Healthy Snacks For Little Athletes

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Optimum nutrition for our little athletes is crucial in order for them to have lots of energy and keep their focus on the game. What your child eats can play a huge role in enhancing their sport performance and recovery.

There isn’t always time to make a healthy dinner before practice and sometimes you pick them up from school and head straight there so have to feed them on the way. A drive-through or chips and a granola bar are quick and easy options but not the healthiest.

You need healthy options in order to get your kids through their activities.  Choosing a nutrient rich snack will give your child lots of energy to last through practice.  It doesn’t have to be much, however it should be enough so that their energy levels will be at their best.

If your child is older and their sport or dance activities have become pretty serious, it may be worth speaking with your friendly nutritionist (like me 🙂  ) to ensure they are receiving the right nutrients to sustain the extra activities they are doing.

Here are some examples of pre, post and half time healthy snacks:

Pre-Game Snacks (1-2 hours before)

Rule of Thumb: Think food that will give you sustained energy (complex carbs)

  • Oatmeal with berries
  • Chia & hemp seed pudding
  • Smoothie
  • Granola, Greek yogurt and fruit parfait
  • Eggs and 100% whole wheat or whole grain bread
  • Protein Bar (see Tips) veggies & fruit
  • Whole grain muffins (see recipe below)

 

Half-Time Snacks

  • Homemade sports drink (check out last week’s blog ‘Do Kids Need Sports Drinks?’
  • Granola bar
  • Trail mix with dried fruit
  • Banana
  • Energy balls (see recipe below)

Post-Game Snacks

Rule of thumb: think nourishing foods to replace nutrients used up during activity

  • Water, water, water & a sports drink if needed
  • Smoothie with banana, berries, spinach, almond milk and hemp seeds
  • Big handful of dried fruit
  • Whole grain toast with nut butter
  • Apple sauce with hemp seeds
  • Apples with cheese or almond butter, cinnamon, cacao nibs and pinch of salt
  • Hummus (tahini and chickpeas) with veggies/crackers
  • Sprouts of any kind
  • Hard boiled eggs or an egg salad sandwich
  • Any quality protein with lots of vegetables

These recipes can be made ahead of time, frozen and are great to just grab and go!

Fruity Oatmeal Muffins

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked (not instant)
  • 1 cup pureed fully ripe banana
  • ½ cup blueberries or chopped apple
  • 1/2 cup almond or rice milk or regular milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp oil
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place paper muffin cups in muffin pan. Stir together oatmeal, banana, milk, egg and oil; set aside. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and nutmeg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; stir in banana mixture just until well combined. Do not over-beat. Pour into prepared muffin cups. Each cup should be about 2/3 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes before removing from pans. Put in individual baggies and freeze.

 

Chocolate Balls

Makes 8 – 12 balls depending on size.

This recipe is chocolaty and filled with fiber, they are gluten free, dairy free, and nut free.

  • 12 pitted prunes, chopped finely in food processor
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  In a food processor, add chai and hemp seeds and chocolate chips; blend until smooth.  (You might need to pulse to get a fine consistency.)  Transfer to a bowl.  Add prunes to food processor and chop.  Transfer prunes to the bowl with the hemp, chia and chocolate chips.  Add cinnamon cocoa and salt.  Combine with a spoon.  Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture and roll into balls and place on the parchment paper.  Transfer the sheet to the freezer and freeze for 20 minutes then transfer them into bags (two per bags).

Tip: Grab a bag out of the freezer and add another bag of veggies for a great pre-practice snack.  They do not need to stay frozen to be good.

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Avoid These 5 Dangerous Food Additives

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One of the things I am really passionate about as a Nutritionist is teaching people the importance of eating real food. By doing this you are avoiding food like products that tend to be devoid of nutrients and also contain lots of nasty food additives.

Here are 5 dangerous additives to watch out for, there are many more but if I wrote about them all you would be reading for days!

#1. BHA & BHT

Used in high-fat foods such as oils, butter, meats, cereals, chewing gum, beer, snacks and baked goods to prevent them from going rancid and smelly!

They are associated with hormone disruption and development of tumours after long-term use. BHT specifically has been linked with genetic mutations. BHT/BHA may be carcinogenic to humans.

#2 Potassium Nitrate (E249)

Used as a preservative in meats.

May lower oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and may form carcinogens in the body and can be destructive to the adrenal gland.

#3. Sodium Benzoate (E211)

Used as a preservative in carbonated drinks, pickles, sauces and some medicines.

May aggravate asthma and is suspected to be a neurotoxin and carcinogen, associated with fetal abnormalities and worsens hyperactivity.

#4. Sodium Nitrate (E250)

Used to alter the colour in smoked meats and fish, without this they would look grey!

Can form highly carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances in the body with stomach acid.

#5. Food Colours

Food colours are just plain terrible but I picked 2 to give you an idea of the damage they can cause in the body.

