Kids Sports Snacks

All too often on the sports field I see Kids Sports Snacks provided to children with the best of intentions. However, more often than not the fuels that these kids are running on are at best, unhelpful and at worst, inappropriate. The two main common mistakes are in the use of sports drinks and discretionary foods items being treated as snacks.

The Problem

First and foremost, sports drinks are not designed for children. It is generally recommended that unless a child is participating in sport continually for more than an hour and a half, they carry no benefit. What they do carry however, is a lot of sugar that typically outweighs the amount of energy they will burn during their game.

Most sporting teams play their games on the weekend and train during the week. This means that, more often than not, kids head straight to training from school. For many of us it can be logistically challenging to provide a healthy afternoon tea that is packed with the nutrients our kids need for performance. As a result I see a lot of fast food and vending machine foods being used for Kids Sports Snacks.

Better Options

As a mum, and a nutritionist, these are my tips for fuelling your budding athlete for performance:

  • Water is always the best option for hydration.
  • Complex carbohydrates provide fuel that lasts longer:
    • If you have no time at all, things like wholegrain crackers with cheese, yoghurt pouches, or a piece of fruit make for great grab on the go snacks. Or when you pack lunches the night before, pack an extra small sandwich for afternoon training. Certain nut or musli bars can also easily be eaten in the car without making a huge mess over the back seat on the way to training.
    • If you have a bit more time up your sleeve, try baking some low sugar wholemeal banana muffins and freezing them in individual bags to grab when you are in a hurry.

Though the reality is that at a junior club level our kids are there to have fun. If their overall diet is full of healthy foods, and meeting the needs of their growing bodies, chances are that they will be able to bring their A-game for training and competition.

Finally remember, if ever in doubt, always ask a qualified health professional for help.

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