By Kathleen Connelly
If you are like me, you have started spending the weekends at your kid’s sporting events. Our 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter are both playing soccer through S.P.O.R.T.S here in Fishers and opening day was one of the hottest days we have had all summer.
As team parent for my daughter’s first grade soccer team, I helped organize snacks for our team. As I did this I started to think about all of the snacks my kids have received after their games. In past years I have seen doughnuts, cookies, chips, candy and other high sugar snacks given out after games. These types of foods are OK sometimes but refueling our kids after a long game is not the place. Obviously I am all for kids participating in sports but the types of food we feed them before and after are important.
So what is a good nutritional snack prior to that soccer or football game? Give your kids something with carbohydrates one to two hours before their sporting event. Try cereals, yogurts, whole wheat crackers or pretzels. If your child needs something mid-game, fruit will help rehydrate them as well as give them some much needed energy. For those post game snacks, aim for something that provides protein along with carbohydrates to restore their energy supply and get them ready for whatever comes next in their day. Some ideas for good refueling snacks are fruit, cheese sticks, trail mix, or whole wheat crackers with peanut butter. For something different like sweet potato chips or healthier granola bars, try visiting Good Earth at Hamilton Town Center for some healthier options. As a parent of children with food allergies, you want to always check with other team parents to make sure that you are providing something all the kids can eat safely.
One last thing, the best rehydrating drink for kids playing a 60-minute or less sport is water. Milk or even chocolate milk make a great post-game drink too. If it is extremely hot and your child’s game goes longer than 60 minutes then a sports drink like Gatorade can replenish depleted electrolytes. No matter what sport your kids are playing this fall, give them snacks and drinks that will help maintain their energy and keep them going even after that long hot game in the sun is over.