School is back in session, and fall after-school activities are in full swing. Your kiddos sit at their desks all day, but their days don’t stop there. Kids who go right from school to after-school activities can benefit from having a snack to provide some extra energy and hydration before running off to practice, training or rehearsal. When you make food fun for kids, they are more likely to not just eat it, but enjoy it too! By preparing healthy snacks at home for your athlete, actor or musician, you can control what goes into their bodies, fueling them in the right ways.
Sanford Health dietitians share some of their favorite snack ideas for kids below.
Mix it up
Trail mix is a kid-friendly, convenient snack that you can toss into their backpacks in the morning. However, it is important to remember that trail mix can include high-energy and high-calorie ingredients, so you only need about ¼ of a cup for a snack. The fun part about trail mix is you can mix and match your child’s favorite ingredients into the recipe. Using items like wheat cereal, dried fruit and nuts are healthy options to add to the mix. Your child might even have a fun time putting the trail mix together with you!
Fruits and proteins
Fruits offer a healthy balance of sugar to be fueled into energy. Apples or bananas are great examples of healthy fruit options. To add a little protein to the snack, pack a nut butter to go along with the fruit. Paired together, this is a great, quick snack that kids can keep in their backpacks or locker throughout the day ready to energize them for their after-school activity.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Water is the No. 1 thing your child needs to stay hydrated during activity. This makes drinking water before, during and after activity, just as important as that snack. Encourage your kids to not only drink water during their activity but also throughout the day as well.
After running around with their friends for extended periods of time, your children’s bodies need to be replenished. Consider giving them a post-activity snack to replenish that lost glycogen that is depleted during activity. One of the keys to a healthy post-activity snack is to keep it balanced. An example of a healthy option to stay within those parameters would be a banana with chocolate milk. And remember, WATER, WATER, WATER. Hydration is important in our bodies recovering process, which will ensure they are ready to hit the field, stage or court again tomorrow.
Healthy options, healthy school year
Good nutrition is a key factor in making sure that your little one has enough energy to participate in the after-school activities that they love. Providing healthy, nutritious snack options ensures a great start to the school year. Make sure to remind them that the prime time for snacking before activity is 30 minutes. This leaves enough time for digestion and for those fuels to start working. So, while it may be easy to pick up prepackaged snacks, candy or chips, remember healthy options can be simple too.
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