This spring we entered into the world of team sports, and we’re currently spending 2-3 evenings a week at the tee-ball field watching Ryan twirl in the outfield, catch dust in his mitt, and bat at the ball. We cheer loudly and encourage him to play hard, but are mostly there for the fun of the game and the physical education rather than the hope of raising an all-star.
Last week it was our turn to take the team snack. The after-game snack and drink are by far Ryan’s most anticipated part of game day, so naturally he looked forward to making the coveted treat selection. I, on the other hand, was a bit nervous because the precedent already set by the other parents was processed bags of chips and cookies, and artificially-colored sugar drinks.
While I haven’t made a fussy scene or refused Ryan the after-game snack, our family does try to make healthier food choices and on my turn to provide I wasn’t about to condone a chocolate-stuffed cookie and sugared drink right before a six-year-old’s bedtime.
I was sick with worry as our first game day snack assignment approached. I paced the Walmart snack aisles for over an hour, questioned and requestioned my options, and even called Jared–practically in tears–for advice on what to take. I know it all sounds stupid when putting it out there like that, but for me, the issue was deeper than a game-day snack. The issue for me was, “Where do I stand?”
Some days I think it would be so much easier if I were content to blend in with the crowd. But I feel so much responsibility as a parent to do what I believe is best, not just what might be popular. And so there are times when I pray for confidence, suck in a deep breath, and then accept the challenge to take a risk and set a new trend.
And so that’s how it was with game day snacks. Game day came and went, the kids took the snack and went, and honestly, I’m not sure anyone even noticed a difference in the food selection. But I did. And I knew I could walk away feeling content about providing a healthier snack option for our growing ball players.
Game Day Snacks are a big part of the team-playing experience so there’s no need to damper the fun. But perhaps you’re like me and are ready to accept the challenge of setting a healthier trend?
A couple of tips to keep in mind:
- Consider prepackaged. Not only for the convenience, but also to eliminate the worry about where it came from.
- Be mindful of allergies. As the parent of a peanut-allergic son, I usually carry an alternate snack in my bag, just in case. But it’s always appreciated when others have been considerate of him.
Healthier Snack Ideas:
- Mini water bottles
- 100% juice boxes/pouches
- Sugar-free, dye-free sports drinks
- Frozen yogurt tubes (my kids think these are as good as a popsicle!)
- Mini bags of popped microwave popcorn
- Small packages of crackers or pretzels
- String cheese
- Easy-to-eat fruits such as small apples, clementines, bananas
- Individually packaged apple slices or baby carrots
- Granola Bars (some kinds are better than others–watch for sugar content and nuts)
- Fruit snacks, fruit leather, dried fruit, mini boxes of raisins or Craisins
- Frozen fruit bar popsicles
What else can you think of? In the comments section, please share your ideas and thoughts on healthier snack options.