Your young athlete is vibrant, energetic and always wants to run around a little bit longer. Don't let that endless energy fool you.
Active kids still need the proper fuel to make it through a soccer game or back-to-back basketball playoff games. Use these tips to keep your little one and his or her teammates strong and speedy with healthy sports snacks.
Important Snack Times
It's important young athletes have snacks before and after every sporting event. But some activities are more physically demanding than others. Whether it's a round-robin day of games or an especially long tournament, energy-boosting sports snacks are critical.
The Wellington-Dufferin-Guleph Public Health nutrition notes recommend the following:
- Provide high carbohydrate, low-fat snacks between events that are three or more hours apart.
- Provide simple, high carbohydrate snacks that are easy to digest, between events that are two hours apart. Easy to digest carbohydrates are low in fiber and include oatmeal, whole-wheat bagel or whole grain crackers.
- Provide a sports drink or hydrating foods between events that are just one hour apart from one another.
Prepare for the Big Game
What kids eat before a game is critical.
Kids burn through a lot of calories. Make sure they're getting in enough carbohydrates, especially before they go to practice or have a game, because they are going to be used for energy right away, says Lauren Thomas, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., and nutritionist at Nutrition Energy.
Some easy sports snacks that are high in carbs and perfect for feeding the whole team are:
- Whole-wheat crackers
- Popcorn (plain, no butter or additives)
If the kids are eating an hour before the game, don't forget the protein because it digests slower, so it fills them up for longer, Thomas says. Examples of protein-filled snacks include:
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich triangles
- Yogurt cups or tubes with fruit and/or granola
- Grape and cheese skewers
Remember that some seemingly healthy sports snacks aren't suitable pre-game munchies.
"Be wary of veggie-based snacks that can upset stomachs, especially when you're active," Thomas says. Avoid vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes and bell peppers.