Game Day Snacks

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.

11 Comments on Game Day Snacks

  1. Amanda Vandenberg
    April 15, 2013 at 4:59 am (3 years ago)

    Hi, for the first time this year my husband and i are coaching the T-ball team. We haven’t even had our first practice yet, and im looking forward to setting a good example, to set a goal for healthy snacks for the growing kiddos, my idea is fun treats! Use snack size bags with grapes in one side, and gold fish crackers in the other. Use a clothes pin to bunch the middle, and decorate it to look like a butterfly!!

  2. Aubrey
    May 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm (4 years ago)

    We love orange slices and hummus and pita bread.
    family74014 at gmail dot com

  3. cara
    May 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm (4 years ago)

    orange slices and grapes with little bottles waters are always a hit with my kids!

  4. elizabeth a
    May 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm (4 years ago)

    I think if the kids are old enough homemade trail mix with raisins, almonds, some snack crackers and a few chocolate chips and/or m & ms is still healthy enough. And fun to eat!

  5. Cristy
    May 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm (4 years ago)

    Easy is always a good thought. But individually bagged seems to work best. Sometimes a basket of fruit to just have the kids choose from goes over well!
    Apple slices
    Orange slices
    Carrot sticks
    Celery sticks
    Dried fruit
    Homemade chex mix

  6. Joyce
    May 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm (4 years ago)

    We love healthy snacks and take them for scouts when it’s our turn. We do Gogurt and fruit, either apples or grapes. The kids always like it and never complain that they aren’t getting cookies, chips, etc. Plus my kids know “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit!” :)

    • pameladonnis
      May 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm (4 years ago)

      I love that :). I used to say that to my first graders all the time, but I need to do better about saying it to my kids! lol

  7. Peggy
    May 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Last week my son was at a sports event with the usual snack table. It was filled with a variety of cookies, brownies, and other sweets. Since my son is allergic to dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, chocolate, citrus and several other foods, he just grabbed a water bottle and walked away. When some of the cookies were gone, a plate of carrots, pepper slices and cucumber chunks was placed on the table. My son was in heaven, I think he was the only kid eating it. Thanks to parents like YOU for donating healthy foods!!

    • pameladonnis
      May 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh, that makes me want to cry! (And with all those allergies, mealtime must be a challenge at your house!)

  8. Judi Sutton Miller
    May 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Pam!

    After raising one daughter, whois now 24, and nor raising 4 under 4 life sure has changed in the area os snacks for children. Much healthier I must say:) Wish I would have known back then what I know today. Although, I thought I was healthy, I could have been better. Here are some after game snacks to help regenerate their systems. :)
    P.S. Love your blog!!!

    Healthy After-game Snacks
    Low in saturate fats, rehydrating, high in carbs, such as:
    •Low-fat yogurt with granola or fruit
    • Healthy Granola Bars. (Should be more carbs than protein)
    – Be careful of allergies
    •String cheese
    •Nuts, Trail Mix (be careful of allergies)
    •Bagel with low-fat cream cheese or jelly
    • 1/2 peanut butter sandwich

    Try to Avoid
    High-saturated fat foods, high calories, and high sugars, such as:
    •Potato Chips
    •Candy bars
    •Cupcakes (keep the birthday snacks for another time)

  9. Ashley
    May 4, 2012 at 10:40 am (4 years ago)

    I have a 2-year-old so we don’t face this situation yet, but I am often the “mom who doesn’t give her kid sugar”. Which isn’t completely true, but people act like I’m depriving him of something. I’m not sure why love is sometimes measured in junk food, but good job on sticking to what you feel is best for your child even when it goes against the norm.


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