Fueling kids bodies with healthy and tasty snacks after sports keeps them energized and supports normal growth. My six-year-old son loves to play soccer, baseball, and basketball and he loves his post-game snacks. I love watching him interact with his friends on the field. Watching him play sports and interact with his teammates on the field is one of my favorite things about being a parent. It makes me proud to see how well he listens to the coaches, and to observe how respectful he is of other players.
My son also loves healthy snacks and has a firm grasp of which foods are nutritious. He'll sometimes ask for "more carbs" when he wants more rice. He knows food is fuel for his body, just like gas for the car. Within the first half hour after a game, young athletes should eat some carbs. They'll also be hungry again two hours later and should consume more carbs recommends the Sports Nutrition and Sports Center of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
* Bagel bites and sunshine slices- For a morning post-game snack, cut up a bagel into bite-sized pieces and store in an air-tight container. Include a small container of hummus made with calcium-rich chickpeas. Slice a medium orange into paper-thin slices to serve with the bagel.
* Breakfast in a bag - Pack a nutritious cereal that can be eaten by hand. Include a banana and container of low-fat milk. You could also add dried fruit to the cereal.
* Yogurt and fresh berries - Calcium is also an important of a child athlete's diet. A cup of plain yogurt and some fresh blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries is a welcome treat after sports.
* Sport smoothie - At home, blend frozen yogurt, half a banana, fresh strawberries, and some ice cubes into a tasty smoothie. You could also add tofu, which is rich in nutrients including iron.
* Fruit, cubed - You can make a couple of these at a time in single-serving size containers. Cut watermelon and cantaloupe into cubes. Add grapes, fresh peaches, or pears. Tape an individually-wrapped cheese stick along with a spoon to each container. If you're serving the team, place paper cups in a rimmed cardboard box, fill each cup with fruit and cover. Bring along enough spoons for the team.
* Veggie pita pocket - Stuff a pita pocket with shredded carrots, fresh spinach, low-fat cheese, and some beans.
* Cold pasta salad - Create a post-game snack using last night's leftover pasta. Make a vegetable-rich pasta salad with chopped fresh veggies and toss in some cooked chicken. Use a bit of salad dressing to moisten up the mixture.
* Great grahams- These snacks are easy to transport in any crush-proof container. Spread peanut butter and jelly between graham crackers for hungry little athletes.
* Roll up and eat - Wrap turkey, cheese, and lettuce in a flavored wrap or use whole wheat flour tortillas. Cut each wrap into thirds and store in plastic bags. Make your own carrot and celery sticks to go along with the wraps.
Sports Medicine and Performance Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Sports and Nutrition , University of Illinois Extension