Looking for easy and nutritious snacks that will fuel your kids for their sports activities? Here’s your dietitian-approved list!
Is it just me, or did hockey season JUST end, and without even blinking, we’re headed into two very busy months of driving kids to and from the soccer field? That’s right–it’s Spring sports season again!
This year, believe it or not, I have three (that’s right…THREE!) kids in soccer, so every weeknight evening in our week will involve taking kids to soccer. This means, rushing home from work, quickly feeding the kids, uniforming-up and heading out again. Yikes! This means that we’ll have to be extra organized and either have leftovers ready to heat up or super easy weeknight meals (here are my top quick and easy weeknight meals btw). Quick and easy is key. You want to make sure these meals are balanced, nutritious and not too heavy (so that your kids don’t feel yucky during practice).
What about team snacks?
Ugh–soccer snacks. A big point of contention for me. I’m so sick of seeing kids being handed nutrient-void, sugar-filled, artificially coloured and flavoured snacks post-game. And me standing there feeling helpless because I don’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud dietitian mom who speaks up about it. Does anyone feel the same way?! I know Sally at Real Mom Nutrition does… here’s her post on being fed up with soccer snacks.
How does it seem ok to hand out fruit roll-ups, donut holes and fruit punch after soccer practice twice to three times a week?
Why I don’t love soccer snacks
There are many reasons why this doesn’t sit well with me, starting with the fact that we’re trying to teach our kids healthy habits, by playing sport and being active, and then rewarding them by offering junk afterwards–it just doesn’t make sense to me! And if soccer practice is right around the dinner hour (which for our young ones it is), most kids have just eaten dinner and really don’t need a snack an hour later (especially if they’re young and not yet at a competitive age). A healthy snack before bed–that seems reasonable. My first vote? To relieve parents of snack duty and let individual families plan out bedtime snack as they see fit. After all–life is busy enough!
On the other hand, soccer snacks are fun and kids look forward to them–I get it. So, why not use that opportunity to offer more nutrition and teach our kids how to properly fuel after sport?
Snacks for sport should fuel up your kiddos, and not bog them down (or add unnecessary sugar or empty calories).
The purpose of the snack post-sport is to:
• Provide energy to keep muscles working throughout the activity
• Keep the body hydrated and cool (especially during the summer months)
• Provide nutrients for growth and development
• Encourage recovery after the game
My favourite nutritious soccer/sport snacks:
- Nutritious and low-sugar granola bars (my fave are Made with Local’s Real Food Bars)
- Cheese sticks + apple slices
- Whole fruit (bananas, apples, clementines) or cut fruit (watermelon, orange slices)
- Greek yogurt cups and fruit
- Homemade trail mix in individual baggies
- Home-popped popcorn + milk or chocolate milk
- Cheese + crackers + fruit
- Unsweetened fruit and veggie pouches (my favourite are Slammers Snacks or Squoosh)
- Homemade muffins or energy balls
Last year, I sent these yummy egg mini-muffins with some cheese, grapes, and strawberries. Let kids pick and choose their own combination. Remember – it’s their responsibility to choose “how much” they consume.