Preparing your young athlete is not only important before activity, but also during and after. Choosing snacks that do double duty is beneficial, and efficient for them to absorb nutrients. Challenges, such as finicky eaters, can get involved in their own snack planning together with mom or dad to encourage consumption (and decrease battles over food).
The rule is at least 5 grams of protein and no more than 5 grams of sugar (just over a teaspoon). A vegetarian snack for pre-activity is recommended because the body wastes energy trying to digest meat, but a meat-source protein (ie. beef jerky) is an option for post activity. Fresh fruit (not juice), unsweetened applesauce, raisins/dried fruit, hummus with carrots or celery, and whole grain pretzels, crackers, or half a bagel with peanut butter or jam, and of course, string cheese, is always a hit! Snacks that include potassium (bananas) can help prevent cramping. Add a nut butter for a vegetarian source of protein to amp up your snack.
A vitamin D supplement is something to consider; Canadians are at epidemic levels of low vitamin D. The use of sunscreen is preventing our bodies from absorbing natural Vitamin D from the sun (by 90%), which increases the risk of fractures. A great source of Vitamin D is milk, fortified orange juice, cheese, yogurt, and tuna snacks. A great finger food is ham and cheese wraps, which also double as an excellent protein source.
Lastly, don’t forget to hydrate! Children between 5-8 years old should drink at least 4 cups (1 Liter) of water a day. As they sweat, they lose water and electrolytes. A tasty source of hydration is Gatorade or Powerade, as it also includes electrolytes. However, there is a moderate amount of sugar in those beverages, so they should only be consumed after an intense workout activity. Plain filtered water is always the best option though!
We hope your kids are staying active and healthy! While we can’t help with snacks, we can help keep your kids active for the summer. Our Summer Camp programs are running until the end of August whereby kids swim daily Monday to Friday for 2 weeks. Register today, and don’t forget to bring their snacks to eat after their lesson!