I posted on snacks at team sports not long ago. Since then, I've had some conversations with a few parent groups around Perth County about this. All the parents at these groups were Moms who had one or two children playing in a non-competitive league of some sort. I've learned a few interesting things about what some Perth County Moms think about team snacks for their young athletes.
The Moms had a few thoughts in common about team snacks:
- They don't like having to bring a snack for the team
- They feel the kids don't even need a snack
- They'd prefer their kids get a healthy snack like oranges and watermelon (their suggestions, not mine!) over the cookies, popsicles, freezies, fruit roll-ups and pop (again, their words, not mine) often brought to games and practice.
When it was my turn to bring snack, I usually brought orange wedges, much to my kids' disappointment, but I never had any parents or kids complain (to my face anyway!). There was never any left to cart home and I liked that my kids saw their friends eating and enjoying something healthy. (My kids never needed any encouragement to eat a cookie. Most kids will eat the healthy snack that's offered if they see their teammates eating it too.)
So, for all you Moms out there who dread the team snack, have a chat with other Moms on the team or the Coach. It's very likely that you're not the only parent who would like to change things up. You could opt to end the team snack or, suggest that the snack be a fruit or vegetable. After all, a healthy snack is the best match for being active.
I've put together a list of healthy snack ideas and categorized them according to ease of prep. And, just for fun, I compared the cost of supplying healthy snacks for the team to pre-packaged, sugary options. Some healthy snacks take more time to prepare but the upside is they're more environmentally friendly, they actually contain nutrients that growing, active kids need and they don't necessarily cost more.
Very Easy - no washing, peeling or slicing required: Clementines, bananas, read-to-eat baby carrots
Easy - washing but no peeling or slicing: apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherry tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, nectarines, sugar snap peas
Some work - washing and slicing but no peeling: oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, peppers, zucchini, pineapple, cucumber, celery
A bit more work - washing, slicing, peeling required: carrots
Cost list (what you pay to buy enough for a team of 10-12 kids)
Ready-to-eat mini carrots: $3.99
Fruit juice/drink: $3.99
Pop/Iced tea: $5.89
Granola bars: $6.38
Fruit roll-ups: $6.98
Sports drink: $9.99
A few things to keep in mind when bringing food for the team:
- It's a snack, not a meal. One apple or a slice of watermelon is all you need to bring for each child.
- It's OK if the kids have the same snack a couple of weeks in a row
- Keep the snack cold - pack it in an insulated container with ice packs
- There are tons of ideas for healthy team snacks - google 'healthy team snacks'
Let us know if your team has opted for healthy snacks and what kids liked the most.
Michele Hurd, RD