Stocking the Swim Meet Snack Bar

By Lauren Trocchio, RD LD (Contributor) / Nutrition Unlocked, LLC.

For Health and Performance

The swim meet snack bar – every swimmer (and parent) is familiar with it.  For swimmers it may be a between-event snack option; for parents, it’s a long-day-at-the-pool meal or snack break, and in most cases they are also responsible for stocking and running it. Given the importance of nutrition, it’s no surprise the swim meet snack bar can play a huge role in helping (or hurting) a young swimmer’s performance – not to mention provide an opportunity to set an example and educate!  Everyone from the team administrative staff to the swimmers can participate in creating a nutritious snack bar, and here’s how:

Admin and Coaches

1. Communicate with both sides of the snack bar. Talk about nutrition with your swimmers. Relay the same messages to the individuals coordinating the snack bar each season. If people are told to eat one thing (fruit) but consistently served another (donuts), they will notice!

2. Help set guidelines. Work with the parents to develop guidelines for foods served at the snack bar.

3. Reinforce the message with an expert. Consider providing a sports nutrition talk for both the swimmers and parents – this keeps the message consistent and ensures accurate nutrition information is passed.


1. Develop guidelines. With the assistance of coaches and sports nutrition resources, develop general guidelines for snack bar foods. This both simplifies things for the parents and ensures foods to meet health and performance needs are being offered.  Need suggestions? Check out the list below.

2. Set the example. Having one snack bar filled with performance-enhancing foods to feed everyone – swimmers, viewers, parents, etc. – helps solidify that all can benefit from nutritious food choices.


1. Help mom and dad. Whether bringing food or managing the snack bar during a 10-hour swim meet, parents are making a commitment to their kids and the team by volunteering. Help mom and dad with prepping foods or stopping in at the snack bar to say “thanks” for all their work.

2. Practice performance nutrition. Coaches and parents can set the stage, but only the swimmer can truly choose to fuel for performance. If the foods are new, be open to experimenting!

So what sorts of foods would be good for different snacking scenarios? Check out this list for ideas.

Between-Event Snack Ideas (15 minutes – 30 minutes)


-Sports drinks

-Fruit (fresh, dried, canned in juice)

-Sports chews

-Dry cereal

-Bagels, English muffins with jelly


Between-Event Snack Ideas (1-2 hours)

-Fruit (fresh, dried, canned in juice)


-Bagels, English muffins with jelly and/or peanut butter


-Whole grain cereals

-Granola bars

-Hard-boiled eggs

-Cheese sticks


Between-Event or Post-Meet Meal Ideas (> 3 hours)

-Peanut butter & jshutterstock_92746924elly sandwich with chocolate milk

-Greek yogurt with granola and fruit
-Turkey sandwich with a banana and carrot sticks

-Grilled chicken breast sandwich with fruit cup
-Apple with peanut butter, bowl of cereal, and a protein bar

-Peanut butter and banana smoothie (try a smoothie bar!)

Lauren Trocchio, RD LD is a registered dietitian in the Washington, DC metro area and the owner of Nutrition Unlocked, LLC. She specializes in sports nutrition and weight management, including working with eating disorder athletes. Lauren is also the sports dietitian for the George Washington University NCAA athletes.



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