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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