It seems my kids are always hungry. They are athletic and so I feel bad when all I have at home for them to grab before or after practice are processed energy bars. Even for selfish reasons I am on the constant look-out for quick snacks that are also packed with protein and the “good” kind of carbs that give me energy. Here are six homeade portable performance snacks recommended by physical therapist, Alan Tyson of Architech Sports in Charlotte, NC. They are made with items easy to keep in the fridge or pantry, and they are fairly inexpensive as well!
Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
Non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt mixed with fruit and a tablespoon of nuts forms a great combination of carbohydrates, protein and other essential nutrients active people need. We recommend adding almonds or walnuts.
Nut butter & jelly or hummus sandwich
Peanut butter or other nut butter & jelly or hummus sandwiches (made on whole wheat bread) are portable and quick to prepare. You can also add cucumbers and tomatoes for a vegetable sandwich.
Low-fat chocolate milk
Research has shown that chocolate milk is a great recovery beverage. It provides the right mix of carbohydrates, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Pair it with a piece of fruit for slightly more calories if needed. Be aware of any brands that have excessive sugar.
Homemade trail mix
Gather a variety of nuts, dried fruits and your favorite whole grain cereal or granola and make a portable trail mix. Remember to keep the amount you eat in check. Nuts contain healthy fats, but too many will leave you feeling too full.
Cottage cheese and fruit
Mix low-fat cottage cheese with your favorite fresh fruit. This is another example of balancing a high quality protein source with a healthy carbohydrate.
Whole-wheat crackers, string cheese and fruit
For a balanced snack plate, combine a handful whole grain crackers with a piece of string cheese and a small piece of fruit.
Thinking ahead and understanding the importance of sports nutrition is one of the most under-utilized secrets to success for athletes. Even for those of us who workout on a regular basis and are simply looking for a cheaper, healthier alternative to the processed energy bar, these portable snacks are perfect. However, it’s important to remember these are snacks not meals so we don’t overeat. Regardless of what king of fitness we do, planning ahead is the best way to prevent falling into bad habits and grabbing those processed energy bars.