By Deb Lowther
Summer is on the way and that means park play dates, pool parties, beach days, camping, soccer games and neighborhood gatherings! What do you feed a crowd of kids to keep them healthy, hydrated and cooled off while having fun in the sun?
Snacks seem to have become a sugar fest of quick, easy to purchase mini pouches of artificial flavours and colours that kids may love, but that are not a healthy option for their growing bodies. Filling up on these types of foods doesn't leave room for the nutritious foods kids need to keep going.
Our list of healthy on the go fun soccer snacks and drinks will keep your little athletes fueled up on the field long after the whistle blows. They are easy to prepare, easy to digest, fun for any gathering and these treats will make you a popular snack parent on the sidelines!
TOP 5 SOCCER SNACKS
Fruit Kebobs – I promise these will be a hit. Slice a watermelon into cubes and thread them on a stick with some apples, grapes and strawberries, and you’ll have kids racing to the sidelines for snack! For a little more fun, skip the apples, make the kebobs with the rest of the fruit and put them in the freezer. Take them to the game in a cooler and serve frozen!
Frozen Monkeys – I see parents pull coolers to the game with artificially flavoured freezies, so why not make a healthy version? Thickly slice some bananas, dip in melted chocolate, drop on wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze for 20–30 minutes (or overnight) and then pop those treats in a cooler. What kid can resist chocolate and banana — not to mention the benefits their muscles will get from the potassium in the bananas!
Frozen Grapes – yes we have a theme here of frozen fruit. Freeze a bunch of seedless green and purple grapes. They are fun and refreshing and melt in your mouth. Great fun to snack on while waiting for your next shift on the field.
Cheese & Whole Grain Crackers or Pretzels – cheese sticks or even cheese you have cubed yourself, combined with pretzels or whole grain crackers, can fill up energy stores and replace sodium lost while sweating on the soccer field. This is a much healthier option than processed baked products, and a snap to prepare.
GORP – by definition is a trail mix of dried fruits, chocolate and peanuts often taken on long hikes to provide a quick hit of energy. Kids love different combinations of snack foods, so make your own nut free GORP by combining whole grain cereals such as Shreddies, Cheerios, and Mini-Wheats, then adding in some chocolate chips (careful they don’t melt) and raisons or dried cherries, blueberries or cranberries.
TOP 5 SOCCER DRINKS
Too often drink pouches filled with coloured sugar water are given to kids playing in the heat of the summer, and while the sugar may temporarily give them more energy, this type of artificially flavoured and coloured liquid is just not healthy. Water is all they need to replenish lost fluids. It is beneficial to replace carbs used in exercise and salt lost in sweating, but for most kids at the soccer pitch or park, a tall drink of water is what they really need.
To jazz up the water at your next soccer game, try adding some fun fruits and see it that doesn't get them coming back for seconds! Some of our favourites are:
1. Citrus Shine – Lemon, limes, oranges all sliced
2. Raspberry Delight – Limes, raspberries
3. Minty Fresh – Mint leaves, pineapple chunks
4. Watermelon Water – chunks of watermelon
5. Cucumber Fun – sliced cucumber
Add fruit and herbs to a pitcher of water and let sit overnight, for more flavour, meddle the fruits together before adding water to release flavours fast. If the water is not sweet enough, add a natural sugar such as maple syrup. Alternately, add the fruit to ice cube trays and freeze with water. Add the ice cubes to a pitcher of water for something fun and colourful. You may not get the flavours out this way, but it still jazzes up other wise simple water!
Stay hydrated and have fun with frozen fruit this soccer season and see how fast you become the Snack Parent they love!
Deb Lowther is the mother of 3 young daughters. When she's not running after the kids, she's running the trails! She blogs on many websites about Raising Healthy Kids and ensures her own have fun while eating healthy & staying active. To read more articles and see her favorite recipes starring squash and spinach that she promises even your kids will love, visit www.iron-kids.com & www.adultgummies.com, or follow her on Twitter @KidsGummyMum & @AdultEssentials
momstown originally published this article in 2013