After all, snacks are the best part of little league.
Admit it, the real reason that you never wanted to miss a soccer game as a kid was because you didn’t want to miss out on the snacks that one of your teammate’s parents would bring for afterwards, win or lose. The guarantee of juice pouches, chips, candy, and orange slices was all the motivation needed to score a goal or two. However, maybe you care a little more about the nutritional quality about that post-game “fuel” now that it’s your own kid going to town on it. (I’m sure your parents cared about you too… it was just a different time.) Luckily, there are actually a lot of fairly good-for-you kid-friendly snacks on the market that parents can opt for over the standard sugar-laden goodies. So the next time your name pops up the snacks rotation list for your kids weekend sports tournament, be that parent who shows up with the nourishing snacks that will better help your little athletes recover after an intense game.
Water and Coconut Water
Before, during, and after a game, it’s important that kids stay hydrated by continuously drinking water. Though this may seem obvious, juice boxes and sugared-up sports drinks are often the go-to beverages for game day. While these are fine to have around post-game, just be sure to stock up and have plenty of 6- to 8-ounce water bottles at the ready as well. When playing hard on the field, there is a good chance that your child’s electrolytes (sodium and potassium) are being depleted and need replenishing. Coconut water offers high amounts of potassium, and some brands also offer enriched sodium options. So if you can get your kids to go for it, packing a few bottles of coconut water in the cooler isn’t a bad call either.
Easily portable and peelable fruits are a great, natural source for kids to get nutrients that they lost during the game. The most notable, again, being potassium, which is found in bananas and oranges. If you have ever experienced cramping or a muscle spasm, this debilitating pain (that lasts just seconds, but feels eternity) can be attributed to low potassium, calcium, or sodium levels. Tart cherries are high in antioxidants that help relieve muscle soreness, while strawberries are a good source for vitamin C. Slices of watermelon also provides high amounts of potassium, as well as hydration.
Pretzels are high in carbohydrates, which are essential for restoring energy after an extensive workout. Bring individual snack bags as is, or go next-level and incorporate this crunchy and satisfying snack into a trail mix, using additional ingredients to balance the salt and provide protein and antioxidants. Try adding nuts (ask about any allergies), dried fruits, and a small amount of chocolate candies for variety.
Plain Greek yogurt is a protein-packed canvas that kids can dress up as they please with fruit and/or granola. Beyond protein, Greek yogurt offers calcium and B12. Since plain yogurt definitely packs a bit of a tang, bring a bottle of honey or agave nectar to sweeten the deal.
Whole-Grain Crackers and Chips
Chips and crackers are about the easiest and most common snack that parents tend to grab. However, instead of the extra-cheesy, greasy versions, go for brands that offer whole-grain selections. For example, Goldfish and Ritz crackers both offer whole-grain options (that your kids won’t turn their noses up at).