Use Healthy Snacks to Lose Weight | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Why Healthy Snacks Help Athletes Maintain Weight and Perform Better

January 9, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

Snacking is often associated with junk food, late night eating and excessive amounts of calories. However, if you select the right foods, snacks can help keep your blood sugars stable, prevent you from overeating at your next meal and maintain your ideal playing weight. Fueling at intervals throughout the day also helps you feel satisfied and more energetic.

If you go longer than five or six hours between meals, your blood sugars drop significantly and your body can suffer the effects of starvation mode. This can cause you to crave sugar, make unhealthy choices at your next meal or overeat because you are so hungry. Consuming small snacks keeps your energy levels up and your blood sugar stable without adding extra pounds.

Snacks can also help athletes achieve proper fueling before and after workouts and events. A pre-workout snack of carbohydrates and protein will help you achieve maximum performance, and a post-workout snack can help refuel your muscles. (Read How a Mid-Game Snack Can Help Performance.)

It's important to plan your snacks as you would your meals. Portion them out, sit down and eat them slowly. Try not to graze and pick throughout the day or run to the vending machine between classes or meetings. Have balanced snacks prepared and ready to go, as you do for your meals.

Healthy snacks should include a small amount of carbohydrate (about 15 grams) plus protein or healthy fats. Examples include:

  • Apple with Peanut Butter
  • Yogurt with Almonds
  • Nuts and Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Roasted Chick Peas
  • Carrots and Hummus
  • Wheat Crackers and Tuna
  • Cottage Cheese and Fruit
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Protein Bars


Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Must See
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 16,114,773
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 2,223,229
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 80,931

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 297,020
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 28,363
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

The Case for Red Meat

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

The Boston Cannons'

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Why You Need Dietary Fiber