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
- Halved bananas
- Melon chunks
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
*Originally posted on PhilipWardSeattle.org
After-school sports have a lot to offer children as they grow into young adults. In addition to being great for a young person’s physical health and well-being, youth sports have a wide range of mental and social benefits; they teach children the value of teamwork, resilience, and hard work. As a parent, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits that after-school athletics can offer children, and I highly recommend that other parents consider signing their children up for a seasonal sport or extracurricular activity. Let’s take a look at how after-school activities can benefit youths.
Establish Discipline and Commitment
Committing to a sport means waking up early on a game day – even when you don’t feel like rolling out of bed. This dedication is a great lesson for children to learn in preparation for becoming a young adult. It takes time and discipline to achieve an athletic skill set; over time, the children will learn firsthand that they have to work for what they want. They will also feel proud of themselves for going on those days when putting in the effort led to their having a good time or reaching a new milestone.
Learn Emotional Management
It can be frustrating to lose a game or struggle over a new skill. Experiencing these difficulties will teach your child to better handle negative emotions and prioritize good sportsmanship over personal frustrations. This will ultimately lead to more emotional stability and helping the child better process emotionally charged situations off of the field. Learning how to win gracefully has a similarly positive impact; children can both build their confidence and learn how to celebrate with humility.
Maintain Physical Health
Participating in team sports helps your child maintain their physical health and refine their basic motor-skills. It is also an opportunity for your child to learn their limits and athletic capabilities. Knowing when to push harder and when to stop is essential, and taking part in a sport is one of the best ways to test (and set) limits and boundaries. Parents can help push this self-care even further by showing their athletes how eating the right foods can impact their game positively or negatively. You are never too young to benefit from healthy eating habits.
*Originally posted on PhilipWardSeattle.org
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.
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