Have you found yourself in charge of putting together game time snacks for your child’s Little League team, soccer team, or some other sports team? Or, do you have kids who simply love to play sports and need something to fuel them? Some snacks, of course, will be better than others in terms of health. Many of the processed snacks you see on store shelves today, for example, are loaded with sugar—which, of course, has been linked to obesity and a variety of related health issues due to the nature of sugar addiction. Because finding snacks that are both healthy and delicious can be tricky, here are 10 fun and healthy ideas for game time snacks that kids will love.
It may not sound like much of a snack, but it’s worth highlighting first as a game time snack because often, this is all your kids will need after an hour of exercise in between meals. In fact, even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends water as the sole drink for kids during sports, except on occasions where your child is engaging in “prolonged, vigorous physical activity.” Juice boxes and electrolyte-infused drinks like Gatorade tend to be full of sugar and are simply not necessary. If you want to make drinking water more fun for your kids, try adding frozen fruit pieces to their water or letting them pick out a fun water bottle to drink out of!
The natural sugars in fruit are always helpful before and after exercise, and frozen grapes are an especially fun fruit option. Simply stick some grapes in a freezer or cooler filled with ice to make them extra cool. Your kids will love the refreshing flavor, especially on a hot day! Tip: For those times when you need to feed several kids at once, cut the stems in the bunch of grapes to make smaller, snack size bunches.
Bananas are an especially great snack around exercise because they are rich in potassium, which promotes proper muscle function and helps prevent muscle cramping and discomfort. Slice them up for an easy snacks for kids, and for something with added flavor, you can always serve them with natural peanut butter.
If you need something ultra convenient every once in awhile, applesauce packets (and other similar fruit and vegetable packets) are one convenient packaged food that can be a healthy snack option. Just be sure to select applesauce packets that are free of added sugars and to enjoy them sparingly—you don’t want your kids to grow to rely on packaged foods as they get older. Whole fruits and vegetables are always the better option. Tip: Be sure to have kids drink plenty of water after enjoying one of these, as the water will flush out any sugars that are left behind in the mouth.
So far this list has been fruit heavy, and it’s important to note that vegetables are a wonderfully healthy snack option as well. Snap peas are great because kids can enjoy them in the same way that they would enjoy, say, chips or fries. They’re ultra convenient, and you can always serve them with a little Ranch dressing for added flavor.
Celery Sticks and Peanut Butter
Celery contains healthy nutrients like vitamin K, potassium, fiber, calcium, and vitamin C, and pairing it with natural peanut butter can make it not only more appealing but also a good source of protein. Simply spread some peanut butter on some celery sticks and bag them up for this healthy and convenient snack. Use a natural peanut butter made with a healthier oil like coconut oil for maximum health benefits. (Just be sure to go easy on the peanut butter!)
Mixed Nuts (with Dried Fruit and Dark Chocolate Chips)
This is an easy snack that you can put together with ingredients from the bulk section of the grocery store. Simply choose a couple favorite nuts like peanuts and almonds and toss in some dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, etc. along with some dark chocolate chips. Just be sure to go light on the dried fruit and chocolate chips, as the sugar can add up fast. This snack is especially great for after exercise because it contains protein, which is perfect for post-workout. Be careful with this snack, of course, if you’ll be sharing it around kids who may be allergic to nuts.
These, of course, are only a few ideas. What do your sports loving kids love for their game time snacks?