Best Volleyball Snacks for Tournaments
When preparing for a full-day volleyball tournament it is important to know what snacks to pack to meet your sports nutrition needs. Having a well-thought-out sports nutrition plan in place can keep you going strong all day long.
Plan Your Volleyball Snacks Ahead
Don’t rely on concession stands to meet your sports nutrition needs at a volleyball tournament. Prior to the tournament take time to plan what food and drinks you will pack.
When you are planning what volleyball snacks to take to the tournament, make sure to consider the following:
- Travel: Car, bus, airplane, hotels
- Time: Start time of first match
- Competition: Number of potential matches your team may play
- Cooler: How you will pack your snacks for the day
In addition to food, make sure to pack an empty water bottle you can refill to stay hydrated while you travel and at the tournament. For additional ideas on hydration while traveling, check-out my blog: 7 Best Gas Station Drinks for Athletes.
Travel: Pack Your Volleyball Snacks
If you are headed out of town for competition, consider what you will eat for breakfast the morning of the tournament. It can be helpful to pack snacks to eat in the hotel room for breakfast prior to a day on the court.
Breakfast volleyball snack ideas:
- Fruit: Banana, apples, oranges, grapes
- Instant packaged oatmeal
- Breakfast bars
- Nut butter
A Note on Nut Butters
Nut butters make a great topping on bagels, dip for your breakfast bars, and are delicious stirred into oatmeal for added flavor and nutrients. In addition to enjoying nut butters for breakfast they make a great addition to your volleyball tournament snacks.
Rather than packing a whole jar of nut butter, Justin’s® has a variety of nut butters available in a convenient 1.15 oz individual squeeze pack. These packs are perfect for travel and can be easily be thrown into your volleyball bag for the trip.
SunButter® products are a great option for those with nut allergies. Their products are made with sunflower seeds and are allergen free. Sunbutter® also makes individual 1.1 oz packs that are convenient for travel.
Snacks for Between Volleyball Matches
Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy needed to perform at its best. As you exercise, you use up your carbohydrate stores, thus refilling these stores between events is important.
When you have limited time between matches, make recovery nutrition a priority. Grab a quick carbohydrate-rich snack to ensure you start your next match with a full tank of energy.
Quick carbohydrate-rich snack ideas include:
- Fruit: Bananas, oranges, apple slices, grapes, applesauce squeeze pouches, dried fruit, fruit cups
- Granola bars, breakfast bars, fig bars, mini bagels, dry cereal, graham crackers, animal crackers
- Salty Snacks: Pretzels, pita chips, snack crackers
- Sports drinks, gels, or chews
Volleyball Snacks: Mini-Meals
When you have more time between volleyball matches turn your snack into a mini-meal. Focus on snacks that are high in carbohydrates, contain moderate amounts of protein, and are low in fat. Eating salty snacks between matches can also be beneficial, as they will help replace the sodium lost in sweat. Sodium also helps stimulate thirst1, thus encouraging you to rehydrate during the break.
Volleyball mini-meal snack ideas include:
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with sports drink
- Turkey wrap, pretzels, and grapes
- Crackers, sliced ham, string cheese, and fruit cup
- Trail mix (made with pretzels, dried fruit, breakfast cereal, nuts) and sports drink
- Breakfast bars with nut butter and a banana
- Pretzels, jerky, and sports drink
Importance of Hydration
Make sure to pack extra water and sports drinks in your cooler for the volleyball tournament. Dehydration can negatively impact sports performance and increase the risk of heat illness2. Thus, focusing on hydration is important for volleyball players competing in a full-day of tournament play.
Hydration for Volleyball Players
During activity, you sweat in order to remove heat from your body. When you sweat, you lose both fluid and electrolytes. The main electrolyte lost in sweat is sodium. Therefore, when focusing on staying hydrated, it is important to consume both fluid and sodium.
Sports drinks are formulated to contain carbohydrates and electrolytes. When consumed during activity, the carbohydrates in the sports drink provide energy for the working muscles. The electrolytes in the sports drink help replace the electrolytes lost in sweat.
Consuming a sports drink between events can also be beneficial, especially when there is little time between matches. If space is limited in your cooler, consider purchasing individual packets of sports drink mix that can be added to your water bottle. Keeping several packets of your favorite sports drink mix in your volleyball bag can definitely come in handy.
Volleyball Snacks: Food Safety
Don’t neglect the importance of food safety when planning your volleyball snacks. Here are a few ways you can stay on top of food safety at your next volleyball tournament.
Wash Your Hands
The first step to food safety is washing your hands. Make sure to wash your hands prior to preparing or eating any of your volleyball snacks.
When you do not have access to soap and water, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Choose a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. To apply the hand sanitizer, rub the gel all over your hands and fingers. Continue rubbing your hands together until they are dry.
Throw a hand sanitizer gel into your volleyball bag to ensure you have it available when needed.
Volleyball Snacks – Maintain Temperature Control
Another key aspect of food safety is maintaining temperature control. It is important to store food at the appropriate temperatures to prevent bacterial growth. To ensure food safety, cold food should be held below 40°F.
At your volleyball tournament, it is essential to make sure all perishable foods are held cold throughout the day. Pack items such as deli meat, cheese, yogurt, chocolate milk, and cut fruit, in an ice chest.
When you grab your snack from the cooler, remove only the quantity of food you plan to eat at that time. Packing your snacks in individual size serving bags can help with this.
Any food items that are held without temperature control for two hours or more should be thrown away. Don’t take the risk of getting a foodborne illness from inappropriately stored snacks.
Ready to Pack Your Volleyball Snacks
You are now set with ideas for planning volleyballs snacks. Make sure to plan ahead and pack snacks to provide you with the energy needed to perform at your best through the final match.
If you are interested in additional sports nutrition tips for athletes, check-out my recent blog: 3 Keys to Building Healthy Breakfasts for Athletes.
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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 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.
- American College of Sports Medicine, Sawka, M. N., Burke, L. M., Eichner, E. R., Maughan, R. J., Montain, S. J., & Stachenfeld, N. S. (2007). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 39(2), 377–390. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0b013e31802ca597
- Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 48(3), 543–568. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000000852