Every season I send out a list with healthier snack options, should parents choose to bring snacks for after games. I personally, would love it if the whole sports snacks went away, but I seem to be in the minority. If it has to happen we might as well expose our little athletes to all kinds of different fruits. A simple bag of apples or bananas is perfect. Parents don’t need to spend the extra money or time on pricier fruits or preparing fruit kebabs (which my daughter begs me to do every season!). So besides fruits here is my go to list: graham crackers, whole grain pretzels, string cheese, frozen yogurt sticks, trail mix, bagels with jam or peanut butter, applesauce, plain popcorn, baby carrots or celery (maybe with some hummus or peanut butter). Peanut butter, of course, adds a whole other conundrum with the surmounting kids with allergies. Hence just another reason sports snacks, park snacks, playdate snacks, dance snacks, etc. should just go away.
Here are some of the arguments I have received from coaches and/or parents in regards to snacks:
1. “Kids look forward to having a snack after a game.”
Of course they do, but what precedent does that set? Get some exercise, reward with food. Hmmmm, something is not right there. Kids, and athletes of all ages, should be rewarded with having a strong, healthy body after engaging in physical activity. I might as well start heading to Dunkin Donuts every morning after the gym and reward myself with a couple of glazed donuts and a large Caramel Iced Latte! After burning roughly 450 calories doing Les Mills Body Combat, I would then be ingesting 750 calories plus 28 grams of fat. Do the math.
2. “Snacks are good to establish friendships.”
Really? Really? Snacks are handed out at the end of the game. Each kid grabs one and heads off with his/her parents (usually home for a meal). How are they developing any friendships when they are running away from each other at the end of the game?
3. “Snacks help to develop team camaraderie.”
I thought playing on a team was developed camaraderie ? Isn’t that the point of being on a team? How do snacks help establish mutual trust, which is the definition of camaraderie……