Smart Snacks for Athletes
‘Hey batter, batter, batter, swing!’ That chant takes me back to the long, hot and intense spring and summer days spent on a softball field. No doubt that enthusiastic players and fans love lots of cheers. With nearly 500 million children playing ball this year, the crowds are sure to be wild. While kids are taking the field, coaches will be charged with providing them hydration and snack options. Avoid a nutrition strike out by providing smart snacks to ensure a “grand slam day” for athletes.
- Serve water first and most often.
- For tournaments, rotate water and sports drinks to avoid unnecessary sugar.
- Offer low-fat chocolate milk at the end of every game to replenish young athletes with essential nutrients and protein.
Tournaments take a toll on a player’s body. Their muscles begin to wear down after the first game and sugary water can’t offer the nutrients needed to keep them at their best. Providing a beverage like low-fat chocolate milk, which has lean protein, will jump-start the recovery process and keep them one step ahead of the next game.
- In a cooler, pack string cheese, yogurt, grapes or raw vegetables with dips.
- Batting bag staples include almonds, raisins, pretzels, granola bars and trail mix.
- For post-game team snacks, offer chocolate milk, trail mix or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
If your spring days will be spent at a softball or baseball field, bring the cheer, but also pack healthy hydration and snack options!
Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, is a Nutrition Affairs Account Manager for SUDIA. Turner works as a dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.