Healthy Snack Ideas for Your Little Athletes

Kids may seem to have boundless energy, but running around the soccer field or baseball diamond takes effort — and burns lots of calories.  As a parent or coach, it’s important to make sure kids are well fueled. They’ll play better on the field and feel better afterwards.

Whether it’s a practice game or the championship, come prepared with these fuss-free, nutritious, on-the-go snacks:

• Victory veggies: Bring veggies that are easy to eat, such as baby carrots, celery sticks and bell pepper slices. They provide valuable vitamins and nutrients, and they won’t weigh down young athletes.

• First-place fruit: Oranges, tangerines, watermelon and other juicy fruits are chock full of vitamins. And their high water content will help keep kids hydrated. Make these tasty fruit snacks even easier to eat by pre-slicing, pre-peeling and packing them in single-serve bags. Fun fact: olives, avocados and tomatoes are fruits!

• Powerful protein: A boost of protein after vigorous physical activity helps repair muscles. A handful of almonds or a scoop of trail mix is easy to pack in a re-sealable plastic bag and delivers a nutritious dose of antioxidants and omega-3s. Cheese sticks are another portable protein option.

• Replenish & rehydrate: While nourishment is important, don’t overlook the importance of replenishing fluids and electrolytes lost during intense activity. Kids should quench their thirst throughout the game, especially in warmer weather. Water is always the best choice for hydration. To resupply necessary sodium, offer your little athlete a salty snack, like olives, as a healthful, simple and natural alternative to chips.

Go easy on sports drinks, which can be loaded with calories and sugar and are generally unnecessary for the sports field except in the case of prolonged, vigorous exercise, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Whether you’re prepping for a big game or enjoying a casual scrimmage at the park, don’t forget snacks that will keep your athletic, on-the-go family healthy, hydrated and strong.

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