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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Case for Red Meat

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

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

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

The Boston Cannons'

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

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

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

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

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

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

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

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches