Real Snacks for kids sports


My kids have entered the world of organized sports. I have been amazed at the array of snacks and drinks parents choose to bring as the post-game nourishment. Back in the day, it was oranges and your water bottle, surely enough for the amount of work exerted and still a ‘treat.’

Now, I’ve seen personalized cookies, cupcakes, cake balls, Pop Tarts (the entire silver bag for each kid), chips, Gatorade and more. Or the time a parent forgot it was their day and handed each kid $1 instead. Really?! What happened to playing for the love of the game and maybe rounding out healthy activity with a healthy snack?

Is it really easier to buy a bunch of pre-packaged cookies than to grab a bunch of bananas? And is it any cheaper? Is it serving the intent of the snack?

Or, is the true goal to out-snack the other parents?

I was initially worried about the snacks I would bring in case the kids wouldn’t eat it. I literally had kids turn down my box of raisins and cheese stick or be disappointed that I only had bottled water. What happened to being grateful for a snack and what do these kids get for snacks when it’s not sports season?

People get so worried that eating real food results in a limited array of food choices and that it’s boring and inconvenient. With such simple things as cheese sticks, apples, oranges (any fruit, really), nuts, jerky, Bearded Brothers bars, kale chips, super cookies, etc readily available at your neighborhood grocery, it’s just a matter of hanging your mindset. What or to whom are you trying to prove?

As a result, when I am coaching my son’s basketball team this season, I have instituted a ‘bring your own post-game snack for your own kid policy.’ It eliminates the worry of allergies, remembering to order pre-decorated cookies in the shapes of your team mascot (ours is the Dragons), or pay anything extra! What a novel idea!

Let’s all take a big breath and some pressure off of ourselves. If you choose to provide snacks for the team, let’s bring it back to the basics, provide some guidelines for parents and keep our kids’ focus on having fun rather than playing for a ‘treat.’