Healthy team treats: 8 snacks to refuel your little athlete

If your child plays sports, you have probably been asked to bring a halftime snack or a treat for after the game. Many parents take the easy, unhealthy route and bring chips, cookies, fruit snacks or sports drinks. Such treats provide zero nutritional value and can sap kids’ energy.

Of course, kids love those salty and sugary snacks so you may feel pressured to bring them. Here are some options that are kid-friendly, easy to make and delicious enough to refuel and recharge the whole team.

Instead of fruit snacks, try:

  • Yogurt – Yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) has lots of protein to keep kids energized. You can add fresh fruit, such as berries, for an extra healthy kick, or bring yogurt packaged in tubes for an on-the-go snack.
  • Grapes – These are perfect for summer games because they are sweet, refreshing and don’t make a mess. Try frozen grapes for a new spin that kids will love!

Instead of cookies, try:

  • Granola bars – If you’re taking the store-bought route, be sure to grab the box with the least amount of sugar. Another easy option is to make your own at home! Use ingredients like granola, oats and dried fruit for a sweet and satisfying treat.
  • Trail mix – It’s best to create your own trail mix. Try it with nuts, seeds and popcorn. Instead of adding candy, use dried fruit in the mix to get a healthier blast of sweetness.

Instead of chips or crackers, try:

  • Veggies and dip – Pair vegetables such as carrots and celery with individual containers of hummus, guacamole, salsa or peanut butter to create a wholesome combo. The raw veggies give the same crunch that chips provide without the salt and oil.
  • Plain popcorn – While popcorn doesn’t pack a huge nutritional punch, it is a great alternative to chips or crackers. Try it plain or with natural seasonings.

Instead of juice, sports drinks or energy drinks, try:

  • Smoothies – Smoothies combine fruits, veggies and other healthy foods like yogurt into one simple snack. Bring a pitcher and serve the smoothie in small cups.
  • Water bottles – Water is always the best drink option no matter what. Try getting pint-sized bottles for an easy way to make sure the whole team stays hydrated.

The Play Smart, Eat Right campaign encourages kids and adults to eat at least one serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal. Regardless of whether your child is running up and down the soccer field for hours or cheering from the sidelines, the best fuel for keeping their minds and muscles sharp is fruits or veggies paired with whole grains or lean proteins.

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