15 Soccer Snack Ideas for the Next Big Game
By Jenna Braddock, MSH, RDN, CSSD, LD/N, ACSM-CPT.
The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health- and nutrition-related activity.
Snacks have been a mainstay of youth sports for a long time. They are not only fun for kids but also play an important role in fueling kids’ bodies to perform at their best. Having a strong list of snack ideas could make the difference in someone’s performance on the field; they can be either enjoying every moment or counting down the moments until the game ends!
Instead of viewing soccer snacks as just a reward at the end of the game, I encourage you to pack items that do their bodies good for during the game too. Snacks can provide energy, hydration, and key nutrients that active kids need not just for success on the field but in growth and development too! They become even more important when kiddos are picky eaters, play in hot conditions, and/or have multiple games in one day.
For the next time you’re on snack duty, here are 15 portable soccer snack ideas that taste great and fuel kids to play and be their best!
1. Orange Slices or Mandarin Oranges
Once upon a time, orange slices were unofficially the official soccer halftime snack. Fortunately, this nostalgic snack is still a great soccer snack idea. Oranges are a fun way to provide hydration in a very tasty, easy-to-eat slice. Plus, they give a little shot of vitamin C, which is always helpful! Try looking for mandarin oranges, as they are a single-serve, easy-to-peel option for little hands and they’re available nearly year-round.
2. CLIF Kid Zbar®
If you’re in need of a never-fail snack to fuel kids’ active bodies, look no further than CLIF Kid Zbar. This delicious whole-grain energy snack bar is the perfect, portable choice for getting kids energized for their match. It’s made with 10-12 grams of whole grains from organic oats and has no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. With a variety of widely loved flavors like Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate Chip, Iced Oatmeal Cookie, and Chocolate Brownie, it is sure to please every player on your soccer team.
Perfectly portable, bananas have long been a favorite snack of athletes and active people alike. They provide needed calories as well as potassium, which may help prevent muscle cramps in active kids. For little soccer players, look for small bananas or cut them in half for just the right portion. If you’re bringing bananas for the whole team, consider collecting the peels for composting instead of throwing them away.
Watermelon’s delicious flavor is beloved by kids and provides a tasty source of energy and hydration. Serve up slices or sticks (my favorite) for an easy way to eat at the field.
Cereal is not just for a pre-game meal; it makes a great sideline snack too. Portion out ½-cup servings into reusable containers or look for single-serve bowls at the store to throw into your soccer bag. Another benefit is that many are fortified with iron, a key nutrient for kids.
Most dried fruit is an excellent option for a sports snack, but raisins offer an additional benefit of also being a source of iron. While that won’t necessarily affect their immediate performance on the field, it is a key nutrient for growth and development. Mini raisin boxes are the perfect size for a soccer snack.
Muffins can be an easy way to add in extra fruits and veggies. They make a great on-the-go breakfast in the car ride too. There are also store-bought options that work well — look for ones that deliver balanced nutrition and whole-food ingredients. You can try making your own with these Morning Glory Muffins or Pumpkin Apple Mini Muffins.
8. Applesauce Squeeze Packs
Squeezable applesauce packs make for a perfect sideline snack. This no-mess option is a good way to naturally fuel up and help kiddos get a serving of fruit. Consider using reusable squeeze pouches to cut down on waste.
9. Flavored Rice Cakes
If your kiddo loves some crunch, try serving flavored rice cakes. They come in a variety of flavors and either the regular or mini size can work just fine. Top with some peanut or sun butter for a little added protein.
10. Animal Crackers
For a super-quick source of energizing carbohydrates, animal crackers can be a welcomed option for even the pickiest of eaters. This snack option will break down and digest quickly but is not loaded up with unnecessary ingredients like some other cookie options.
On hot days, soccer players can benefit not only from a little energy but also a touch of salt in their snack to replace electrolytes lost in sweat. Pretzels are a great option for soccer snacks and are usually well received by kiddos. That touch of saltiness also encourages them to drink more fluids. You could grab the single-serve packs or try the fun shapes pretzels are available in. Lastly, for a little extra umph, look for the portable hummus and pretzel snack cups available in most grocery and convenience stores.
These next options provide some protein and are good options for post-game and between-game snacks.
12. Mini Bagels With Peanut Butter or Cream Cheese
Mini bagels are the perfect size for young soccer players and provide a good source of quick, usable carbohydrates. They are typically sold as a dozen or so in a bag, which makes it easy to toss into your cooler. Pair with single-serve peanut butter or cream cheese cups with protein for a little staying power between long matches.
This classic sandwich can also be the perfect snack because it’s got all the right nutrients for little athletes. Cut up sandwiches into triangles for easy eating and sharing. You can also make them as tortilla roll-ups or cracker sandwiches for another finger-food option.
14. CLIF Kid Zbar® Protein
Sometimes you need a snack to leave a lasting impression on your kids’ appetite, meaning it helps tame their hunger between their match and next meal. CLIF Kid Zbar Protein is a perfect post-game solution because it has a hunger-helping 5 grams of protein. Its crispy texture is always fun to eat — plus, it’s gluten free! I can almost guarantee that the Cookies ‘n Creme flavor will be an instant hit with the team, but Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Mint are also just as tasty.
15. Yogurt Tubes or Drinkable Yogurt
Yogurt has become an excellent portable snack thanks to the ways it is now packaged. Look for yogurt tubes or drinkable yogurt for a fun and nutritious soccer snack that provides a touch of protein and calcium for growing bodies. Refillable squeeze pouches can be easily used with yogurt to reduce waste.
If your child has only one soccer game, choose a carbohydrate-containing snack as an option to enjoy 30-45 minutes before the game, during halftime, or after the game when they need energy. This becomes more important as they get farther away from their last meal.
For days when you’re at the field for many hours and several games, choose multiple snacks from this list to have as options for keeping your kiddos well fueled. Start with one or two snacks when you have an hour or less between matches. Encourage kids to eat a snack containing carbohydrates and protein as soon as one game ends so they have as much time to digest and refuel as possible. Always pair their snack with extra water to keep them well hydrated.
With this winning list of soccer snack ideas, your kids and their team are sure to be fueled for fun.