As any parent knows, it can be challenging to get kids to eat well. With the bustling schedules, lack of time, etc and can be tough to find the right snacks to keep your kids fueled up during after school sports without spoiling their dinner.
So how do you find that perfect balance?
Researchers Jennifer Sacheck, Ph.D., and Christina Economos, Ph.D., delved into the topic a few years ago for MLS.com (that’s Major League Soccer). Here is a list of snacks, based on Sacheck & Economos’s recommendations as well as conversations with several nutritionists.
Pre-Activity (~100-300 calories)
- Whole grain pretzels
- Half a wheat bagel with jam
- Fresh fruit
- 1/2 cup raisins and peanuts
- Carrot or celery sticks with hummus & pita
Post-Activity (~100-300 calories)
- Applesauce and string cheese
- Fruit smoothie with calcium-fortified soy milk
- Trail mix
- Apple and peanut butter
- Half a peanut butter sandwich on a bagel
You can also check out NMA’s fueling guides, just keep these kid-specific guidelines in mind:
- Balanced kid’s meal: carbohydrates (46-65%), protein (10-30%) and fat (25-30% and not less than 20%). Through balancing it, you should provide 25-31g of fiber.
- Calcium: 800mg/day (4-8 year olds); 1300mg/day (9-13 year olds). Young athletes need to develop strong bones, but there’s no need to overdue it with too much milk. Good sources include fortified soy milk, beans, tofu, broccoli, kale and almonds.
- Vitamin D: crucial to calcium absorption. Most kids require a supplement or fortified foods and drinks.
- Iron: kids tend to be really low on this crucial mineral. Vitamin C helps absorb iron from non-animal sources such as beans, spinach, tofu, lentils and apricots.
- Zinc: helps with muscle recovery. Get it from beans and whole grains.
- Focus on whole fruit, not juice.
- Avoid caffeine and sodium. Children are less capable of thermoregulating, making adequate hydration crucial. Caffeine and sodium mess with hydration.
Plus, knowing which brands offer up a nutritious punch for busy days can also be very helpful. In fact, Nature Valley has just launched 10 new varieties of their yummy bars in gluten free options! So you can sleep well knowing that there are brands out there that have your back as a parent, saving time and money while keeping your kids fueled up properly!
Now available in Nut Crisp, Nut Crunch, Simple Nut Bar and Protein bars, rest assured that you and your kids can now snack well, gluten-free style!
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1) Facebook Sweepstakes Entry via Nature Valley Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/naturevalley
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If your child isn’t doing more than the USDA’s recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on most days of the week, he or she doesn’t need extra snacks. Soccer, as with most recreational sports, often doesn’t count as a full 60 minutes of vigorous activity, as so much of it involves standing around. In other words, an hour of soccer practice twice a week does not mean your child needs huge dinners and snacks, no matter how nutritious.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nature Valley. The opinions and text are all mine.