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
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.
Participating in after-school sports give a child the opportunity to step up and be a leader and also work together with a team. This teaches them to work effectively with other people and will serve them well in school, at work, and in their personal lives. .
About Philip Ward Seattle
From an early age, Philip Ward Seattle worked hard to provide for himself and his family. As a result, he didn’t always get the chance to just enjoy being a child. After Philip had children of his own, he vowed that they wouldn’t have the same experience as he did. Spending time with his family at their home in Seattle, Washington is very important to Philip. Although he puts a lot of time and effort into his career, he always makes time for his wife and two children.
Philip Ward believes that it’s important for children to participate in sports and activities. Participating in sports will teach children a number of important skills that they can use throughout their entire lives. Playing on a team teaches children how to get along with others, solve problems together, and it helps build confidence. Additionally, sports provide children with an outlet for their energy and help them stay in shape. During the summer when school is out, children need to engage in fun activities or else they’ll become bored and restless. Taking an activity like an art class, swimming, or playing any sport is the perfect option for keeping children busy and content during summer break.
Philip’s son is a passionate soccer player and he also enjoys music. He has played soccer from a very young age and has become a fantastic player for his age. He is on a cut team that is chosen from hundreds of kids that try out in his age group in the Seattle area. Philip Ward Seattle has truly enjoyed watching him play over the years and seeing how much he has learned over time. Also, Philip has enjoyed forming friendships with the other families that have their children on the same team. They travel to many places, which creates a strong bond not only for his son and his teammates but for the parents as well. Watching the soccer games is a great way to relax, focus on the family, and get away from life’s distractions. Soccer has gotten the entire family interested in watching professional soccer. They all enjoy watching Seattle’s MLS team, the Sounders.
His son has also played the cajón for many years. A cajón is a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru. It is played by slapping the front or rear faces with the hands and fingers. Philip’s son has played the cajón in many shows in the Seattle school district as well as theaters in the Seattle area of Washington. This has been a great learning experience not only for his son but for the whole family since the shows are always a cultural experience. There are groups from all around the world that come to perform.
Philip Ward Seattle’s daughter has ventured and enjoyed many sports and activities such as art, horseback riding, soccer, gymnastics, yoga, piano, and track just to name a few. She has a strong mindset, and once she focuses on what she is doing she will always do her best to succeed. For her, trying new things has always led to not only learning something new but meeting new friends. She has made the majority of her friends through the many activities that she participates in.
His daughter’s interest in horseback riding has been one of Philip’s favorites activities to watch. As a young child in Puerto Rico, Philip Ward Seattle used to ride horses, and he likes to ride today as well. When he visits Puerto Rico he always makes time to get in at least one good horseback riding adventure with all of his friends that share that same passion for riding horses.