top of page

The 3 Kinds of Snacks You Need To Know About As A Gymnast

As a gymnast, your body burns a lot of energy! More energy than you could comfortably fit into 3 meals a day.

A well fueled gymnast needs to be eating often! As often as every 2 to 3 hours. So in addition to their regular meals, most of the gymnasts in my Fuel for Success 1 on 1 program also need to eat 2-3 fueling snacks to give their body enough energy and nutrients to support training and recovery, as well as growing and everyday energy demands (like school and other activities).

When building your snacks as a gymnast, think about snacks like a puzzle. The pieces to the puzzle include the following types of foods:

  • Color (colorful foods like fruits and vegetables)

  • Energy (starches and fruits)

  • Protein (dairy, eggs, soy, meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, nut butters, powder of your choice)

  • Fat (avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butters, seafood, olive, oils, salad dressing, full-fat dairy)

These are the puzzle pieces you will be working with to build your snacks.


As a gymnast, there are 3 different kinds of snacks that will be a part of your fueling routine:

  • The Everyday Snack

  • The Pre-Practice Snack

  • The Post-Practice Snack

The Everyday Snack

The everyday snack is the formula gymnasts use between meals, more than 2 hours before or after gymnastics, and on days off. The everyday snack should include 2 or 3 foods from the previously mentioned categories.

Ideally you want:

  1. Food for energy (starches, fruit)

  2. Food for your muscles (protein)

  3. Food to keep you full (fat or fiber aka veggies, fruit, or whole grains)

Some of my favorite everyday snacks for gymnasts include:

  • Cheese board (cheese, fruit, crackers)

  • Yogurt parfaits (Greek yogurt, fruit, granola/cereal)

  • Trail Mix

  • Cottage cheese, fruit, crackers

  • Avocado Toast topped with a hardboiled egg

  • Protein power packs

  • Roasted Chickpeas + carrot sticks

  • Deli roll-up + fruit

  • Fruit + nut butter

  • Pasta salad

  • Mexi dipping plate (guacamole, fresh salsa, multigrain chips)

  • Hummus, WG pita, cherry tomatoes

  • Greek Yogurt dip, fruit

  • Egg sandwich on an English muffin with spinach and tomato

  • Mini wraps or pinwheels

  • Edamame or snap peas

  • Fruit + yogurt smoothie

  • Protein bar

  • Beef jerky + dried fruit

  • Protein Energy Bites

  • 1/2 sandwich or wrap (PBJ, turkey/cheese, tuna, etc. on wg bread)


The Pre-Practice Snack

The pre-practice snack is the formula gymnasts use when eating your snack within 1 hour of practice starting. This snack also works during practice (if your training is 3 or more hours long). The pre-practice snack should prioritize foods with energy, like fruit and quick-digesting (low in fiber) starches. Depending on your own preferences, you could also include a little low-fat protein. Foods that are too high in protein, fat, or fiber are more likely to upset a gymnast’s stomach while training, so experiment with what works best for you.

Some of my favorite pre-practice snacks for gymnasts include:


The Post-Practice Snack

The post-practice snack is the formula gymnasts use when eating a snack within 1 hour of practice ending. For snacks after practice, include mostly quick-carbs (easy to digest, low in fiber and fat) with 1-2 servings of protein. Ultimately, shoot for a goal of a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio (grams). This will help your body start to refill its energy stores and repair your muscles.

Especially if you have a long ride home from practice, make a plan to have a post-practice snack for the car ride home.

Some of my favorite post-practice snacks for gymnasts include:

  • Chocolate Milk (shelf stable boxes are great!)

  • Trail Mix (make your own mix with your favorites like pretzels, popcorn, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate)

  • Apple slices with peanut butter

  • Tuna packet and pretzels

  • Beef jerky and tart cherry juice

  • Almond butter stuffed dates

  • A recovery smoothie

  • A protein bar

  • Drinkable greek yogurt and a banana

  • Goldfish, roasted chickpeas

  • Popcorn with nutritional yeast

Remember to also eat a full balanced meal within 3 hours of practice ending!

Play around with different foods and different combinations and see what works best for you! Nutrition is personal! What might work for your teammate might not work for you.


Want to feel confident with your fueling plan and learn to fuel success? I help competitive gymnasts fuel their bodies, prevent injuries, and reach their highest potential. Curious about how working together could improve your performance in the gym? Apply to work with me!


Kerry Bair, RD, LDN, MPH

The Gymnast RD

bottom of page