It takes nutritious foods to fuel kids through sports practices and help them recover afterward. Skip the protein bars and sports drinks and fuel young athlete with the best snacks for boosting energy. While all snacks should offer up a healthy punch of nutrition for kids, even the run-of-the-mill after-school snack, the best snacks for young athletes are ones that:
- Provide easy to access fuel for the active body
- Are actually eaten
- Cover hunger and appetite
Snacks that contain just a carbohydrate source, like fresh fruit or crackers, are fine for shorter events or practices or even less intensive exercises, but they aren’t ideal for the young athlete who is exercising for several hours. The best foods to target include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, dairy, and healthy fats.
Here is a list of snacks that have a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat to refuel muscles, and replenish glycogen stores after activity.
Pre-Activity (~100-300 calories)
- Whole grain pretzels
- Half a wheat bagel with jam
- Fresh fruit
- 1/2 cup raisins and peanuts
- Carrot or celery sticks with hummus & pita
Post-Activity (~100-300 calories)
- Applesauce and string cheese
- Fruit smoothie with calcium-fortified soy milk
- Trail mix
- Apple and peanut butter
- Half a peanut butter sandwich on a bagel
Providing snacks is a part of every parent's job, so choose wisely and help your child succeed at the gym, in the classroom and life! We hope these snacks have given you some inspiration of how to fuel your child’s body on practice-day or any day for that matter.