A few years ago I was speaking to a group of parents. One of them asked me a question that I still remember. It actually brought up a really important point that I want to share with you today.
This parent asked me, “What kinds of snacks should my kids eat during their sports games?”
This is an interesting question to me. I remember some of the snacks I used to eat. One of the worst I can remember was from a phase I went through in high school. I would have a vanilla milkshake and fried mozzarella sticks from Arbie’s before each of my three dance classes every week. My mom only considered this as an option because of some misguided advice from a doctor who wanted me to gain weight!
But, back to the point…
In my answer to this question I could have focused on protein and calories, but most people already know a little about that. I chose to focus on a different aspect of nutrition, one that is so often overlooked: hydration!
Affects of Dehydration:
Poor nutrient absorption
High blood pressure
I explained how all the typical kid snacks like granola bars, protein bars, chips and cookies, actually require your body to lend water to digestion, thus dehydrating you further at sports practice.
If you are eating dehydrated or baked foods, you are asking your body to lend water to digestion, to rehydrate the food. If you are eating water-rich foods, you are giving your body water and hydrating!
Your body becomes water deficient pretty quickly when you only eat dehydrated foods.
My tip to those parents, and to you today, is to be more aware of how much water you are consuming through drink and food, especially on hot days.
Grab some water-rich fruits and veggies from the market next time you go, like apples, peaches, melons, cucumber and tomatoes.
Hydrating Summer Snack Ideas:
Apples with nut or seed butter
Celery or cucumber sticks dipped in hummus
Homemade fruit popsicles
Fresh fruit and veggie smoothies
Carrot sticks dipped in guacamole
Cucumber slices dipped in Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing
Vine-ripened grape tomatoes
It takes some time getting used to shopping for new foods, preparing different snacks, packing them in different containers, etc, but if you try one new snack each week, you should get pretty comfortable with them all within one sports season.
Of course kids can be picky, so make sure to always include a snack food that they already like so that they have an option. And don’t worry if they reject something once; keep offering it without pressure or judgement and they will try it eventually.
Do your kids have a favorite healthy snack? Leave a comment below to let us know.