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Five Pre-Race Snacks for Sustaining Energy

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.

The CLIF Kid Nutrition Team recommends fueling up with key nutrients – like carbohydrates – before activity lasting more than an hour (e.g. Kids Obstacle Challenge). The below snacks can be eaten 1-2 hours before activity to provide your little one with last-minute energy to help get them race-time ready:

CLIF Kid Zbar®

For young athletes who need an easy, grab-n-go option with nutrition important for race time, CLIF Kid Zbar® is a great choice. It delivers great taste and energizing whole grains from high-quality, organic ingredients, like oats, to help nourish active kids in motion. Plus, this bar has no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, and it’s non GMO!


Gorp, a mixture of pretzels, cereal, dried fruit, seeds and/or nuts, is another great option for young athletes on the move. It can be made at home, packaged in a container or small bag and stuffed into a gym bag or backpack. No refrigeration needed!

A Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

An old-fashioned PB and banana on whole wheat bread provides beneficial whole grains, “good” fats, plant-based protein and filling fiber, making it a great choice when your young athlete is hungry and has a few hours to digest a meal before race time. Offer a half sandwich to the little ones and bump it up to a whole sandwich for teens. If peanuts are a no-no, try a different nut butter or a seed-based butter.

Greek Yogurt with Granola

Another nutritious snack before race time is yogurt. Yogurt offers a blend of protein, fat and carbohydrates and comes in convenient, on-the-go packaging. Top it with granola and/or fruit to add crunch and a boost of additional energizing carbohydrates.

Fruit Smoothie

Got a nervous stomach? A fruit-based smoothie is a great way to ensure quality nutrition is onboard before a race. Liquids digest faster than solid food, and a smoothie is an easy way to incorporate nutrition to fuel athletic performance. Blend frozen fruit with ½ - 1 cup of 100% juice and ¼ to ½ cup vanilla yogurt for a nutritious, easy to consume pre-race snack. Feeling adventurous? Toss in some fresh spinach leaves for some added nutrients – like iron.