Sitting in school all day presents a challenge to your eating schedule. Rest assured—you can fuel up between classes with quick, portable foods that keep well in your backpack or locker throughout the day. Pack these portable snacks to maintain high-energy stores so you can head to after-school practice ready to burn instead feeling burned.
A single-serving box is an easy way to deliver energy to your muscles, because it contains complex carbohydrates, a source of glycogen. "Simply put, your body needs energy to perform at its best, and you get that energy from glycogen," says nutrition expert Jen Ochi. Approaching practice, opt for one with low fiber content [under five grams], like Cheerios, Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes. If you’ve got nothing on the workout agenda, go for a higher fiber cereal [five or more grams] like Shredded Wheat, Grape Nuts or Raisin Bran.
An energy bar offers essential fuel (calories and carbs) for your muscles to burn, says Kristine Clark, director of sports nutrition at Penn State University. Choose a bar with up to 350 calories, 35 to 45 grams of carbs, five to 10 grams of fat and 10 to 20 grams of protein. Clark suggests consuming one about two hours prior to a workout so your body can digest it. If you’re short on time, eat just half [see a list of recommended bars here].
Prep for practice by topping off your energy tank with carbs. According to sports nutritionist Liz Applegate, “Carbs fuel your brain, and keep it alert and ready for hand-eye coordination and accuracy.” She suggests a PB&B sandwich—a slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter, topped with banana slices and drizzled lightly with honey—to give your body “the energy you’ll need to go the distance.”