Ever wonder why you start to get heavy legs right before half time? After 45 minutes of hard work, the stored energy in your muscles becomes depleted leaving you with low energy stores. In order to keep energy levels high and outrun your opponents is important to prioritize re-fueling with the perfect halftime snacks.
Topping off your energy stores will keep muscle energy stores high and give you the edge over the other team. When preparing your half time fuel, focus on whole foods! Your body will respond best to whole foods over packaged snacks like gels/gummies! A perfect halftime snack should be easy to eat and digest, but also packed with energy to refuel your performance. That’s why I created some simple halftime snacks that are easy to store and make!
What should halftime snacks consist of?
Halftime snacks should mainly consist of carbohydrates to fuel you for the second half. It is also important that these snacks are easily digestible so they don’t cause bloat, stomach pain, or make you feel lethargic. (As a past college soccer player, I know that running around a field on a full stomach is not the most enjoyable experience.)
My four snack ideas are made with whole foods that are packed with easily digestible carbohydrates to provide quick and easy energy. Foods high in fat, fiber, and protein can slow down digestion and lead to cramping and digestive distress during your game.
Aim for snacks that are
- Rich in simple carbohydrates
- Low in fat
- Low in fiber
- Moderate protein
1. Halftime Snack: Frozen Oranges
This snack is simple, but it is honestly life-changing! You can quickly prep these a day before a game by slicing up some oranges and tossing them into the freezer. They are easy to eat and a refreshing treat in the middle of a game. Not only is this snack going to provide you with carbohydrates to fuel your performance, but it is also filled with water to hydrate you and make-up for all the water you lost through sweat.
Pro tip – Remove them from the freezer/cooler before the game so they can thaw during the first half!
2. Halftime Snack: Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a handy halftime snack that is easy to store since it won’t melt or get crushed at the bottom of your bag. They are a good source of carbohydrates that can be used as a quick source of energy. There are so many different types of dried fruit to try, so feel free to switch it up each game!
During half-time, choose dried fruits that are softer and easier to chew, like dates, dried strawberries, dried mango, and dried apricots. Make sure you are opting for plain dried fruit that is not covered with added sugar or in a nutty trail mix. The fat from nuts in a trail mix can slow down digestion and give you cramps or stomach discomfort during your game!
Pro-tip – dates have the optimal ratio of carbohydrates to be absorbed into your body!
3. Halftime Snack: Coconut Water
If eating solid food at half-time makes you feel sick or bloated, liquid calories make a great halftime fuel top-off. A great example is carbohydrate-containing coconut water. Coconut water is packed with potassium, which is an important electrolyte. Electrolytes keep you hydrated by enhancing your body’s absorption of water. Unfortunately, coconut water is low in sodium – the most important electrolyte for re-hydration. You can easily solve this by adding some salt to your coconut water!
Pro tip: Toss some frozen fruit into your coconut water! This keeps the coconut water colder which can help lower your core body temperature and also providing extra energy to help you dominate the second half.
4. Halftime Snack: Pretzels
My last suggestion for a healthy halftime snack is energy-packed pretzels! Yep, that’s right – I said pretzels! Pretzels are made up of simple carbohydrates that can be easily digested. And they have salt on them! Salt contains sodium (remember the electrolyte from above?) that will help you stay hydrated.
I hope these snack ideas help you guys fuel properly during your games! The perfect halftime snack depends on each person, so try different things out to find the right perfect halftime snack for you.
The Performance Fueling Club (PFC) helps athletes like you figure out exactly to eat that fuels your best performance on the field (without feeling sluggish or bloated). If you are looking for guidance on game day fueling, apply to PFC today! Our sports dietitians would love to help you take your nutrition and game to the next level.