat which just happen to be great as a pre-workout snack!
  5. Trail Mix- Ok trail mix can either be a healthy snack or just a bunch of chocolate with some nuts. I personally love Trader Joe’s breakfast bled trail mix since it has nuts, fruit and these delicious little granola balls all in one on-the-go package. Again, it has all the components of a perfect snack!

I recommend keeping 2-3 snacks on you at all times in the case that hunger hits. Better yet, plan out when you will snack to prevent becoming overly hungry. This will prevent you from eating something that’s not really going to be benefiting your body. Always have more food than you need to avoid the dreaded working late when you’re already hungry … ugh!


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