Snacks are important for young athletes as they eat to meet their nutritional needs. The key to smart snacking is to plan ahead. Using MyPlate as your guide, identify the food group(s) that your athlete needs more of in the diet. Is it dairy? Fruits or veggies? Or whole grain? Then make sure the snack includes that food group. For best snacking, I suggest combining at least two food groups. Here are a few ideas:
Peanut butter and apple slices
Cheese with whole grain crackers
Trail Mix (as shown: whole grain breakfast cereal, popcorn, dried fruit, almonds or sunflower seeds)
Yogurt with granola
Hummus with sugar snap peas, carrots or sliced bell peppers
Most of these suggestions are portable. And often, athletes need portable snacks. For my athletes, I find a common time for snacking is mid-afternoon. That can mean served at home after school or right from a backpack before practice or a game. This is why planning ahead is so critical. Having the right snack at the right time is a winning combination!
With a little planning, your athlete will be snacking smart which can enhance your athlete’s overall nutrition and ultimately, their performance!
This is the third article in a 5-part series called ‘Sports Nutrition for the Young Athlete’.