Although there are a zillion packaged snacks to be found on grocery shelves, most of them are high in sugar, high in fat, and lacking the most important element… real, nutritional value. Soccer snacks need to be easy, quick and handy, but convenience doesn’t mean you can’t sneak some better-for-you options into your soccer season. Fortunately, healthy options other than orange slices and bananas do exist. All it takes is a little bit of planning and getting everyone on board with a good-for-you game plan.
Think of a soccer snack as a mini-meal that helps provide nutrients and the energy children need to learn, focus and play well. These snacks are “list toppers” as they have more nutrients than traditional snacks, and many have more “staying” power to keep kids full longer during a practice or a game – not to mention plenty of kid-appeal.
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1. For a quick pick-me-up, offer hearty mini-sandwiches out of whole grain crackers topped with a squeeze of peanut butter, lunch meat or cheese.
2. An all time favorite is the fruit kabob. Simply put pineapple chunks, grapes and cheese on skewers. They have the taste kids love and nutrition you can feel good about.
3. For a real energy boost, cut half a bagel into four’s and fill with peanut butter or strawberry cream cheese. If you can get a sweet deal on strawberries, add a single slice to each sandwich.
4. A real satisfying snack of an easy home-made trail mix goes a long way. You can create your own sweet and savory mix and pack it with healthy, all-natural ingredients:
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7. A fruit salad of crunchy bite-sized mandarin oranges, peaches, apples or pears is fresher, more flavorful and always very popular. Toss it with just the right amount of wildflower honey and see how they like it.
9. Low-fat cheese sticks or individually wrapped cheese squares are fun to eat and provide plenty of protein that will keep your little ones feeling satisfied much longer.
10. How about a batch of hearty banana muffins? If you're in a hurry and need to use a box recipe, add extra bananas and use applesauce instead of oil. Kids especially love muffins when they are crispy on the outside and tender and moist inside— yum!
Always remember to check with parents and the coach about any potential food allergies before prepping any team snacks. If you know ahead of time what ingredients to avoid, you can easily substitute out for common allergies like nuts, dairy and gluten.