top of page

March 16, 2023

Packable Pickleball Snacks

By Brandi Givens, RD

Tennis and Technique-Main.jpg

You’ve been drilling daily to perfect those crosscourt dinks and roll volleys, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t break into that advanced pickleball group. Hey, pssst! There may be a backhanded way to level up. Win them over with snacks!


Sharing food has been a universal act of human camaraderie since the beginning of time. By becoming the known snack-king of the court, you’ll soon be coveted by every clubmate. Better yet, show them you care by bringing healthier, homemade choices. Here are some ideas to try.


Throw it in the Bag


These are simple snack ideas that you can make ahead of time and toss into that swag bag you scored at the last tournament. Go the extra hygienic step and pack individual servings in zip-top baggies for your pickle-pals.

  • Trail mix – Make your own nutritious concoction by combining your choice of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chunks.

  • Popcorn – It takes just a few minutes to pop your own on the stovetop before you scoot to the court. Add a little salt or other seasonings while the popcorn is still hot.

  • Roasted chickpeas – Toss a drained can of garbanzo beans with your favorite seasonings and roast on a baking sheet at 450° for 30-40 minutes.

  • Jerky – You can make your own at home by dehydrating marinated meats in the oven or smoker.

  • Whole fruit with peels – Bananas and mandarin oranges are classic grab-and-go choices that require no prep work.


Pack a Little Cooler


It’s best to keep these foods chilled for safety and enjoyability. A lunchbox-style cooler with a reusable freezer pack should do the trick.

  • Cheese and crackers – Pre-slice hard cheeses like sharp cheddar or Gouda to pair with whole grain crackers.

  • Grapes – Snip grape stems into small, shareable bunches.

  • Melon – Take toothpicks to share melon chunks or leave the rind on slices for easy handling.

  • Hummus and veggies – Hummus is easy to make by blending canned garbanzo beans, olive oil, and lemon juice. Use celery sticks, carrots, or sliced peppers for scoops.

  • Apple slices and nut butter – Put a little lemon on the sliced apples to ward away the brown oxidation.

  • Guac and tortilla chips – Make guacamole at home with fresh avocados, minced red onion, and lime. Pack the dip air-tight for transport to prevent browning. Bake your own chips at home with corn tortillas, oil, and seasonings.


High-Energy Sweet Treats


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 85% of our daily food calories should be nutrient-dense. That leaves 15% for fun, including sweets. I recommend choosing recipes that offer nutrition along with the splurge. Use healthier ingredients like whole grains, and higher quality oils like walnut, avocado, or canola when you can. The internet is full of dessert recipes using whole fruit, like ripe bananas and dates, as sweeteners.

  • Muffins – You can make these mini-sized for small bites. Use nutrient-packed ingredients like whole wheat flour, rolled oats, applesauce, bananas, blueberries, carrots, pumpkin, or zucchini. Add fun texture with nuts and seeds like walnuts, flax, and chia.

  • Energy bites – These no-bake treats are packed with nutrient-dense calories for long play days. My favorite combo is oats, honey, dark chocolate chips, coco flour, flax seed, and nut butter.

  • Fruit bars – Bake your own energy bars with ingredients you recognize, like fruits, nuts, seeds, and oats.

  • Upgraded cookies – It’s a stretch to call any cookie healthy but by choosing recipes with oats, dried fruit, and nuts, you can feel a bit better about them.


All joking aside, there’s no better pairing than good food and pickleball. Even if you don’t bribe your way into that playgroup you envy, sharing snacks will drive 5.0 smiles all around.  •


Spring Berry Bars


1 lb. fresh berries like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, diced into ¼-inch chunks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1½ cups rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup canola oil


Stir together chopped fruit, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside. In another bowl combine oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt; add oil and mix to coat dry ingredients. With a spatula, press two-thirds of the oat mixture evenly into an oiled 9" x 12" baking pan. Drain any liquid from the berry mixture and sprinkle fruit evenly onto pressed oats. Evenly spread remaining one-third of oat mixture on top; press gently. Bake at 375° for 45 min. Press one more time while warm to compact bars. Let cool, then cut into squares. Enjoy!

Brandi Givens has been a registered dietitian since 2010. Questions or comments can be posted to her blog at

bottom of page