My 4-year-old, Lily Grace, just started her first year in soccer. It is such an exciting time for us and we can not wait to see her score some goals and most importantly have fun! Just a few days ago she went to her first practice, as the coach was going over all the team information he mentioned a snack sign up sheet for after games. All of the parents are designated to bring a snack for all of the kids for after the games. My honest initial thought was “why is it necessary we sign up to bring snacks, what if we just bring our own snacks for our own kids or even no snacks at all (my kid can eat when she gets home), the second thought was “I hope this isn’t seen as an opportunity to load these kids up on unhealthy sugary ‘snacks’ afterwards and reward them with junk”. I understand it may be more of a concern to my husband and me than most parents but it is something we are passionate about and I want to discuss the topic. And yes, I am a believer of balance and moderation but there are some things I just have to draw the line at.
I believe that children should eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast every morning, especially on game days when they need that extra boost. With that being said, I equally agree that if children eat a healthy breakfast and get plenty of nutrients before their game that having something to eat immediately afterward is not really necessary. Especially things like sugary drinks, packages of processed foods, and even worse – cookies, donuts, etc. Plus I think it creates an unnecessary reward system in their head that they deserve something special(usually referred to as a “treat”) after a game. How about we just say great job and pat them on the back? That is what my parents did! I am certainly not trying to make this a huge ordeal but if this is how this gig works then I do want to provide some easy alternatives and helpful suggestions for parents that feel the same and may not know what to do in these situations.
Below I am going to list some of my go-to healthier, non-processed(or minimally processed) ideas for after game snack!
Organic Raisin boxes
Oranges, peeled & sliced in ziploc snack bags.
Organic string cheese & grapes.
Apple slices in snack bag.
Larabars or children’s RX bars
Whole wheat or sprouted pretzels
Organic squeeze pouches
Honest Company Organic Juice Boxes (water would be preferable but a great alternative to Capri Sun, KoolAid pouches, & Gatorade which are filled with dyes & additives!)
Carrot Sticks in snack bags(+ PB/Almond butter packets if no nut allergies).
Mixed fruit in snack bag.
Organic Rice cakes.
Mini sized individual organic popcorns(or could buy large bag and put into ziploc snack bags)
Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks
What if someone brings something I am not okay with my child having at the time such as cookies, donuts, processed snacks and drinks, etc. ?
My first tip would be to explain to your children beforehand if there is something unhealthy you prefer them not to eat and let them know why. My toddler is extremely understanding and is usually very reasonable when we have these discussions with her. Also, let them know you will have something waiting for them after the game in the car or even in their bag!
Second, if the situation does occur politely accept the snack so you are not creating an uncomfortable encounter and because it is important to not hurt feelings (this is a great time to teach children good manners). This falls into being polite while still honoring your values.
Lastly, decide for yourself what you feel comfortable with and also where you draw the line. If it’s a pack of peanut butter and crackers then I may let them have a couple and then give them the real food option I have waiting for them in the car. At the end of the day you are the parent and have the ultimate say in what goes into your children’s bodies. You should feel proud you want the best for them!
Lily Grace at her first soccer practice! I am officially a Soocer Mom, yay!!!