There is no doubt about it. Soccer players love to snack. That’s because soccer is a super energy-intensive sport. And snacks help the players recharge.
To make sure the players have snacks on hand at each game, your coach will pass around a sign-up sheet during the first practice. Each family can choose the game they’ll supply team snacks for. When it’s your week, you’ll need to bring a quick half time snack and a larger post-game snack.
At half-time most coaches prefer that the kids have just fruit and water. That way, the kids get charged up without getting overly full. Here are some popular fruits that kids can eat fast:
• Orange slices
• Easy-peel Clementines
• Cantaloupe, watermelon or honeydew melon chunks
After the Game Snacks
After the game, there’s more time. First and foremost, the kids are thirsty. All the players will have brought their own water bottles to the game, so providing drinks is optional. But many parents do like to bring 100% fruit juice or bottled water for the players to enjoy with their snacks. Of course, the team is usually seriously hungry, too. You can start by setting out any leftover fruit from halftime. Then, here are a few ideas for the rest of the post-game snack:
For early morning games:
• Whole-wheat mini-bagels with cream cheese and jelly
• Mini-yogurt cups and whole-grain graham crackers
• Granola bars
• Whole-grain muffins
For just before lunch games:
• String cheese and whole-grain crackers (fish shaped, perhaps)
• Half sandwiches on whole-wheat bread (PB&J, turkey & cheese, etc.)
• Peanut butter on celery sticks
For afternoon games:
• Popcorn and baby carrots
• Oatmeal-raisin cookies
• Whole-grain crackers and cheese
• Trail mix made from whole-grain cereal, nuts, raisins, pretzels, chocolate chips, etc.
--------Did you know?----------------
• Juice drinks, even those containing vitamin C, are so full of sweeteners that they are just as unhealthy as soda. 100% fruit juice is a better option. But actual fruit is best, since it has fiber and more nutrients.
• Most cereal bars and granola bars have very little fiber or protein. They do have lots of sugar (and corn syrup)—and sometimes partially hydrogenated oil (which contains trans fat, the most unhealthy type of fat).
• A 2-ounce bag of chips often contains one third of a child’s recommended fat intake for the entire day.
• Packaged “fruit” snacks are usually made of refined sweeteners (such as corn syrup or concentrated apple juice) and inexpensive vitamin C powder. Few contain any real fruit.
• Many kids will naturally refuse to eat most of their next meal if they eat a high-calorie snack beforehand—even if the snack had no nutritional value. If they are forced to eat the meal, they may end up eating too many calories for their body.
Pamela Gould is a dedicated soccer mom and author of the book Feeding the Kids: The Flexible, No-Battles, Healthy Eating System for the Whole Family. Visit www.feedingthekids.com for free tips, recipes and ideas. For the next 30 days, enter the coupon code SOCCER07 for $6 off the price of the book.