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How to Feed Athletic Kids

How to Feed Athletic Kids

What kind of foods are your kids eating on game day?

How to Feed Athletic KidsAs my kindergartner started his first “big kid” soccer and baseball leagues this past year, I was shocked with the food choices that parents brought during the season snack rotations. My kid, like the rest of the team, dashed to the cooler when he saw the bags of Cheetos and bottles of Gatorade, while I stood back cringing and shouting “choose the water please!” Sound familiar?

Fueling these bodies properly, whether they are little five year olds or bigger teenagers, not only helps their physical performance but also helps lay the foundation for health and fitness throughout their life.

But where do you start? Getting your kids the right nutrition can be a full-time job. Thankfully, MOMables has already done the work for you! Check it out.

Let’s Talk Hydration:

To help quench thirst, the absolute best drink to turn to is water. Sports drinks can be used every once in a while, but too often, kids think that playing sports necessitates drinking Gatorade. Juice and sport drinks are often high in sugar, artificial sweeteners, and even possibly caffeine.

The sugar, even the natural fruit sugar in juice, can slow down fluid absorption in the body. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes for a 90-pound child who’s playing hard. Another way to think about it: Every 20 minutes, have a younger kid take about 10 gulps (about 5 ounces) of water and have older kids drink at least 9 ounces of water.

Let’s Talk Timing of Food:

Carbohydrates serve as the gas in your child’s engine. Healthy carb choices can come from fruit, breads/beans/legumes, and milk/yogurt. Carbs break down into glucose in the blood, which is the number-one fuel source needed during exercise.

One hour to thirty minutes prior to a game or practice, encourage your child to eat a small serving of a carb, such as an apple or yogurt cup. Avoid fat or too much protein in this pregame snack because that can slow down the digestion of the food, making your child feel more sluggish than fueled.

After the sport, provide your athlete with a healthy snack or meal that consists of both carbs and protein. The carbohydrates will replenish the glucose loss, while the protein will help rebuild muscle. Examples: small whole-grain bagel with 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter, turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, or trail mix with fruit and nuts.

While it can be tempting to want to celebrate a great game with treats like a stop at the local donut shop, start your kids on healthier habits by providing them with fresh fruit after the game, and help them get excited about their accomplishments with non–food related celebrations.

Christina Fitzgerald, MS, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian nutritionist, is the owner of Nourished, Nutrition and Wellness, nourishedliving.com. She lives with her husband and three young sons in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Goat Cheese and Veggie Box

Goat Cheese and Veggie Bistro Box

Need a healthier lunch that is simple to make? This will do just the trick!

Goat Cheese and Veggie Box

Sometimes you just want a simple, light, refreshing meal. Goat Cheese and Veggie Bistro Box, yum! A certain well-known coffee chain used to offer a veggie and cheese box that fit the bill, and made for a nice snack or small meal. But who wants to pay $5+ for lunch every day, when you can make it yourself?

Don’t forget, MOMables has all the ideas you could ever possibly need to help fill these bistro boxes—check them out!

By making your own lunches, you can control the ingredients and portion size. Organic, local, more of something, less of something, gluten-free, etc. DIY delicious!

DIY Goat Cheese and Garden Veggies Bistro Box

Goat Cheese and Veggie Box
  • Author:

Ingredients

  • 4-6 multigrain crackers
  • 2-3 carrot sticks
  • 2-3 bell pepper strips
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 green beans
  • 2-3 cucumber wedges (roughly 1/4 of a small cucumber)
  • 1-2 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 c tzatziki sauce (see recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Take as many as you’d like for each ingredient and poof! Goat Cheese and Garden Veggie Bistro Box!

Recipe for Homemade Tzatziki Sauce:

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

Goat Cheese and Veggie Box
  • Author:
  • Yield: 6
  • Cuisine: Greek

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek whole milk yogurt*
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded, finely grated, and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Whisk everything but the salt and pepper together. Then season with the salt and pepper, to taste. Chill.

Notes

*You can use low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt, or even non-dairy Greek-style yogurt, but you may want to add less lemon juice.

The Greek yogurt and goat cheese pack a nice wallop of protein, so you’re good there. But unless you have a small appetite or are including this along with something more substantial, it’s really more of a snack. So make it a meal by adding more crackers and veggies and tzatziki sauce, and go ahead and include some fresh fruit while you’re at it!

*To amp up the colors represented in my lunch, I chose slices of purple bell pepper, yellow and green beans, and yellow and red heirloom cherry tomatoes. The crackers shown are Glutino Gluten-Free Rosemary & Olive Oil crackers. And no, I didn’t just buy some pre-made tzatziki sauce for the photos. I made it. From scratch!

1 Cookie Dough Yogurt Parfait Recipe

Are you looking for a healthy sweet treat to send in your child’s school lunch? Boy, do we have a treat for you!
Cookie Dough Yogurt Parfaits - MOMables.com

Why not  send a high protein snack like Greek yogurt in their lunch? While chocolate chip cookies are the most requested treat around our house, the mere mention of anything cookie dough related is always a hit.

While there isn’t always time to whip up a batch of cookies for a lunch box treat, this cookie dough yogurt comes together quickly and is a dessert you can feel good about sending off with the kids.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

This easy recipe comes from one of our MOMables menus, just a sample of our kid-friendly recipes and what you can expect to find each week.

If you don’t own a thermos, you should consider purchasing one. For around $10-$16, you will be able to put dinner leftovers to use, send cold treats to school… oh the possibilities!

Check out this video to see how to send a parfait to school in a thermos.

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

3 from 1 reviews

  • Author:
  • Cuisine: Lunch

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, peanut/almond butter, maple syrup and chocolate chips.
  2. Place inside a chilled thermos container and pack in lunch box with your child’s favorite sandwich, fruit and veggies.

 

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