Spring sports are a great way for kids to enjoy the warmer weather and get active. What is not so great are some of the snacks that are provided after practice or a game is done.
Kids do need to refuel after practice, but healthier choices can be made than the snack cakes and soda that are usually made available. Registered dietitian Mary Hartley, our resident nutrition expert, recommends fruit, yogurt, hummus with pita and vegetables, or healthy homemade muffins as wholesome foods that make good after-practice snacks. She warns against soda, candy, chips and other processed foods that contain a lot of sugar and fat. Though eating something after practice is an important step in refueling the body, it shouldn’t take priority over hydration.
After a long practice, it is most important for kids to rehydrate. “Water is fine, but if heavy sweating is an issue, have a sports drink,” said Hartley. She also recommends chocolate milk as a good drink for refueling muscles because of its ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Chocolate milk can also be a good substitute for sugary snacks by providing kids the nutrition they need and satisfying a craving for something sweet.
It might not be necessary for kids to have a snack right after practice if it goes late into the afternoon or early evening. An easily digested snack like yogurt, fruit, or half a sandwich before practice may be better, especially if breakfast and lunch were early in the day. “When choosing an after-school snack, remember the adage, ‘don’t spoil your appetite for dinner!’ The last thing you want is for a kid to eat a granola bar in lieu of a nutritious meal,” said Hartley.
This season, try these healthy and portable snack options for your kids and their teammates. Healthier eating and snacking habits have to start somewhere, why not with you?
- Chia bars
- Peanut butter and strawberry sandwiches
- Homemade muffins
- Pumpkin spice balls
- Chobani Champions Greek yogurt tubes
- KIND bars
- Crispy Green freeze dried fruits
- Sabra hummus singles with veggies or pita chips
- Fresh fruit – grapes, apples, bananas, strawberries
- Chocolate milk
- Peanut butter stuffed pretzels
- Mozzarella cheese sticks
- Turkey sandwiches
- Homemade trail mix – graham crackers (Annie’s Bunnies), nuts, dried fruit
- Granola bar box – each team member contributes a box of healthy granola bars for the team to share all season
Image from volunteerspot.com