Healthy Snacks for Kids!

For those of you who follow me on twitter: @physioexellence you know how enraged I have been at the boys’ soccer games in regards to the snacks parents are bringing…chocolates, mr. freeze, candy.  I asked Carole Ma, a naturopathic doctor what the best snacks are for kids playing in this heat.
Here is her reply:

 Soccer Snacks for Kids

When kids are running around for hours on the soccer field, their bodies are working hard.   After the game, they need food that will rehydrate, replenish, and repair.  Skip the “treats”, and truly reward them with your enthusiastic support and body building, nutrient-dense snacks!  C’mon, you wouldn’t put sludge in a high performance race care, would you?

Ongoing proper nutrition will keep them feeling energized on and off the field.  And when kids learn and develop the habit of healthy eating, you will have taught them an essential life skill that will benefit them in countless ways, for all the years to come.

Rehydrate:
For every hour of running around, kids need between 600 – 1200 mL of fluids. Ensure kids are well hydrated before and during the game. Dehydration can leave kids feeling fatigued, and also run the risk of heat-induced illnesses. And when sweating, the body is also losing precious electrolytes, so drinking water is not enough. Instead consider orange juice or coconut water, as both are rich in potassium, and other minerals. Coconut water is a popular drink in the warm tropics, and amongst athletes. Avoid drinks with added sugar, as they leave kids still feeling thirsty. Carbonated drinks can cause a stomach upset.

Snack idea:

  • Orange juice
  • Coconut water

Replenish:
With all the activity, the body uses up glucose and glucose stores (glycogen).  When blood glucose levels dip too low, a person can feel quite fatigued and even dizzy.  Replenish these levels with fresh fruit.  Oranges and bananas are especially high in potassium, a salt that is lost in sweat. Be sure to also bring along complex carbohydrates, which the body will convert to glucose in a gradual manner. Foods with added sugars need to be avoided, as they can lead to a quick
rise in blood sugar and then a crash. They can also suppress the appetite, so kids won’t feel like eating their next meal (which of course they need!).

Snack idea:

  • Fruit:  oranges, bananas, watermelon, grapes, berries
  • Complex carbs:  whole grain crackers, brown rice cakes, multigrain bagels, pretzels, popcorn

Repair:
Those muscles, especially in the legs, have had a real work-out.  With strenuous exercise, muscle fibres break down, and then need to be repaired.  This is why protein-rich snacks are so important – they will provide the building blocks for repairing muscles.

Snack idea:

  • Hard-boiled eggs, cheese cubes (salt also helps rehydrate), soy nuts, plain   yogurt (mix in small amount of pure jam), bean dips (served with vegetables  which are also rich in potassium, whole grain crackers)
  • Nuts are usually banned from kids’ events, but they would otherwise make great protein choices.

Enjoy the game!

Learn more about Carole at http://www.carolema.com

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