Sunset Yellow (E110) found in sweets, snack foods, ice-creams, yogurts, drinks. It is associated with growth retardation and severe weight loss in animal studies. Can contribute to life threatening respiratory issues in those that suffer from asthma or allergies and is associated with DNA damage and tumours in animals and increase cancer risk in humans.

Tartrazine (E102) FD & C Yellow No. 5 is found in ice cream, carbonated drinks, canned pastas, fish sticks. This is associated with hyperactivity, asthma, skin rashes and migraine headaches.

Could your headaches, skin issues, asthma or hormonal issues be related to the consumption of any of the above? If you think there could be a connection, hit reply or email me at melaniegrimerhn@gmail.com to come in for a free 30 minute chat and see how I can help you.

Last week i went to a cooking class with Jentree Whole Foods and i got to taste her beet hummus. I am a big hummus lover and this new spin on it was out of this world. Click here to check out the recipe.

 

ROASTED BEET HUMMUS

 

Makes 2 cups

 

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium beets, quartered

1 can (19oz) chickpeas, drained

3 cloves garlic

2 lemons zested plus the juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Place cut beets on a large piece of foil and drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil.
  • Wrap and roast for 30 minutes – 1 hour or until beets are knife tender.
  • Cool slightly and peel
  • In a food processor or blender, combine chickpeas, cooked beets, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. begin to blend and add 1 tbsp of oil at a time until it’s well incorporated. (add a few more tbsp. of oil to achieve a creamier consistency)
  • Taste hummus, adjust seasonings and serve. Lasts up to 1 week in the fridge

 

 

 

Why Are Food Allergies & Sensitivities So Common These Days

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Since the mid 1990s food allergies have gone from being pretty rare to very common. An estimated 6-8% of children under the age of 3 in Canada suffer from food allergies, that’s approx 300,000 kids and the numbers continue to rise.

Why Do Food Allergies & Sensitivities Occur?

A lot has changed in our diets over the last 15-20 years, many of our food choices nowadays are very questionable as we tend to be eating more food like products rather than real food.

In 1996 Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) were introduced into our food supply and additives and pesticides are more prevalent in our foods than ever before. We also tend to over protect ourselves and our kids from germs – we can sometimes be too clean. The sterile environments we put ourselves in mean our immune systems don’t come in contact with allergens so our bodies aren’t able to fight them.

Certain factors can also predispose a person to developing food allergies such as genetics (one or both parents are allergy sufferers).

Other issues are that we tend to lack variety in our diet and can eat an excessive amount of the same type of food leading to issues. A healthy immune system is also key here, if this system is compromised it can lead to a number of food sensitivities and can include a lot of what the person eats.

What’s the difference between a food allergy and sensitivity?

Food Allergies

A food allergy happens when the immune system mistakenly identifies a food as a harmful substance and launches an attack against it. This triggers the release of antibodies whose main goal is to destroy and eliminate the food (bad guy) through different responses in the body.

It involves the excess production of an IgE antibody, which triggers the release of histamine from cells. This release of histamine results in symptoms such as hives, excess mucous, coughing, sneezing and vomiting.

An allergic response is fast and very noticeable. The reactions can change very quickly from mild to severe in the worse causes causing anaphylactic shock as you often find with people that have peanut allergies.

The most common food allergens are:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (almonds, Brazilnuts, cashews, pistachios and walnuts)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Sulphites

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are more subtle and they produce signs and symptoms that are often delayed. They can sometimes take hours or even 2-3 days to show symptoms. They involve the excess production of the IgG antibody.

Food sensitivities are not as obvious, they are often called the hidden problem and detecting food sensitivities can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

When suffering from a food sensitivity, the person can exhibit a variety of reactions as he/she responds negatively to the food such as:

  • Puffiness or dark circles around the eyes
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • ADD – hyperactivity
  • Bed-wetting
  • Colic
  • Constipation – diarrhea
  • Eczema
  • Re-occurring ear infections
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Runny nose
  • Spitting up infants
  • Vomiting

If you suspect you or someone you know has a food sensitivity, an elimination diet is a great way to determine the culprit and start your journey towards better health. I know the thought of this can feel very overwhelming but Nutritionists like myself are here to help. I work with clients to build a plan of action. Hit reply or email me at melaniegrimerhn@gmail.com if you want to book a free no-obligation 30 minute chat to see how I can help you 🙂

As a nutritionist I am all about eating real food and it can be pretty hard to do these days with artificial or chemical ingredients added into nearly all packaged and processed foods. Even spices and seasonings such as taco mix contain alot and as tacos are a favourite in our house instead of buying the packaged taco seasoning which can contain sketchy ingredients such as maltodextrin, hydrogenated soybean oil, cottonseed oil and Ethoxyquin I make our own and its super easy, check it out:

Taco Seasoning

1 Tbsp chili powder

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

¼ tsp dried oregano

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

In a small mason jar, mix together all ingredients and use as needed in recipes calling for taco seasoning.