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Not sure what you should feed your kids before their practice or game? The answer may be simpler than you think. Kids know when they are hungry and need a boost of energy. Often that’s after school and before their activities. Does that mean a choice between hours preparing “fun” snacks, or expensive and not-so-healthy fast food options? No! Homemade kid-friendly after school snacks can be simple, cheap, fast and nutritious. Here’s how.
Proteins and fats slow down the release of energy and are important for healthy growth and development.
What does that look like in terms of snack options? Pick some things from these lists to fuel your active child and save yourself hassle and money. Best of all, you always know what is in the snacks you bring from home. No hidden sugar, salt or unhealthy fats.
The non-perishable foods are safe to leave in the car all day. They are perfect for days when a pit stop at home isn’t possible.
Carbohydrate foods (pick two)
- Fresh fruit (some fruit doesn’t keep very well if left in the car in cold weather)
- Unsweetened apple sauce
- Dry whole grain cereal
- Low fat or homemade granola
- Low fat banana bread or muffin
- Whole wheat English muffin
- Carrot sticks or other veggies
- Frozen fruit
- Whole grain pita or wrap
- Left over whole wheat pancakes or waffles
Proteins and healthy fats (add one of these for a longer session)
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Hard boiled egg
When you can prepare something ahead of time, here are a few easy ideas.
Ants on a log: Celery sticks filled with peanut or other nut butter and topped with raisins.
Simple smoothie: Frozen fruit, Greek yogurt, small amount of 100% fruit juice. You can even add spinach or kale to get some extra veggies in.
Banana roll up: Spread peanut butter on a whole-wheat tortilla and wrap around a banana.
Power sandwich: Scrambled egg inside a whole wheat English muffin or mini bagel makes a quick and easy sandwich to go. Add chopped peppers or salsa.
A Note on Hydration
Does your child need a sport drink during their activity? Most of the time the answer is no. Unless your child is running around or skating constantly for 90 minutes or more, water is the best choice.
Although your child might seem tired after school, energy drinks are not a healthy choice. The ingredients could be harmful to children under 18-years-old. Boost your young athlete’s energy with a healthy snack and water instead.
Steph Tilley is a dietetic intern with Kim Wagner Jones in Calgary. Active for Life is a nonprofit organization committed to helping parents raise happy, healthy, physically literate kids. For more articles like this one, please visit ActiveforLife.com. And for more information about fueling your young athlete check out the Coaching Association of Canada’s website.