Make it healthy! Easy nutrition swaps for spring training


youth sports nutrition healthy food

The kids are out on the fields, tennis courts, and soon to be in the pool. Spring is in the air and families will be tromping out to watch their kids play sports. Some adults will take on the annual job of planning snacks for the team, while others will be happy to know what they have to bring.
Many parents will wonder what snacks their child will be offered. Others will fret over how to handle it.
As a dietitian and nutritionist, I prefer no snacks for young kids who are participating in recreational sports, especially if they are moving continuously for less than an hour (which covers most young children’s sports). A bottle of water will do the job of keeping the child hydrated, and regular meals and snacks will cover their calorie needs.
But I also know that today’s game culture is tightly tied to a food snack. If you’re like many parents who find the pressure to produce a snack is simply too much to fight, I’ve got some nutritious snack swaps for you to consider.
Instead of donuts: Try bagel thins or mini-bagels with a swipe of nut butter, cream cheese, or a cinnamon-raisin mini-bagel served plain.
Instead of cheesy crackers: Try cheese sticks or squares in pre-packaged serving sizes.
Instead of cookies: Try graham cracker sheets, homemade mini-muffins or a cereal-dried fruit-pretzel trail mix.
Instead of chips: Try carrot chips, carrot sticks or baby carrots. Sticks of celery, cucumber and red pepper will work also. Dip is optional.  To serve with dip: pour dip into the bottom of a cup and stand the veggie sticks on top.
Instead of fruit chews or roll-ups: Try real fresh fruit. Chunk it, slice it, or just give it a quick wash. Orange slices, whole bananas or apples, mixed berries portioned in paper cups and wedges of watermelon all work well.
Instead of sugary frozen treats: Try frozen yogurt sticks, all-fruit popsicles, or frozen fruit, like red and green grapes, served in a cup or skewered.
Instead of candy: Anything is better than candy!
Instead of cupcakes: Try homemade oatmeal cookies; or carrot, zucchini or banana muffins.
What healthy snack swaps do you like to make? Tell me in the comments below.

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