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Healthy After Game Snacks for Sports Activities
Parents will certainly gain brownie points for getting their child to his or her sporting event, but points can be lost for providing junk food snacks for teammates…
Team sports are a great way for kids to exercise, develop physical and social skills and have fun, but when these junior athletes are provided with unhealthy snacks, some of the benefits of these activities are lost. With the seemingly endless selection of junk food choices available today, it is easy to lose focus and fall into the junk food snack trap.
Take a look at the list of unhealthy ingredients in these squeezy pops...
Say "No" to Carnival Snacks
If you are like me, you are frustrated by the typical after game snacks that are provided for your child. After a recent soccer game, my son was given both a Fla-Vor-Ice Ice Pop and a Cool Aide drink all at once, both which were laden with unhealthy sweeteners, food coloring, preservatives and really nothing valuable. As a parent, I am constantly asking myself “When did life become a sideshow where all we can find is carnival food?” We all know that loads of refined sugar and food coloring are unhealthy, as well as some other harmful snack food ingredients, now let’s do something about it!
First lets consider harmful ingredients in some popular beverages and snacks:
Sugar: Refined sugar causes blood sugar to spike and dip. Kids need real food, refined sugar is a fake food that provides empty calories.
Food Dyes: Unlike the U.S., a great many countries, recognizing that they can cause hyperactivity in children as well as other negative health consequences, have banned a number of artificial food dyes in recent years. Despite resistance from the food industry, there is a growing movement to do the same here in the U.S. Even without meaningful legislation governing and restricting the use of food dyes, we ourselves can vote against unhealthy food dyes by making educated buying decisions.
Read the ingredient list: Many preservatives, additives and chemicals are harmful to children. You don't necessarily have to be familiar with each additive and its effects, a good rule of thumb is to routinely choose snacks with the fewest ingredients.
More Harmful Ingredients to Avoid
Ingredients to Avoid
High Fructose Corn Syrup
This highly processed food tricks the brian into thinking that you never ate. Leads to obesity.
Trans Fats or Hydrogentated Oil
Hydrogenated Oil has been baned in many places. It is linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes
Are known to cause behavior and allergic reactions
Artifical Sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose
These don't belong in kids snacks, if you must buy a sweetened food, sugar is a better choice
Preservatives such as polysorbates, BHT, BHA, Sodium Benzoate and sulfiltes
Although providing a good profit margin for the food industry, these foods are harmful to the human body...avoid them!
Kids play hard, and although they may not realize it, their bodies are dependent upon having nutrition that is not tainted with additives and refined sugars, so why not give them what they need in the way of healthy refueling and nourishment? The choice is simple.
What kids really need…Water!
After a physically demanding game kids will need rehydration, they will need fluids and the best fluid is water. Bottled water is the best choice for parents to bring along to a game. Despite massive and persuasive advertising, drinks containing electrolytes, such as Gatorade, are not only unnecessary for a typical child’s rehydration after a sporting practice or event, but are loaded with refined sugar. The volume of sugar even in 'all-natural' fruit juices has been found to actually be detrimental to a healthy diet. Fruit juice is good as long as it is still in the fruit. The fiber of the fruit is necessary to make fruit a whole food rather than the equivalent of a sugar drink. Stick with water!
Your child and their teammates will also need proteins and carbohydrates to recharge. Fruit is a great carbohydrate option, but it is by no means the only choice, which I will point out.
Bake it or Buy it?
While the idea of baking healthy muffins to give out at the next soccer game seems good in theory, I have yet to see a homemade, after game snack, in 16 years of parenting. What I do see is serving size food containers that have been purchased. So rather than give you a list of snacks that require baking or preparation here are some options for 'purchase and serve' snacks, typically packaged in single serving portions.
Healthy Sports Snacks you Can Buy:
The list is admittedly short, but that is actually good news! Choosing healthy sports snacks won’t have to take a long time or involve a lot of work. Let’s put our purchasing vote to work and stay away from the junk food snacks. Our children will benefit, and we can all reap the healthy rewards.
This list of healthy snacks can be provided to other parents on your child’s team and is especially helpful if certain team members have ADHD, given that both sugar and artificial food coloring are especially detrimental to these children.
More good information on healthy eating
- Strawberry Cake - Native American Style Recipe
Native American Strawberry Cake is both delicious and nutritious. This sugar free recipe is a big hit with kids and adults alike.
- Eliminate Sugar | Sugar Free Baking for Kids
Americans are eating more and more sugar and corn syrup sweetened foods often without realizing it. These ingredients are unhealthy. Read about one Mom's struggle to rid her house of these products.
© 2014 Tracy Lynn Conway