When your little league baseball player or soccer star says, "Your turn to bring snacks," stress can inadvertently be added to your already hectic day. But, it doesn't have to when your snack game plan provides nourishing, tasty choices for the hungry kids.
Providing snacks that fuel up, not bog down, little athletes is a chance to teach kids the proper way to get energy for sports while, at the same time, showing them how much you care. So, instead of reaching for candy or heading to the drive-thru, stop to consider the reasons for snacking and try these suggestions.
Snacks serve several purposes for active kids, including:
In addition, snacks should be easily digested so blood flows to the muscles during exercise and not to the gut in order to digest a heavy, greasy snack.
Depending on the time of the game, different snacks meet different needs. Here is a guide to choosing snacks based on game day and time.
Many kids have early lunch periods during school, so they might start the game hungry. A good after school snack provides quality carbohydrates and protein for quick energy and a satisfied tummy. Consider packing your cooler with these nourishing options:
Muscle fuel can be very low after an overnight fast. Therefore, if you are rushing out the door to make it to a morning game, consider serving breakfast foods that kids love:
After the game snacks should help to replace muscle fuel lost in exercise and replenish fluids without ruining their appetite for thenext meal. Consider:
Providing snacks is a part of every parent's job, so choose wisely and help your child succeed on the field, in the classroom and life.
Reviewed September 2015Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, CSSD, is the sports dietitian for Georgia State University athletics.