Great Snacks for Young Athletes

Every youth sports parents knows that you can’t show up to a soccer match or baseball game without a tub of snacks and drinks in tow. However, the unhealthy eats that tend to be on sale during sports season aren’t always the most nutritious option for an active child. When considering pre-, mid-, and post-activity snacks, avoid doling out candy, chips, crackers and other foods that are high in fats and sugars and lacking in necessary nutrients. Create snacks and quick meals that offer vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fluids. Snacks for young athletes provide necessary nutrients while still appealing to their craving for salty, sweet, and refreshing foods. Water and fresh fruit are great for half-time and after performances. However, parents can choose from a number of creative options that children will love. Remember, young athletes should always have a snack one to two hours before their activities!

Pre-Game Energy Boosters

Apple slices with nut butter offer protein, vitamins and fluid. Strawberry cheesecake roll-ups are simply low-fat or fat-free cream cheese spread on a tortilla and topped with sliced strawberries and a sprinkle of sugar. Roll and cut into bite-sized pieces. Both options also provide the carbohydrates needed as fuel. The fiber and protein also stay in the stomach longer, which ensures the energy boost lasts. Other good carbohydrate options include meals containing meat and starchy or brightly-colored vegetables. Macaroni and cheese remains an all-time favorite with children.

Half-Time Break Snacks

As time is limited, quick snacks of fresh fruit provide vitamins, minerals and an energy boost along with much-needed rehydration. Fruit juice infused water is the right combination for replacing lost fluid and electrolytes. Fresh fruit is always an ideal option and may include:

  • Clementine or orange slices
  • Apple and pear slices
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Halved bananas
  • Melon chunks

Post-game Snacks

After a practice, game or other physically demanding activity, youngsters need to rehydrate. If they perspired under the hot sun, they also need to replenish their electrolytes. A combination of carbohydrates and protein before and after activities helps replenish energy while providing muscles and connective tissues with the nutrients needed to recover and repair. Good post-activity recommendations include:

  • Fresh fruit, frozen fruit pops or fruit leather
  • Fig bar or oatmeal cookies
  • Bagels or crackers topped with nut butter, low-fat or fat-free cream cheese and fruit slices
  • Pudding cups
  • String cheese
  • Trail mix
  • Yogurt

 

*Originally posted on PhilipWardSeattle.org

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4 Great Foodie Podcasts

For a foodie, the second best thing to picking up a fork and indulging in a delicious dish is to learn about how the food was crafted. Today, learning about the art of food is as easy as popping on headphones and pushing play. Below is a list of the best foodie podcasts sure to take you on a culinary adventure.

A Time and a Plate

This is the food podcast for history buffs. A Time and a Plate delves into the basic notion that everyone has to eat to live. The peasant in medieval times had to eat in the same way that a CEO of a Fortune 500 company today has to eat. Consuming food connects us to our human nature and to each other throughout history. While episodes are sporadically released averaging at only a handful per year, each one explores the historical and cultural context of a general food that we enjoy today, such as bread, spices, or chocolate. Each episode explains how the food came into existence, what its purpose was, and how it functioned in the society of the time period.

Bite by Mother Jones

Bite explores the science behind food and its consumption. Mother Jones editors Kiera Butler and Maddie Oatman collaborate with food/farming blogger Tom Philpott to interview acclaimed experts on all things related to food, including chefs, farmers, and scientists. The panel discusses the sociology and politics behind what we eat with topics ranging from how hippies reinvented American cuisine to whether fast food can be considered healthy.

Spilled Milk

The premise of this podcast is that comedians Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton decide to talk about a specific food and see how long they can keep the conversation going. When they say specific, they mean very specific; With episode topics such as handheld meat pies, breath mints, Hawaiian junk food, and boxed macaroni and cheese, it’s a comedic ride through common eats. Each installment is a quick listen, with most episodes clocking in around half hour and with over 300 episodes released you’ll be able to indulge in binge listening.

The Slow Melt
Devoted solely to chocolate, The Slow Melt was awarded 2017’s best food podcast by Saveur Magazine. This podcast explores every aspect of the $100 billion chocolate industry from its flavor to its impact on climate change. Interviews are conducted with individuals involved in every step of the chocolate making process, from farmers to the chocolate makers themselves. Simran Sethi, the podcast’s host, views chocolate just not as a simple food, but as “a delicious lens through which to explore the world.”

*Originally published on PhilipWardSeattle.net

End Hunger in America: Why We Need Soup Kitchens

It’s five o’clock on a school night, and the cupboards are stripped bare. A mother scans her cupboard shelves, hoping in vain that she overlooked something – a stray bag of dried lentils or a can of chicken soup. She steps back a few minutes later with empty hands. Her children are eligible for free lunches at school and so haven’t become hungry enough to ask for food yet, but she knows that they will soon. She herself opted out of lunch, rationalizing that the money she would make in the hour was worth a few hours of hunger. But now, facing the empty shelves, the pangs she feels take on a greater intensity. She worked all day to feed her children, but the shelves are bare and payday a week away – so what can she do?

 

Hunger is a real and serious problem in America. In my home state of Washington, one in eight people lack the food needed to fulfill basic nutritional needs. The statistics are even worse for children; according to an October 2017 report by Northwest Harvest, one in five Washingtonian children live in a family that struggles to put food on the table. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of hungry families in the state skyrocketed from 88,000 to 163,000. These statistics are made more frustrating by the fact that the vast majority of working-age Washingtonians who grapple with poverty are actively working or looking for work. Despite working long hours and putting in Herculean efforts, many parents are left unable to provide for their children’s basic nutritional needs and give up their own meals to feed their families. Like the mother above, they are left in the frustrating position of coming home from a long day of work, only to be met by an empty pantry.

 

Hunger and its frequent companion, homelessness, is a widespread and complex issue that can’t be solved in a day. Rather, these issues will require close collaboration between communities and lawmakers to ensure that hardworking parents have the means and opportunity to provide for their children. However, this process will likely be years in the making and will not solve our real and present need. In the meantime, soup kitchens can help alleviate some of the burden that providers like the mother in the opening scenario face. Food banks and charity kitchens are vital to every community; Northwest Harvest reports that one in six Washington residents – well over a million people total – rely on their local food bank for sustenance. We need to come together as community members to aid those who struggle with hunger.

In the past few months, my family and I have taken strides to help fight the hunger epidemic in Washington. In late December, we held a dinner at the Renton Salvation Army Food Bank in Seattle. By the end of the night, we had fed over 200 people. We look forward to doing our part to end hunger in America by supporting more events in the upcoming months.

*Originally posted on PhilipWardSeattle.net