9 Healthy Snacks for Gymnasts

Travelling to and from gymnastics classes several nights a week means that I’m always on the lookout for easy, healthy snacks my boys can eat as they rush out of the door. It’s all too easy to give them a chocolate biscuit or a packet of crisps, and then an apple to eat during their lesson to make myself feel like I’ve ‘balanced it out’ with something healthy. But that won’t really keep them feeling full for long, or give them the energy they need for a long training session. So I started looking for snacks that I could buy or make which would fuel their bodies more efficiently.

Now, I should add that I’m not a nutritionist – my most academic understanding of health and nutrition is a D in AS-Level Biology almost twenty years ago! So please do be aware when reading this post that all opinions given about the health benefits of any snack are purely that- my own opinion. For more detailed information, or specific enquiries about the needs of your own child, you should always contact a professional.

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Oats are well-known for keeping you full and providing slow-release energy, which is great for a young athlete. You could try these simple energy bites from Onyourjourney, which look absolutely yummy!

Or why not try more traditional flapjacks? I use honey instead of sugar to make this a healthier treat, and you can also add various fillings depending on your tastes. They’re also really easy to make, so your children can join you in the kitchen. I know that my boys are always more willing to try something new if they’ve helped to cook it themselves! I use this recipe, which is adapted from Davina’s sugar free flapjacks :

Mix 300g butter and 400ml honey together in a saucepan over a low heat- don’t let it boil! I sometimes add a sprinkling of cocoa powder at this point to give a chocolate-y flavour, although it’s just as nice without this addition.

Stir in 600g porridge oats, plus any extras such as raisins, and mix together. Line a tin with greaseproof paper, and pour the mixture into it. Cook for 25-30 minutes in a pre-heated (190⁰c) oven.

Flapjacks made with honey can make healthy snacks
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Remove the flapjack from the oven, use a knife to score the surface into individual squares, and then leave to cool. Once cooled, the flapjacks will keep in a sealed container in the cupboard for a few days.

For a vegan alternative, you could try Savvy Dad’s yummy flapjack recipe.

Natural Yoghurt and Honey/Fruit

I always use full fat yoghurt, as it’s a good source of calcium and useful for building strong bones and teeth. Although natural yoghurt can have quite a sharp taste, adding honey to it makes it taste sweeter, and as a naturally occurring sugar, it’s better for them than refined sugars. My boys also love to have chopped up grapes or raisins in their yoghurt, but you could add nuts or seeds too if your child likes eating them.

healthy snacks for gymnasts

Savoury Muffins

There are many different variations on home-made savoury muffins, with carrot and apple, or carrot and courgette, being particularly popular choices. Most recipes begin with a basic cake mixture, but substitute the sugar for grated or ground fruit/vegetables. I’ve always found that with this type of recipe, it’s best to just play around with your ingredients until you reach a concoction that your own children are happy with. For example, although both of my boys love banana on its own, neither of them likes a cake that is made with banana in it! Here is the basic cake recipe that I use when cooking:

6oz self-raising flour

6oz butter or margarine

6oz sugar (replace this with your fruit/vegetable of choice)

1 egg

A splash of full fat milk (optional)

If you have a go at making some savoury muffins at home, let me know in the comments which combinations have worked best in your family!

Hummus Dip

Although you can make your own hummus, I usually go for shop bought, and then add something to dip into it- cucumber, carrot, pepper, or oatcakes- or anything else you fancy! My personal favourite is carrot, but my children love hummus and oatcakes.

Speedy Soup

If you like to stay organised by meal planning, Vicki from Blossom Education has a great speedy meal idea, which could be eaten quickly before leaving for gym, or even put in a flask and taken with you if you have a longer journey in the car. She shares:

“Both of my daughters used to attend dance classes on a Friday from school and then we would nip home, grab a quick snack and then it was onto swimming for my eldest. As they both had a hot school meal and I didn’t want my eldest swimming on a super full stomach, I would often give them a quick meal of chicken soup with some toast triangles.

On a Wednesday, we would usually roast a chicken. After taking off most of the meat, I then boil the carcass along with some herbs (rosemary, thyme or even tarragon go nicely with chicken) and any vegetables that are on the turn – carrots, parsnips and onions work best. The smell that wafts through the house whilst making this is divine.

I then strain into a bowl and leave to cool before refrigerating. On soup day, I simply take out a few ladles of the stock and heat in a pan on the stove. Once heated through, I throw in a few scraps of the leftover chicken meat, reduce the heat and add a few tablespoons of Alpro single cream substitute (I am dairy free) and a good twist of black pepper. I serve this with one slice of bread toasted, no butter needed. It’s delicious, even if I do say so myself!”

Healthy snacks and meals
Vicki’s Chicken Soup

I’m certainly looking forward to giving this one a try the next time we have a roast chicken!

Shop Bought Healthy Snacks

When you don’t have time for cooking your own, or if you just really don’t enjoy it, you can buy a good range of healthy snacks for your gymnasts online or from supermarkets. Here are some ideas for healthy, filling shop bought snacks that my children have tried and enjoyed:

*dried apricots

*pretzels (these can be salty, but they also come in a good range of different flavours, both sweet and savoury)


*Graze snack boxes– again, these healthy snacks come in a good variety of different flavours. While browsing online, I found a new kids’ range, which we haven’t yet tried, but I will definitely be on the lookout for them in the supermarket!

Mundi Gattis has a list of healthy snacks on her blog which she describes as ‘toxic free’ – although most are American products, some of them can be bought on Amazon, so may be worth checking out if you’re looking for something a bit more unusual.

Do you have any tried-and-tested healthy snacks that you would add to this article? Perhaps you create a whole healthy lunch box, like Claire Hattrick does in her blog post? Let me know in the comments!

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