Sick of watching your kids exercise then run off the field straight towards a table filled with junk food and neon-colored sports drinks? Fear, not. This post is for you!
It may seem like your kids are always hungry and in search of a snack, especially after sports. And a lot of the snacks offered post-game can be frighteningly unhealthy. Snacks filled with salt, sugar and fat (sound familiar?), are more likely to fill your kids out and not up. If done right, snacking can be an important part of a healthy diet and an excellent opportunity to offer our children valuable nutrients.
Snacks That Will Fuel Them Up
Fruit Kebabs: Fruits like watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe are very hydrating and naturally sweet. Simply cut them into 1-inch cubes and layer them onto a wooden skewer. Pop them into the freezer an hour or two before you leave, then pack them into a cooler and head to the game.
String Cheese: Protein is the ideal source of fuel for athletes. Athletes need protein primarily to repair and rebuild muscle that is broken down during exercise. It also optimizes carbohydrate storage in the form of glycogen. The average string cheese has 60 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein making it a nutritious and portable after-sport snack.
Granola Bars: Carbohydrates are one of the most important sources of energy for athletes since carbs provide the energy that fuels muscle contractions. Be sure to choose complex carbohydrates over simple sugars because they provide energy at a slower rate. Make your own homemade granola bars so you can control the ingredients (especially the sugar) or go for the store-bought kind thats high in fiber and protein and low in sugar.
Turkey Sticks: These simple snacks take seconds to make and are a great combination of protein and carbs. Simply roll some turkey around whole grain breadsticks and you are good-to-go. Pack these roll-ups for your next game and hand them out as the kids come off the field.
Water or Homemade Sports Drinks: When kids play sports, a large amount of water is lost via sweat, which can disturb sodium and water balance. Adequate hydration and sodium intake either via sports drinks, water or food is vitally important. No beverage is more important than water for hydration. Always stock up on plenty of portable water bottles to bring to the games. However, if they simply must have a sports drink, consider making a batch of your own. Commercially prepared ones are loaded with sugar, artificial flavoring and coloring. Making your own sports drink is super simple, cost-effective and healthier. Whip up a batch of your own and bring it to the game in an insulated drink cooler.
Homemade Lemon-Lime Sports Drink
Makes 1 1/2-2 quarts
3/4 cup lemon juice (about 5 large lemons)
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 large limes)
1 cup hot water
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your drink)
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups cold water
3 cups ice
Whisk together sugar and salt in the hot water until completely dissolved. Allow hot water mixture to cool slightly. Add in lemon and lime juice, cold water and ice. Stir until well combined. Pour into an insulated beverage dispenser. Enjoy!