Easy Pickleball Snack Ideas for Energy on the Court

Easy Pickleball Snacks for Energy on the Court

Easy Pickleball Snacks for Energy on the Court

When preparing for a day of pickleball, it can be helpful to have a variety of snack ideas that can provide you with energy on the court. Let’s take a look at what the sport of pickleball is. Then we will explore ideas for pickleball snacks to keep you fueled all day long.

What is Pickleball?

According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America (1). Pickleball combines the games of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong and can be played as both singles or doubles (2).

Pickleball is easy to learn and a fun activity for individuals of all ages and skill levels. The sport is popular amongst older adults and masters athletes (3), and a great recreational activity for the whole family to enjoy.

For more skilled players, pickleball is a fast-paced, competitive sport with opportunities for athletes to play on leagues and compete in tournaments (3).

Nutrition needs will vary amongst athletes of different ages, genders, and skill levels. It can be helpful for individuals planning to participate in a pickleball game or tournament to have ideas for snacks to provide them with energy on the court.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball Snacks

When planning snacks to take for a day of pickleball, consider packing a variety of snack items to select from. The best snack to enjoy during the day will depend upon how much time you have between games.

Let’s explore two types of pickleball snack options:

  • Carbohydrate-rich snacks to enjoy when time is limited between pickleball games.
  • Snacks that can serve as mini-meals when there are several hours between pickleball games.

Carbohydrate-Rich Snacks Between Pickleball Games

When there is limited time between pickleball games (1-2 hours), it is important to focus on rehydrating and consuming carbohydrate-rich snacks to provide you with energy in the next game.

Similar to gas in a car, carbohydrates provide the body with the fuel needed to perform at its best. During activity, your body uses carbohydrates for energy and depletes its carbohydrate stores. Thus, refilling your carbohydrate stores between games is important.

Carbohydrate-rich snacks you can enjoy between pickleball games include:

  • Fresh fruit: Bananas, grapes, apples, oranges, pears, peaches, plums, pineapple chunks, sliced melon
  • Dried fruit: Raisins, cranberries, papaya, mango, pineapple
  • Applesauce squeeze pouches
  • Granola bars, fig bars, breakfast bars, dry cereal, mini bagels
  • Pretzels, pita chips, snack crackers, animal crackers, graham crackers
Carbohydrate-Rich Pickleball Snacks

Pickleball Snacks: Extended Time Between Games

When you have several hours between pickleball games, plan to eat a larger snack that provides a good source of carbohydrates along with a source of lean-protein.

The snack you eat between games should be low in both fat and fiber.  Consuming foods high in fat and/or fiber too close to activity may result in GI distress during your next game (4).

Snack ideas athletes can enjoy when they have several hours between games include:

  • Trail mix (made with pretzels, dried fruit, breakfast cereal, mixed nuts)
  • Beef jerky, granola bars, orange wedges
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana
  • Pita chips, hummus, grapes
  • Turkey wrap, watermelon
  • String cheese, pretzels, strawberries
  • Granola bars, apple slices, and nut butter
Pickleball Snack Ideas

Rehydrating Between Pickleball Games

In addition to planning for snacks, it is important to consider how you will rehydrate between pickleball games. Dehydration can increase your risk of heat illness and have a negative impact on sports performance (5). Therefore, it is important to have a plan for hydrating between pickleball games.

During activity, individuals sweat to help remove heat from their bodies resulting in the loss of both fluids and electrolytes. The main electrolyte lost in sweat is sodium.

Individuals vary greatly in regard to the amounts of fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat during activity. In addition, the temperature and humidity, the exercise intensity, and the duration of the game can impact sweat losses (5). Certain medications, such as diuretics, can also impact fluid status and hydration needs.

For these reasons, it is best to work with a sports dietitian nutritionist to develop an individualized hydration plan to support your activity.

Rehydrating Between Pickleball Games

General Hydration Tips

General tips to help you stay hydrated during a day of pickleball games include:

  • Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Pack extra water bottles in your cooler to ensure you have enough fluid to last the full day.
  • When you will be exercising over 1 hour, have multiple games in the same day, or if it is hot and humid outside, consider a sports drink to help replace fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat.
  • Enjoy fruits and vegetables that contain a high-water content throughout the day to help you stay hydrated.  Foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, and celery all have a high-water content and can be great snack options.
  • If you rehydrate with water between pickleball games, choose snacks that contain sodium, such as pretzels, snack crackers, pita chips, or jerky, to help with replacing sodium lost in sweat. Sodium also helps stimulate thirst (5), thus encouraging you to drink fluid between games as well.

*Note: Talk with your doctor about staying hydrated during activity if you are on a low-sodium diet or are required to limit your fluid intake.

Traveling to Pickleball Tournaments

If you will be traveling to pickleball tournaments, take time to plan ahead for how you will meet your nutrition needs. Make sure to pack snacks you can enjoy in the car, have a plan for hydration while traveling, and consider food you can enjoy in the hotel room.

Ready for Pickleball

You are now set with a variety of pickleball snack ideas to provide you with energy to perform at your best on the court. As a reminder, make sure to prioritize hydration and carbohydrate-rich snacks to keep you going strong all day long.

For additional sports nutrition tips, check-out my blog: Easy High-Fiber Breakfasts for Athletes.

Join the Nutrition By Mandy Email List & Get a Free Athlete’s Grocery List

Click HERE to join the Nutrition By Mandy e-mail list. When you join you will receive a free athlete’s grocery list to print and take with you to the store.

About the Author

Mandy is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine.  Mandy has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation. Learn more about the work Mandy does here.

Scroll to Top