Sports season is here and so is kid’s snack season. Whether your little one is into baseball, tennis, swimming, summer camp, or dance- the activities are endless and so are the snacks. If you are asked to do a snack share with your little league teams, you might be at a loss for what to bring. No snack share but still have a physically active and hungry kiddo running around? They need healthy snacks, too! If you’re wondering what to throw in the cart the next time your shopping double check this list for healthy snacks that are as easy as 1-2-3…..you’re out!
Sports snacks shouldn’t be a sugar fest
An ice cream cone after a big ball game is one thing, but cupcakes, cones, cookies, and candy bars after every practice is too much! Not only do these foods “spoil” dinner by filling your kiddos belly with added sugar and fat, they can also have long term health effects when over-consumed. Too much sugar in a child’s diet can lead to poor overall nutrition, overweight, dental caries, and limited exposure to other foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no added sugar for children under 2 and limited exposure in young children. If you are looking for great tips and ideas to decrease the added sugar in your kiddos life, check out this article on raising sugar free kids.
Snacks are mini meals with a purpose
Snacks should be thought of as mini meals. This means try to get multiple food groups in one snack. For example, an apple and cheese stick with whole grain crackers is three food groups. A delicious, quick, microwave bean burrito has three, too! Having multiple types of food groups in a meal or snack ensures a child is getting a variety of nutrients. These foods also work together to promote satiety, in other words, they help you stay feeling fuller longer. When you’re planning a snack to follow up a major physical activity such as a big hike or soccer game, you’ll want to focus on two macronutrient groups. (Macro-nutrient is a fancy shmancy term for carbohydrate, protein, or fat. It doesn’t account for the vitamins, minerals, and other “micro-nutrients” your body needs.) Make sure your child has a protein, to help rebuild and repair muscle and make sure there is a carbohydrate to replenish the energy lost during the activity. Snacks should help hold a hungry person over until the next mealtime. This is true for adults or kids. It’s also true for any snack- whether after a game or midday during online schooling.
Put it all together and pass it out
Now that you have a basic idea or a “snack skeleton” let’s get it filled in with easy ideas your kids are sure to love. Healthy foods for kids don’t have to be boring or difficult to make. There are plenty of simple, quick, nutritious options!
- Frozen yogurt tubes - they contain both protein and carbohydrates for energy.
- Bananas and peanut butter pouches- pairing the fiber and carbohydrates from the fruit with the protein from the nut butter gives your kiddo a filling snack. It’s also super portable and doesn’t need to be kept cool!
- Raisins- Dried grapes are nature’s candy. They are sweet, small, and portable. They are also packed with potassium to help prevent muscle cramps and carbohydrates for energy.
- Packaged nuts- Pair these portable, storable brain food bites in your car or sports bag to pair with fruit or graham crackers for a winning combination anytime!
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