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How Olympic Athletes Snack

Olympic Pros Shawn Johnson, Natalie Coughlin, and Mia Hamm Share Their Healthy Snack Ideas

Being an Olympic veteran means three things: you're a world-class athlete, you're used to hectic schedules, and you know how to travel smart. So who better to ask about how to stay healthy while being on the go than a few famous Olympic athletes? Whether you're snacking at home or need something to grab and go, here are recommendations from veteran Olympians Natalie Coughlin, Mia Hamm, and Shawn Johnson.

When traveling: It's all about "making sure you plan ahead and bring stuff with you, whether it's trail mix or an [energy] bar," soccer star Mia tells us. Gymnast Shawn recommends KIND bars because they are all natural and come in "fun flavors such as almond and coconut and apple cinnamon and pecan. They're surprisingly good," she tells ESPNw. Swimmer Natalie loves making her own energy bars — get her dried plum energy bar recipe here.

At home or work: Natalie is more than just a decorated Olympic swimmer; she's also an avid home cook and gardener. Natalie shared with YumSugar one of her favorite healthy snacks for Spring: "I love just having a really good baguette with good, high-quality butter (just a tiny bit of butter) and fresh sliced radishes with salt on top," she recommends. Shawn is all about snacking on veggies as well: she pairs peppers with hummus for a crunchy, filling snack.

Read on for more snack ideas from these famous Olympians!

Before a workout: The right ratio of protein, carbs, and healthy fats is important for keeping your energy levels up. Just ask mother of three (including twins!) Mia. "I make sure to keep my energy up with healthy whole grains in my diet but also to complement with protein and fats to give me that energy to sustain me during my workout," she says. "Especially [after] having twins — I know that my energy level went down from just feeding them and getting us all ready and out the door." Read our list of what and when to eat before a workout here.

Grab and go: If your trail-mix-and-energy-bar routine is getting stale, try some of these favorites:

  • Honey sesame almonds, a favorite of Shawn's. "They're available at just about any grocery store," she advises.
  • Dried plums, Natalie's go-to packaged snack. "I keep them in the glove compartment of my car; they're just really good portable snacks especially when I'm traveling and at the airport. I'll pack a ton of them with me so I have something that's sweet but also nutritious on hand," Natalie says (she is also a spokesperson for the California Dried Plum Board.).
  • Greek yogurt. "Up to double the protein with half the sugar. Talk about a win-win!" Shawn says.

What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Image Source: Getty
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