As a Registered Dietitian, I often get asked the question “What is a healthy snack for a child who plays sports?” A healthy snack is one that is unrefined (not overly processed), may include a protein (made up of lean meat, nut butter, nuts, seeds or low fat dairy products) and is fiber rich (containing fruits and vegetables ). If you are trying to replenish and rehydrate a young athlete, you want to avoid foods that are filled with sugar, chemicals, additives and colors. Here is a list of 12 inexpensive options to keep the young athletes healthy and happy!
1. Apple slices or carrot sticks- Kids love to crunch. Fill them up with fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants after the big game.
2. Orange slices- Perfect to make smiles turn orange and fun while you reap the juicy benefits of natural juice, fiber and Vitamin C.
3. Bananas- This appealing snack is packed with Potassium which may be lost during sport events.
4. Trail mix- A trail mix can be made by mixing seeds, nuts, whole grain cereal such as Cheerios, dried fruit such as raisins or craisins, pretzels and tiny chocolate chips. This mix is protein and fiber rich as well as filling!
5. Low fat yogurt sticks- Freeze them the night before for a protein rich and cool snack.
6. 2% cheese sticks and whole grain crackers (ie. Wheat Thins) – Refuel the muscles with protein from the cheese and fiber from the whole grains.
7. Raisins- The original “fast food” that packs a nutritious punch.
8. Applesauce squeezers- This fun pouch is full of fiber and vitamins.
9. Pirate Booty puffed corn- This chip contains one of the lowest amounts of salt in all the chip options.
10. Popcorn- Natural and the original whole grain and unrefined snack.
11. Pretzels and Gold Fish- Whole grain goodness that kids love.
12. Granola bars- Packed with nuts, whole grains and sometimes dried fruit. These versions of nature’s candy bars are a great option for kids. Try Clif bars, Kind bars or Cascadian Farms.
To rehydrate don’t forget about WATER! The most important drink there is. Other alternatives include coconut water, and 100% fruit juice. If you feel pressure to choose a “sports drink” pick one that does not have artificial colors added and are low in sugar. Examples include: Vitamin Water ZERO and Gatorade Ice Punch and Gatorade Frost.