The Best Snacks for a Gymnastics Meet

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The Kind of Snack You Need

Young gymnast competing
Getty Images / bmcent1

As we all know, gymnastics meets can go very, very long. For any meet, it's important to drink water throughout.

And if a meet goes longer than two hours, it's really important to get some fuel in your body beyond water, otherwise you may not have the energy you need for your last few events.

But choosing the right foods can be tricky: you want something light, that's easy to digest -- especially when you may have competition nerves -- and gives you quick energy.  And you'll need something that doesn't need refrigeration, and won't spill in your gym bag.

We wouldn't vote for these options as your everyday snacks necessarily (some aren't as nutritious as you'd want for a snack you'd eat regularly), but for quick calories at a competition, these snacks can't be beat.

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Granola Bar

Granola Bar
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Granola bars are portable and last forever -- in fact, we'd recommend having one in your gym bag all the time, just in case. The downside of most bars is that they're often high in sugar. So eat them sparingly at other times, but for a gymnastics meet, this can translate to quick energy. Our favorite brands:

KIND Fruit and Nut Bars (though make sure you can digest nuts well)
Clif Kid Z Bars

Both of these brands are a little less processed than your average granola bars, without trans fats or high fructose syrup -- two things your body never needs.

We don't recommend protein bars or meal replacement bars in general -- they are so densely-packed with calories that many athletes struggle to digest them during competition and feel sick after eating them. Plus, they are often loaded with artificial ingredients.

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Give fruit a test run in practice before you bring it to a meet -- some athletes have no problem digesting it, while others get a stomachache after they eat it on-the-go.

Topping the fruit list? Grapes. They're portable, won't go brown or bruise easily, and don't need refrigeration. They are also relatively neat and won't leak all over your gym bag.

Wash and put them into a small food-storage container like this one -- it snaps together so it's easy to open and shut, and fits well in a gym bag. And opt for organic grapes if you can; grapes are often sprayed with lots of pesticides when grown conventionally.

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Pretzels don't pack a lot of nutrition, but they do have salt and quick carbs -- both of which will help you get quick energy if you need to do a floor routine three hours after warm-ups.  Our favorite pretzel brands:

Trader Joe's Pretzel Slims
Snyder's Honey Wheat Twists

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Dried Fruits

Dried Fruits
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Dried fruits like mangoes, raisins, cranberries, and pineapples can all deliver quick energy with some nutrition and fiber too. Give each of them a try during practice to see which you like best.

Look for ones that are "unsulfured" if possible (that means without added sulfur dioxide, a preservative), and without added sugar or oils. All of these will make for a more healthy snack, without extra chemicals you don't need or want.

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Peanut Butter or Almond Butter on Crackers

Peanut butter on crackers
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If your meet is running very long and you actually feel hungry, some crackers with a nut spread can be a great source of carbs with a little bit of protein and healthy fats to keep you full longer.

These are usually easy to digest, and won't make a huge mess. We like to wrap 'em in aluminum foil or stack them in one of those snap-top food containers. Just make sure you have plenty to drink with you as well.