Have you ever found yourself hungry during a round of golf or asked yourself what the best snacks would be while on the course?
I’ve definitely asked myself that question many times during competitions. And I know from experience that it is not always easy to find suitable snacks for the round. Especially if you’re playing in a different country and aren’t in the comfort of your own home. You don’t always have access to a kitchen when you’re living in a hotel room for the week. And even if you are in an apartment or a house, you don’t always have the time to make super-duper-healthy homemade snacks to take on the course with you.
Some Food For Thought
Golf is an endurance sport and is played over a long period of time. Over the course of an 18-hole round your body needs foods that fuel you appropriately. For steady concentration, energy and blood sugar levels you should be looking for something that fills you but doesn’t make you feel heavy. You also want to reach for foods that keep you going without causing spikes of blood sugar levels. Because if your blood sugar levels go on a rollercoaster, so will your score. Trust me, I’m speaking form experience.
What you eat and when you eat also depends on your tee off time. If you start your round at 6:00AM your snacks are likely going to be different to what you eat when you tee off at 1:00PM.
It’s a good idea to structure your food intake (pre-round and on-course) based on your tee time. As an example: If I tee off at 1:00PM I’d have lunch before I start my warmup for the round. That gives my body enough time to digest the food and keep me fuelled for the first part of the round. From then on it is a good idea to have a small snack every four to six holes to keep your energy levels topped up and avoid falling into a hole. Because there’s nothing worse than being hungry while chasing those birdies.
After a lot of trial and error I have found a handful of snacks that work pretty well for me. Maybe they serve as inspiration for you too. If so, I’d recommend trying them in a social round first before packing them as a snack for your next big comp.
I’m interested to hear what your favourites are 😊
Bananas are one of the most straightforward snacks to throw in your golf bag. I always have one with me when I play. They are super easy to pack and you can find them in any supermarket. However, if you want to avoid a spike in blood sugar levels you should aim for green(er) bananas as they are low in fruit sugar. The browner and riper a banana is, the higher the amount of sugar.
Vegetable Sticks: Carrot, Cucumber, Celery
Similar to bananas, vegetable sticks are great in terms of simplicity. And while you’re on the go during the round you can easily snack away on a carrot, cucumber or celery stick.
Here’s a few fun facts: carrots are high in potassium which means the are great in balancing electrolyte levels in your body. This is especially important when you play on a hot day and sweat out a lot of minerals.
Cucumbers and celery are composed of about 95% water which makes them the perfect snack to add to your hydration levels on a hot summers’ day.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds make a great snack because they are high in good fats, protein and fibre which offer a bunch of nutrients that fuel your body and brain. Personally, I love almonds and usually have some in my golf bag. Make sure that you go for natural nuts rather than the dry-roasted, flavoured or salted versions as they often contain a lot of sugar or salt. The same applies to pre-made trail mixes. Some of them include raisins, sultanas or chocolate and are high in sugar, which is not what you want.
If you’re trying to shift to a more sustainable lifestyle and reduce the amount of plastic you’re consuming, check out if there is a bulk food store or package free store near you. Take an empty glass jar or container of choice with you and stock up on your nut supplies 😊
If you’re at home or in an accommodation with cooking facilities, you can quickly prepare a 7-minute egg the night before your round. If you’re in a hotel, you might have to opt for sneaking a boiled egg or two from the breakfast buffet into your golf bag. Either way eggs offer a range of nutrients such as fats and protein which fill you up and keep you going on the course without sending you on a sugar high. An egg-cellent combination.
Wholegrain Bread with Peanut Butter, Chicken or Tuna
To keep you going after the turn, look for foods that contain a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. A good option is wholegrain bread with peanut butter, chicken or tuna as they tick all of the boxes to fill up your energy tank. If possible, try to consume the sandwich in little bits rather than demolishing it on the way from the tee to your second shot.
Homemade Protein Balls
Depending on your accommodation situation and spare time, you can make your own protein balls aka an energy boost for the final stretch. This is especially helpful if you might experience a low on the closing holes and struggle to come home strong. Homemade protein balls are great because you decide what goes in them. While there is a huge range of energy bars and balls out there, not many of them are made from natural and healthy ingredients.
So if you have the time, opt for the homemade version – they usually taste better too 😊 And make sure you give this recipe by nutritionist Alyse Co-Cliff a go. Her ‘Taste Like Snickers Balls’ are the perfect combination of natural and delicious ingredients that will get you through the last few holes: https://anappleaday.net.au/taste-like-snickers-balls/
Even though this blog post focusses on snacks, I also wanted to briefly touch on hydration. Because hydration is key for your performance. I found that the best way to keep hydrated throughout the round is to have a sip of water on every hole. To make it easier to remember, I include drinking into my routine: After every tee shot, or before I walk onto the green I reach for my water bottle and have a sip. That way I know I won’t risk dehydration. Especially on hot days it is even more important to constantly keep the water intake up. If just water doesn’t do it for you, cut up a few slices of fresh lemon or lime and add them to your bottle. This will give your drink a fresh twist while bringing important electrolytes back into your body.